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Sudhir Mishra remembers late partner, editor Renu Saluja in a memoir

The filmmaker will reportedly make a film on Saluja. Actress Aditi Rao Hydari has been signed to play the lead in the film, tentatively titled Swaha.

Sonal Pandya

Last week, filmmaker Sudhir Mishra revealed that he would be making a film on three-time National Award-winning film editor, Renu Saluja. He told the tabloid Mid-Day that he had been contemplating on a film on Saluja's life for a while now. He has written a script and found a producer as well; the film is expected to go on floors later this year.

Actress Aditi Rao Hydari has been signed to play Saluja in the film, tentatively titled Swaha. "I am not making a film about a film editor, but a supremely confident woman who happened to be an editor. It is about my relationship with a wonderful woman. It will show her various facets," he said.

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Over the weekend, Mishra wrote a candid, heartfelt memoir on his late partner, Saluja, for the Outlook magazine. In the piece, he recalled the day (1 April 2000) he found out that she had been diagnosed with cancer. Mishra was injured and on set of his film Calcutta Mail (2003) when he got the news and rushed back to Mumbai the next day.

"I had spoken to Renu before getting on the flight. She had laughed about the diagnosis and told me not to worry at all. The doctors had told her the bloody disease had been caught early, she said, and that she would be back in the editing room very soon. That’s not how it was, though," he recalled.

Saluja was diagnosed with stomach cancer at age 48 and died on 16 August 2000.

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Mishra wrote, with complete honesty, how the couple dealt with the disease.

"After everybody else left, there was this soft, tender moment between us. Maybe her body was already giving her signs. Maybe she could stop playing brave and break down with someone she was in a relationship with, which meant me at that time. In that moment, she looked at me and said that if something were to happen to her I should get married again. 'What the hell…' I reacted, but later we had conversations about imaginary women that I could possibly marry, because, obviously, she didn’t want to talk about somebody who’s actually around! So we talked about a somebody like ‘this’ and a somebody like her. But how would one find somebody with all of Renu’s qualities? And she had a lot of them. How was I ever going to find someone like her?" Mishra lamented.

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The filmmaker easily admitted that Saluja was better than him in every way, calling her "strong, brilliant, joyous, giggly, self-con­fident, compassionate, loved by her colleagues, her assistants, her maid, her sister, her parents and me." He also dissected their relationship in the memoir.

"She had a past and I had a past and that fact had never intruded till now. But now she began looking into her past and questioning the choices she’d made. This also meant she started questioning her decision to be with me. It was difficult. All I could do was be by her side while she almost started pushing me away. That is the test of love I think; when the people you love, question themselves and push you away. When they’re in that state in their life, they are not themselves, they lose the benefit of wisdom. At that moment, they can almost hate people. Can you stand by them? That’s the difficult part, and every day, that was my life for two months," he recalled.

Mishra has been receiving much feedback online about his memoir on Saluja from those who knew her and those who didn't.

Mishra's next film, Daas Dev, starring Rahul Bhat, Richa Chadha and Aditi Rao Hydari, is due to be released on 20 April 2018.