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Kumar Shahani, Maya Darpan, Tarang And Kasba Director, Passes Away At 83


The director pioneered parallel cinema.

The director pioneered parallel cinema.

Kumar Shahani, known for his groundbreaking films like Maya Darpan and Tarang, and a pioneer in parallel cinema, passed away on Sunday.

Kumar Shahani, known for his groundbreaking films like Maya Darpan and Tarang, and a pioneer in parallel cinema, passed away on Sunday. He was 83. His unique storytelling style, influenced by greats like Pasolini and Tarkovsky, set him apart. Besides directing, he was also an acclaimed educator and writer, with works like “The Shock of Desire and Other Essays.” His legacy will continue to inspire future filmmakers. Actor Mita Vashisht confirmed the news saying that the filmmaker ‘was ailing and his health had been declining’, as quoted by PTI.

The actress said, “He passed away around 11 pm last night due to age-related health issues at a hospital in Kolkata. He was ailing and his health had been declining. It’s a deep personal loss. We were in touch with his family. Kumar and I would talk a lot and I knew he was ailing and was in and out of hospital.”

Shahani studied at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune. He was known to be one of the favourite students of director Ritwik Ghatak. Later, Shahani went to France and assisted Robert Bresson on his film Une Femme Douce. He considers Ghatak and Bresson his teachers. Maya Darpan, based on a story by Nirmal Verma, won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi. Shahani also directed other notable films like ‘Tarang’, ‘Khayal Gatha’, ‘Kasba’, and ‘Char Adhyay’.

Shahani focused more on portraying everyday life in his two personal films about music and dance, Khayal Gatha (1989) and Bhavantarana (1991). In Khayal Gatha, he contrasted historical and modern stories about the khayal form. In his next film, released in 1997, Shahani adapted Tagore’s 1934 novel Char Adhyay. He chose Nandini Ghoshal, a trained Odissi dancer, for the role, pushing her to break free from her training to portray the character’s journey beyond societal constraints.


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