ET Online and Agencies|
The Final Goodbye
From Bollywood veterans and Hollywood celebrities to political stalwarts, we lost several personalities over the span of one year.
While big names like politicians Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld lost their lives after battling prolonged illnesses, others like businessman VG Siddhartha and actor Kushal Punjabi succumbed to their mental health struggles.
Here’s a look at all the influential figures we bid adieu to this year, but they continue to stay in our hearts.
The actor who was last seen in popular TV series ‘Ishq Mein Marjawan’ left a one-and-a-half page suicide note, specifying that nobody should be held responsible for his death. In his letter, he wrote that 50 per cent of his property should be distributed equally among his parents and sister, while the remaining 50 per cent be given to his three-year-old son Kian.
Punjabi started his career as a dancer and model. He appeared in several music videos such as ‘Pehla Nasha’ (remix) and DJ Aqeel’s ‘Kehdoon Tumhen’ recreation.
Dr Shreeram Lagoo
He was a trained ENT surgeon by profession, but followed his passion for acting and theatre. He played an important role in the growth of theatre movement in Maharashtra in the post-Independence era alongside Vijay Tendulkar, Vijaya Mehta and Arvind Deshpande.
He is well-known for his roles in Marathi plays such as ‘Natsamrat’ and ‘Himalayachi Saoli’, and V Shantaram’s ‘Pinjra’ made him popular.
In Bollywood, Lagoo essayed memorable roles in films like ‘Ek Din Achanak’, ‘Gharonda’, ‘Muqaddar Ka Sikandar’ and ‘Laawaris’. He played Gopal Krishna Gokhale in Richard Attenborough’s ‘Gandhi’.
The chef, who earned his first Michelin star at 26, was known to introduce the culture of gastropub to the world. He was also seen in popular international shows like ‘MasterChef’ and ‘Hell’s Kitchen’.
Shaukat Kaifi Azmi
The stage thespian, along with her husband and celebrated Urdu poet and film lyricist Kaifi Azmi, was a leading light of the Indian People’s Theatre Association and the Progressive Writers Association, which were the cultural platforms of the Communist Party of India.
She was also seen in movies like ‘Bazaar’, ‘Umrao Jaan’ and Mira Nair’s Oscar-nominated film ‘Salaam Bombay!’.
She was a part of the Lakshmikant-Pyarelal production, ‘Parasmani’. Several news reports suggest that she was re-christened ‘Geetanjali’ by the filmmaker as the Hindi movie already had ‘Mani’ in its title.
She also worked in various Telugu, Malayalam and Tamil films, and was known for her roles in films like ‘Illalu’, ‘Abbayigaru Ammayigaru’, ‘Kaalam Marindi’ and ‘Sambarala Rambabu’.
He was also a part of popular movies like ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’, ‘Ventilator’, and the famous 1993 TV sitcom ‘Zabaan Sambhalke’ that had veteran actor Pankaj Kapur, and Khote’s sister, Shubha, in the cast.
His recipes were a part of his Cuban roots and Latin upbringing, and mostly inspired by his mother and grandmother. In an Instagram tribute, his NY restaurant wrote, “Beyond his immense culinary talent, Carl’s larger-than-life personality never failed to entertain, enlighten, and uplift every person he encountered along his #Ruizing adventures. His fierce intellect and infectious humour knew no bounds. He was a mighty force of down home Cuban cuisine, and lived life to the fullest, just as he cooked-with “dancing always” as the most important ingredient.”
The film-maker was considered the brain behind the banner. He directed over 30 films including ‘Bandh Darwaza’ and ‘Veerana’, and was also the creator of the popular TV series ‘Zee Horror Show’ that brought families together post dinners.
He held the finance and corporate affairs Cabinet portfolios for the Modi-led government from 2014 to 2019. His poor health kept him from presenting the Union Budget 2018 and Interim Budget 2019. It was also one of the reasons why he didn’t contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. An eloquent speaker, he had a way with words, and political foes in Parliament, and away from it. A cricket aficionado, he had also served as the Delhi District Cricket Association chief.
Mohammed Zahur Khayyam
He was also known for his beautiful compositions in the 1982 film ‘Umrao Jaan’, starring Rekha. In 2011, he was honoured with the third highest civilian award, Padma Bhushan.
Acknowledging the struggle and hardships artists and technicians go through, Khayyam decided to inspire the young generation with his philanthropic deeds. In 2016, he donated his entire wealth (worth Rs 10 crore) through his charitable trust – Khayyam Jagjeet Kaur KPG Charitable Trust – to support budding artists.
Peter came from the family of accomplished performers. But he made a name for himself after he wrote, starred and co-produced the 1969 counterculture classic ‘Easy Rider’.
In a career spanning over four decades, the veteran actor featured in movies like ‘Josh’, ‘Love Story’, ‘Bodyguard’, and TV shows such as ‘Kkavyanjali’, ‘Qubool Hai’ and ‘Kullfi Kumarr Bajewala’.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author is known for ‘Beloved’, ‘Song of Solomon’, ‘Jazz’, ‘A Mercy’ and ‘Home’. The Swedish academy presented her with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.
Her first book was ‘The Bluest Eye’ published in 1970, which focused on a black girl who wants blue eyes like the white girls. During her career spanning six decades, she wrote 11 novels, five children’s books, two plays, a song cycle and an opera.
She held the portfolio of external affairs, and was considered as the most efficient politician with her Twitter repartee winning hearts across borders. Being tech-savvy, she was prompt in solving people’s problems, which made her one of the most-adored politicians of the country.
Like Jaitley, she, too, did not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls due to ailing health. At the end of 2016, she underwent a kidney transplant at Delhi’s AIIMS hospital.
Days before his disappearance, the troubled businessman left a heart-wrenching letter for his CCD family, apologising for failing as an entrepreneur and taking responsibility for all his financial burden.
Known for being camera-shy, the 60-year-old tycoon always preferred staying outside the business circles.
The three-time Delhi CM was also the longest-serving woman CM of any state in India. She played a key role in driving the national capital’s major infrastructural projects. Known to be close to the Gandhis, she was roped in to lead the party in March before the Lok Sabha Elections.
He was also seen in movies like ‘The Hitcher’, ‘LadyHawke’ and Christopher Nolan’s ‘Batman Begins’.
He wrote his first play in 1976, titled ‘Crazy Thieves in Paalavakkam’, which earned him the name ‘Crazy’. Soon after in 1979, he started his drama troupe Crazy Creations, creating over 30 plays that were staged more than 6,500 times.
He also worked in several Tamil comedies and TV serials.
A recipient of the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Jnanpith Award, Karnad was one of the most important literary minds of the present era. His best works include plays ‘Yayati’, ‘Tughlaq’ and ‘Naga-Mandala’, which were translated from his native language Kannada to English and other Indian languages. He also contributed to Hindi cinema’s parallel film movement through movies like ‘Swami’ and ‘Nishant’, and is remembered for playing Swami’s stern father in ‘Malgudi Days’.
In later years, Karnad was seen in commercial films such as Salman Khan’s ‘Ek Tha Tiger’, ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ and Ajay Devgn-starrer ‘Shivaay’.
Popularly known as Jiggs Kalra, he started off as a journalist and became a food consultant in the 1980s. With a career spanning more than four decades, he was known for transforming the Indian culinary scene. His son, Zorawar, and daughter-in-law, Dildeep, are now carrying forward his legacy through Massive Restaurants. WATCH: Dildeep Kalra recalls how Jiggs Kalra influenced her culinary choices
Passionate about films, he had initially wanted to become an actor but found success as a stuntman. Later, he turned to action choreography.
Devgan worked in more than 80 Bollywood films, and performed stunts for actors such as Dilip Kumar, Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna, Rajesh Khanna and Jeetendra, among others. One of his most famous action sequences was his son’s introduction scene in the 1991 debut ‘Phool Aur Kaante’ in which Ajay arrives on two moving motorcycles.
He rose to popularity for his 2016 album ‘Paraquedas’.
The F1 driver returned to racing after he met with a terrible accident during the 1976 German Grand Prix and suffered third-degree burns in the crash. The motor racer became a successful businessman after he retired.
His lungs were damaged after the 1976 accident as he inhaled toxic fumes. He also underwent a lung transplant surgery in August 2018. Before this, he also had two kidney transplants, one of which was in 2005.
He lost this year’s Grammy to Cardi B in the best rap album category. His 2018 album ‘Victory Lap’ was a success.
The first IIT-ian to be India’s Defence Minister and CM, he had been battling pancreatic cancer for a long time.
He became the face of the band, and created blockbusters like ‘Breathe’, ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ and ‘Firestarter’ from the 1997 album ‘The Fat of the Land’.
Raj Kumar Barjatya
The Barjatyas are synonyms with movies centered around Indian joint families, espousing middle-class values of family bonding and love.
The couturier was best known for his unique style – dark suits, white pony-tail, and tinted sunglasses – which dominated high fashion for 50 years.
The police said that the 58-year-old actor died in a very tragic and lonely way. Ruling out any foul play, they said that he ’90s star died after finishing his meal with a bottle of liquor next to him.
Other than being a part of several Marathi movies, he was also seen in Bollywood films like ‘Kucch To Hai’ and ‘Bhavesh Joshi Superhero’.
He was the Defence Minister at the time of India’s Kargil war against Pakistan in 1999. The nuclear test at Pokhran in 1998 was also conducted on his watch.
Last seen in Marathi movie ‘Subh Lagna Savdhaan’, the actor was a part of films like ‘Lage Raho Munna Bhai’ and ‘Jab We Met’. He had starred in over 100 Marathi and more than 18 English plays.