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    Feb 2010


    Default Ashok Mehta will be missed greatly

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    Of late, the film industry has been losing veterans. This year has seen the death of many great souls like Jagjit Singh, followed by Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, Mehdi Hasan, Dara Sigh and Rajesh Khanna, and now ace cinematographer Ashok Mehta. He breathed his last on Wednesday morning battling lung cancer.

    One of India's most accomplished cinematographers, Mehta was an award-winning lensman and had worked with prominent filmmakers like Shekhar Kapur, Subhash Ghai, Rajiv Rai and MF Hussain among others.

    Said Kapur of Mehta, “'It is very rare that a director can say that his learning and career graph was propelled by his relationship with a director of photography (DoP). But I could say that openly and honestly about Ashok Mehta. Unfortunately, I have only done one film with him. And that is because Ashok refused to come with me to the West where I pursued my creative goals. He refused to be taken away from his roots here in India. I still wish he had come. I missed him a lot.”

    He continued, “Ashok unlocked my creative potential in Bandit Queen. He showed me how to be brave and not afraid of expressing myself through the camera and not just through actors and the story/plot. He taught me that my instincts were good, but only as good as my courage to follow them through.”

    A DOP (director of photography) in films like 36 Chowringhee Lane, Utsav, Trikal, Khalnayak, Bandit Queen, Chalte Chalte, Gajgamini, Trimurti, Khalnayak, Moksha and Ram Lakhan, was instrumental in launching Arjun Rampal in Moksha opposite Manisha Koirala. Just a few weeks ago Rampal had revealed his plans to make a documentary on his mentor.

    Offering his tribute to Mehta, veteran cinematographer Barun Mukherjee observed, “His detailing was mind-blowing. He used to simulate his shot very beautifully. His take on nature was so accurate that it (nature) will feel of his (Mehta) absence now and wonder, “Hey where has the man, who captured me so nicely gone?”He was not only a good cinematographer, but was also a great human being. Once he liked a person, he used to flatter him naturally and so nicely, that the person would feel elated. Though we were from the same trade, we didn’t get time to meet each other. But, we were very much a part of the ‘Mutual Admiration’ club.”

    Barun continued, “Ever since I came to know about his illness, wanted to go and see him but my work always came as a roadblock. Just the day before, had made up my mind to visit him at the hospital but just in time, I came to know that the ‘flame’, which was instrumental in lighting up may houses, has extinguished,” lamented Banerjee adding, “With his departure, there has developed a big void in the industry and anybody and everybody connected with Indian cinema will indeed miss him.”

    We all will miss Mr Mehta…a great soul indeed!!!



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