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From Shabana Azmi to Ashutosh Gowariker, Hindi film fraternity pays tribute to Lekh Tandon


The 88 year-old filmmaker passed away at his Powai residence in Mumbai on 15 October, where he was reportedly bedridden for the past few months.

Lekh Tandon, Gayatri Joshi, Shah Rukh Khan and Kishori Balal in Swades

Keyur Seta

The demise of veteran film and television director and actor Lekh Tandon cast a pall of gloom on the Hindi film fraternity. Tandon died at his Powai residence in Mumbai on 15 October, where he was reportedly bedridden for the past few months. He was 88. 

In recent times, Tandon was known more for playing the old man in the village in Ashutosh Gowariker’s critically acclaimed Swades (2004), starring Shah Rukh Khan and Gayatri Joshi. As a tribute, Gowariker shared on Twitter a screenshot from Swades that has Tandon and the lead cast of the film, and wrote, “Very VERSATILE director who gave several HITS! Was privileged to work with you in Swades! Will always miss your gentleness Sir! RIP #LekhTandon.”

Veteran actress Shabana Azmi pointed out that Tandon was working on a film with the energy of a youngster. “Sad that #LekhTandon passed away but wonderful that he did so with his boots on. He was working on his latest film with a newcomer's zeal. RIP,” she wrote on Twitter. She was probably referring to the film Phir Ussi Mod Par (2017), for which Tandon wrote the script.

Anupam Kher had first met Tandon when he was struggling for work in the film industry. “Deeply saddened by the news of #LekhTandonji’s demise. One of the first directors I met as a struggling actor. He was compassionate and kind,” Kher wrote on Twitter. 

Similarly, Shekhar Kapur, Kunal Kohli, Ashoke Pandit and German actress Suzanne Bernert, who worked with Tandon in the TV serial Aisa Desh Hai Mera, also wrote messages remembering the veteran. 

Tandon is credited with discovering Shah Rukh Khan through his TV serial Dil Dariya. Later, he acted with Khan in films like Swades, Paheli (2005) and Chennai Express (2013). He also played an important character in the cult hit Rang De Basanti (2006). He was last seen in the short film Shunyata, which was released recently, in which he played Jackie Shroff’s father.