Farewell, Lalitha Lajmi, hope you are reunited with Kalpana

Noted painter Lalitha Lajmi passes away at the age of 90. She was filmmaker Guru Dutt's sister and director Kalpana Lajmi's mother

Farewell, Lalitha Lajmi, hope you are reunited with Kalpana

Subhash K Jha

Reputed painter Lalitha Lajmi lived much longer than her entire family and was 90 when she died on Monday, 13 February 2023. 

Her legendary brother Guru Dutt was only 39 when he allegedly died by suicide in 1965. His elder son, Tarun, was only 35 when he died. Tarun Dutt (who had directed Rekha in the 1984 caper Bindiya Chamkegi) also apparently took his own life in 1985.

Guru Dutt’s younger son Arun died at 58 in 2014. Arun, and his siblings Tarun and Nina, grew up in the homes of Guru Dutt’s brother Atma Ram and Geeta Dutt’s brother Mukul Roy after their parents passed away.

Tarun and Arun were only eight years old when their father passed away. The children didn’t know  their father’s reputation as a living legend. Guru Dutt never encouraged his children to be a part of the movie business. He knew better than most how heartbreaking the industry could be and even made the classic Kaagaz Ke Phool on the disenchantment served up by the film industry.

After Arun’s death his cousin Kalpana Lajmi (Lalitha Lajmi’s daughter)  recalled Arun as a gentle and troubled soul. “He was a wonderful cerebral person. But eventually he was afflicted by the tragedy that gripped the family...the tragedy that befalls children of colossal personalities. Can you imagine what a burden it must have been for Tarun and Arun to carry forward their parents’ legacy?”

And now the legacy is wiped out. Kalpana Lajmi died of kidney cancer aged 64 in 2018, leaving her mother behind. The lovely Lalithaji spent her time painting and doing social work.

But the loss of her daughter was a blow she could never come to terms with.

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