By Shreya Sharma Last Updated:
Kalpana Lajmi is one of the most critically acclaimed filmmakers in India, who had majorly worked on women-centric films. She has given Hindi cinema movies like Rudaali, Darmiyaan: In Between, Daman: A Victim of Martial Violence and Kyon? She was the daughter of a painter, Lalitha Lajmi and the niece of filmmaker, Guru Dutt. She had debuted as an assistant director under veteran filmmaker, Shyam Benegal.
Kalpana Lajmi was just 17 when she had first met classical singer, Bhupem Hazarika. Two years later, when she was 19, she had followed him to Kolkata and had moved in with him. Kalpana was head-over-heels in love with Bhupen but her mother, Lalitha was against it. In an interview, she talked in length about her daughter’s childhood with an alcoholic father and how it might have impacted her perspective about relationships.
In a conversation with Pinkvilla, Lalitha recalled how Kalpana Lajmi had met Bhupen Hazarika first. She said, “Bhupenda came to Mumbai and was invited for dinner at Atmaji’s home. Kalpana met him there for the first time. That evening onwards her journey changed forever. She was 17 to his 45. At first, I didn’t know of her involvement with Bhupenda. She’d say she was going to the suburbs to meet her friends. As parents we’d given her all freedom. When I finally got to know of her relationship, Kalpana insisted they were just good friends.”
Lalitha further mentioned that behind the friendship, Kalpana would speak to Bhupen regularly on the phone. Later, she had announced that the news of heading to Kolkata for a documentary film to her family and was accompanied by her cousin. After some time, her cousin had returned back home, while she had stayed back. It was then that they had realised that she had gone to live with Bhupen as they had found her closet to be empty.
Lalitha and her husband were upset at Kalpana for moving in with Bhupen and their age difference used to bother them the most. She said, “It came as a huge shock. Her father too missed her. But he was a reticent person and didn’t say anything. I was teaching Art in Fort Convent that time. As soon as the vacation began, I left with Devdas for Kolkata, to bring Kalpana back. I didn’t mind her living with him. What upset me was the age difference. She was only 19. Bhupenda was fit to be her father."
Lalitha also recalled Kalpana’s relationship with Bhupem and how he used to drink a lot just like her husband. She also called it ‘father complex’ because of which Kalpana chose to stay in the relationship with Bhupen despite their ‘unequal’ relationship. She added, “They didn’t get married. She was living-in as his partner. In the beginning, Bhupenda didn’t accept their relationship publicly because he was conscious of his image. Being unconventional, Kalpana too didn’t believe in marriage. But she remained totally devoted to him even though they had their tiffs.”
Kalpana had died in November 2018 after suffering multiple organ failure.