The vetern actor passed away today, 10 August, at the age of 54 after battling cancer.
Sitaram Panchal’s sense of humour was alive even during his last days, says actor Yashpal Sharma
Mumbai - 10 Aug 2017 13:36 IST
Veteran actor Sitaram Panchal breathed his last today (10 August) morning in Mumbai. The actor, who has worked in films like Jolly LLB 2 (2017), Paan Singh Tomar (2012) and Peepli Live (2010), was suffering from kidney and lung cancer for over a year. He was 54 and had celebrated his wedding anniversary only yesterday.
Last month, pictures of his deteriorating health made rounds on the internet. The actor himself had posted a message on Facebook asking for financial help from people in the industry. CINTAA (Cine & TV Artists Association) had come forward to help Panchal later.
Well-known actor Yashpal Sharma has worked with Panchal in films like Das Capital. In an exclusive conversation with Cinestaan.com, he said that the late actor didn’t receive the success he deserved.
“Considering the kind of artist he was, he didn’t get what he deserved. He kept being like those innocent people from a village in Haryana. He didn’t like to speak about money. So, he wasn’t able to go ahead despite being so talented. But he did do good films like Paan Singh Tomar. I have also done a lot of plays with him along with the film Das Capital,” he said.
Sharma also stated that Panchal was high-spirited even during his last days. “He was always co-operative. He was lively and his sense of humour was alive till the last stage of his life. He was given the lifetime achievement award recently at a festival (Haryana International Short Film Festival). He refused initially saying he won’t be able to make it. But he came and felt so good by the achievement,” added Sharma.
Pratik Rajen Kothari, young actor and director, had worked with Panchal in all his major film projects. While conversing with Cinestaan.com, he said, “I have known him since 2011 when we shot Das Capital: Gulamon Ki Rajdhani. After that I and Situ sir worked on Bull Bulbul Bandook and Rebellious Flower (2016). We had also persuaded him to work in Samvidhan (Shyam Benegal’s TV series). He shot for one or two days. That was a stage when he was battling cancer. We had just come to know that he had recovered and we cast him.”
Kothari is sad that his chat with Panchal in April turned out to be their last conversation. “I met him at a film festival in Kurukshetra. It’s strange that Situ sir was involved in all the major projects I have been a part of. Recently, I was shocked while reading about his illness because he had recovered well. It was painful to look at the pictures that had come out. I was praying and was confident that he would fight back the second time too because we had seen him fight back once.”
Kothari added that Panchal wasn’t concerned about the length of his character. “During Das Capital, I didn’t know him much. I only knew that he had worked in Peepli Live (2010) and that he was from National School of Drama. He worked for a day with love. There were no tantrums. He was so gracious enough to do the role. He never considered any role small or big. There are some seasoned actors who don’t like playing small roles. But he was very grounded,” he added.
Like Sharma, Kothari too spoke about Panchal’s funny nature. “He had a very funny character in Bull Bulbul Bandook. He was also funny on sets. He played a prank on an AD (assistant director). He acted scolding him. ADs never felt uncomfortable with him. Normally, respected actors aren’t easily approachable by the ADs. He would wear whatever costume and just asked what he needs to do. He was such a generous man. It was fun listening to his native language Haryanvi,” said Kothari.