The year saw the loss of many legends, the irreplaceable celebrities. India mourned the loss of eminent personalities. As yet another year draws to a close; it is time to remember the magic once again of some of those who left us in 2011.
Pandit Bhimsen Joshi: On 24 January India lost its renowned Hindustani classical vocalist Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. This was seen as a great loss to the Indian music industry as Pandit Bhimsen had taken the Indian classical music to the world arena. Prabha Atre, a proponent of the Kirana Gharana said “Joshi was an extraordinary man who was not just Bharat ratna but ‘vishwa' ratna. With his demise, the entire Indian classical music community feels orphaned. It is now a big responsibility on us, to continue the rich tradition left behind by him,” as reported by The Hindu.
Anant Pai: The man who brought in the comics Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle into existence passed away on 24 February. Also known as Uncle Pai, Anant wrote a series of educational comics where in each comic was devoted to a person or event in Indian history, religion or mythology. For over two and a half decades Tinkle was a massive hit among the young. He was also awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in February at India's first ever Comic Convention held in New Delhi.
Navin Nischol: 19 March saw the death of the noted Bollywood actor Navin Nischol. His death came as a shock to many in the industry. Danish Aslam, who directed Navin in his last film Break Ke Baad said 'There're some people whom you work with and get to know and you wish that you could've done a lot more work with, just because they're such genuinely interesting people with so much to learn from. Navinji was such a person. I had every intention of working with him again. I feel I'm a lesser person for having lost out on that opportunity.' Navin is recalled as the soft spoken and cultured man by his colleagues.
Bob Christo: March also witnessed the sad demise of Australian born Bollywood actor, Bob Christo. With his masculine and bald headed look he played the ‘Gora’ villain in a number of movies. Bob was a civil engineer; he was drawn to the industry as he was fascinated by modeling and Bollywood movies. He has acted in more than 200 movies in various languages. After his stint in the industry he also worked as a fitness trainer and later on moved to start a business.
Sathya Sai Baba: Sathya Sai Baba, one of the influential spiritual guru’s in India passed away in April this year. He led a life dedicated to philanthropy flawed by the occasional controversies. While he was looked at as the miracle man by his million followers, many thought of him otherwise. His followers not only included the ordinary people but also the sport and movie stars, politicians and many more. He has over 1500 Sathya Sai Centres in 114 countries across the globe. He is the founder of a large number of schools, colleges, hospitals and other charitable institutions in India and abroad. Millions mourned his death and paid their last tribute to the spiritual guru in his ashram.
M. F Hussain: Maqbool Fida Husain also known as MF received recognition as the Picasso of India, passed away in June this year. The 95 year old eminent painter was one of the most recognized Indian artists of the 20th century. A life riddled in controversy MF made the most timeless canvases. He was also known as a printmaker and photographer. He was internationally known for his narrative paintings. Hussain had expressed his love for Bollywood time and again and also had a lot of admirers in the film industry. The industry was deeply saddened at the loss of the prolific painter.
Rasika Joshi: The very noted theatre and film actor Rasika Joshi passed away in July. She suffered from cancer and died at a young age of 39. She gained popularity after her acting stint in Bollywood films like ''Malamal Weekly'', ''Ek Hasina Thi'' and ''Bhul-Bhullaiyya''.
Shammi Kapoor: Veteran actor Shammi Kapoor passed away in August. Known for his lively rock and roll and jive, Shammi was an ace lead actor and a great contributor to the Indian cinema. Entertainment would be the word to define the man. He jolted audiences out of their lethargy with his foot tapping numbers. Entertainer, Inspiration for style, Full of optimism and energy was what was recalled of Shammi Kapoor by the industry members as they spoke of the super star.
Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi: Former Indian cricket captain Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi passed away this September. Known as ‘Tiger' in the cricket fraternity he played 46 Tests for the country, scoring 2793 runs for an average of 34.91 with an unbeaten 203 being his highest score. In total, he smashed six centuries and 16 fifties in his career. The Pataudi Trophy which is named after his family for their contribution to Anglo-Indian cricket has been contested for between India and England since 2007.Pataudi was the ninth and last Nawab of Pataudi since the Indian government abolished royal entitlements through the 26th Amendment to the Constitution.
Gautam Rajadhyaksha: September also witnessed the death of the famous celebrity photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha. The versatile photographer captured most of the celebrities on his camera. He is also the cousin of writer Shobha De. The industry grieved the loss of the great man, writer Javed Akhtar said “Gautam was my friend from 70s. All childhood pictures of Zoya and Farhan in our albums are by him. He was like family to us. He is gone."
Jagjit Singh: The much-admired ghazal singer Jagjit Singh passed away in October this year. Known as 'The Ghazal King' Jagjit was a singer and composer. He sang in many languages including Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, and Nepali. He also lent his voice for many film songs. He has also been awarded the Padma Bhushan award. Initially ghazal singing was considered as an elite art, which was difficult for the common mass to understand due to high class use of Urdu and Persian but Singh seemed to have changed this notion. His loss was mourned by the entire film industry and by the nation.
Sultan Khan: Classical singer and Sarangi genius Ustad Sultan Khan passed away in November. He won the Padma Bhushan award and was also the soulful voice behind hits like ‘Piya basanti’ and ‘Albela sajan aayo re’. Khan was also a member of the Indian fusion group Tabla Beat Science along with Zakir Hussain and American bassist Bill Laswell. He was very well known for his extraordinary control over the instrument. His death was a great loss to the music industry. Musician Salim Merchant expressed his grief and said “I lost my ustad - ustad sultan khan, my guru, my friend and my idol. We will never have a sarangi maestro like him” as reported by PTI.
Bhupen Hazarika: Another music wonder, Bhupen hazarika was lost this year. He was a renowned lyricist, singer and composer. He was known for his magical compositions of traditional Assamese music and lyrics. His songs were featured in numerous Bollywood films. The entire industry mourned his loss. Actor Farooque Shaikh said "Bhupen Hazarika was a multi faceted talent" as reported by Hindustan Times.
Mario Miranda: Acclaimed cartoonist Mario Miranda expired this December. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan award. The legendary cartoonist immortalized by his depiction of Goan life had a humorous take on the world around him. His creations like Miss Numbupani and Miss Fonseca were regularly featured in 'Femina', 'Economic Times' and 'The Illustrated Weekly of India'. Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat said, "He was an eminent cartoonist of the country who took Goa to international level through his pen. The country has lost one of its best cartoonists" reported The Pioneer.
Dev Anand: The country faced the biggest loss in the death of Bollywood's very own Peter Pan, Dev Anand. With a legacy in Indian cinema he gained popularity as the Romance Hero in the 60’s. He has acted in 114 Hindi films of which 110 have him play the main lead actor. He was also honored with the Padma Bhushan award. The Prime Minister said in a statement "He was an embodiment of long passion for acting and film-making. I join millions of his fans in mourning his death" as reported by TOI.