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Basu Chatterji, legendary filmmaker of the 1970s, dies at 93

Maker of films like Rajanigandha (1974), Chitchor (1976) and Khatta Meetha (1978), Chatterji also directed popular television serials such as Rajani (1985) and Byomkesh Bakshi (1993).

Our Correspondent

Filmmaker Basu Chatterji, director of some well-loved Hindi movies of the 1970s and 1980s and the man who introduced Amol Palekar and Vidya Sinha into Hindi cinema, died in Mumbai on Thursday. He was 93. 

News of Chatterji's death was revealed by the Indian Film and Television Directors' Association (IFTDA).

Along with the films of the late Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Chatterji's movies like Piya Ka Ghar (1972), Rajnigandha (1974), Chhoti Si Baat (1975), Chitchor (1976), Khatta Meetha (1978), Baton Baton Mein (1979) and Shaukeen (1982) came to define what was popularly known as 'middle-class' or 'middle-of-the-road' cinema.

Chatterji later also directed popular television series such as Rajani (1985), written by the great playwright Vijay Tendulkar and starring Priya Tendulkar and Karan Razdan, and Byomkesh Bakshi, based on the novels of Saradindu Bandopadhyay and starring Rajit Kapur and KK Raina.

While Chatterji became popular for capturing the middle-class ethos with his movies in the 1970s and early 1980s, he veered off into serious social commentary later with films like Ek Ruka Hua Faisla (1986) and Kamla Ki Maut (1989). In 1992, he won the National award for Best Film on Family Welfare for Durga (1991).

Chatterji, who had been suffering from age-related ailments for a while, is survived by two daughters. The cremation is scheduled to take place at the Santa Cruz crematorium at 2pm.

Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was among those who condoled the filmmaker's death.

Update, 10 January 2021: An earlier version of this report stated Basu Chatterji's age at death as 90. He was 93.