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Lekh Tandon, director who discovered Shah Rukh Khan, dies at 88


The filmmaker's 1966 hit Amrapali was India's entry for the Best Foreign Language film at the Oscars in 1967.

IANS

Veteran filmmaker and sometime actor Lekh Tandon, who directed such iconic films as Professor (1962), Amrapali (1966), Jhuk Gaya Aasman (1968) and Prince (1969), has died, it was announced on Sunday. He was 88.

Tandon died at his residence in Powai, Mumbai, at 5:38 pm on Sunday. The filmmaker was reportedly bedridden for the past few months.

Legendary playback singer Lata Mangeshkar, who sang for Amrapali, which starred Vyjayanthimala in the title role of the fabled Vaishali courtesan and Sunil Dutt as Magadh king Ajatashatru, tweeted, "Very sad to hear about the passing of actor and filmmaker Lekh Tandon."

Born in Lahore in undivided Punjab in 1929, Tandon directed many Hindi film stalwarts like Shammi Kapoor, Rajender Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Hema Malini, Shabana Azmi, Rekha, and Rajesh Khanna. Amrapali was selected as the Indian entry for the Best Foreign Language film at the 39th Academy awards.

Tandon along with Vrajendra Gaur and Madhusudan Kalelkar bagged the Filmfare Best Screenplay award in 1978 for Dulhan Wahi Jo Piya Man Bhaaye (1977).

He directed his first television serial, Dil Dariya, in 1988 for the national broadcaster Doordarshan. Through this serial, he was credited with discovering Shah Rukh Khan.

Later in life, Tandon also acted in a few films like Swades (2004), Rang De Basanti (2006) and Chennai Express (2013).

His funeral will be held in Powai at noon on Monday.