On the morning of 4th December, the veteran actor, Shashi Kapoor passed away after a prolonged illness. The actor’s name became synonymous with Indian cinema with his iconic roles that changed the course of Indian Cinema. He was awarded the Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 2014 that is regarded as India’s highest award in cinema for his contributions.
One of the founders of Filmaya Studios and Rani Mukerji’s father, filmmaker Ram Mukerji passed on October 22. A director, screenwriter, and producer, Ram Mukerji gave hit films such as Hum Hindustani (1960) and Leader (1964), starring Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala.
The diverse actor’s sudden death came as a huge shock to the entertainment industry. Om Puri was found dead on January 6th after a fatal heart attack at his Lokhandwala’s Oakland Park residence when the doorbell went unanswered. The veteran actor has appeared in many mainstream as well as independent and art films. He was speculated to receive the Dada Saheb Phalke Award.
The news of Reema Lagoo passing away after suffering a cardiac arrest on the morning of May 18, left the film industry and her fans shocked. The actress was shooting for a television series Naamkarann and later at night complained of chest pain. At the time of death, she was described as being "perfectly fine" and having "no health issues". The actress is widely known for her work in Bollywood and theatre. She has also worked in Marathi cinema and theatre.
Actor, producer and politician, Vinod Khanna was battling bladder cancer when he passed away on 28th April after being admitted in a hospital for severe dehydration. The actor gave infamous hits such as ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’, ‘Mere Apne’, ‘Dilwale’, etc. Salman Khan, during his Dabangg – The Tour said, “It is really sad... When Vinod Khanna sir's health became bad and we lost him... It is a great loss to the film industry and to his family.” “We never thought that the heroes we worshiped could ever leave us alone,” he added.
The Wanted actor’s death due to cardiac arrest on July 28 came as a shock to the Bollywood fraternity. The actor was suffering long from a prevailing illness and passed away on Friday morning. Inder Kumar has also worked in other notable films such as ‘Baaghi’ and ‘Maa Tujhhe Salaam’. He was known for playing Mihir Virani on the small screen in TV show ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.’
Sitaram Panchal known for his work in movies like Peepli Live, Paan Singh Tomar and worked alongside Akshay Kumar in Jolly LLB 2 passed away on 9th of August after long battle with lung cancer and also facing financial difficulties. The actor had taken to Facebook to seek help for his treatment, “Bhaio meri help karo meri cancer se halat kharab hoti ja rahi hai apka kalakar bhai sitaram Panchal.” Bollywood actor, Anil Kapoor extended his help towards the actor whilst asking others to do the same.
Director of the Oscar-nominated film, Amrapali passed away on October 15 due to ill health. The filmmaker was bed-ridden for the last six months and fed through pipe. The revered director gave many hits to Indian cinema such as Professor (1962) and Prince (1969). His first directorial debut in television serial ‘Dil Dariya’ is credited for discovering Bollywood’s Baadshah, Shah Rukh Khan.
Albiet under the radar for many – but no less memorable contributor to popular culture – Taarak Mehta’s Gujrati column Duniya Ne Undha Chasma inspired the popular serial ‘Taarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashmah’ which went on to become one of the longest running comedy shows in the television history of India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled Mr. Mehta’s demise and hailed his works in Gujarati literature recounting how Mr. Mehta, “never left the side of satire and pen.” The writer-columnist was awarded Padma Shri in 2015.
10. Neeraj Vora
The multi-faceted talent Neeraj Vora, known for writing Rangeela, Hera Pheri, Badsha and for directing movies such as Phir Hera Pheri and Khiladi 420, died in Mumbai in the early hours of 14 December, months after being comatose. A room in filmmaker Firoz Nadiadwala's home was converted into a fully functional ICU for Neeraj. He was expected to direct Hera Pheri III until he suffered a stroke in October 2016.
Albeit no more, these distinguished artists and their contribution to Indian cinema and Indian television will always be immortal.