Sudden demise of filmmaker Jhamu Sugandh shocks Bollywood

May 27th, 2008 - 2:57 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Mani Ratnam
By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai, May 27 (IANS) The sudden demise of Jhamu Sugandh, who produced, financed and collaborated on a varied range of films from Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” and Aamir Khan’s “Lagaan” to Deepa Mehta’s “Fire” and Buddhadev Dasgputa’s “Kaal Purush”, has sent shock waves across the industry. From legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan to director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, everyone says that his death is a big loss to the industry.

“I heard about his passing away on Monday morning, very sad. He loved cinema and that is evident in the range of films he produced. He was very adventurous as a producer, took risks, in fact welcomed them. And he was a very nice gentleman too,” Amitabh told IANS.

“He was our adviser at AB Corp. Whenever we were stuck on any financial matter, we’d always turn to Jhamuji. He had a great sense about what worked and didn’t work. And he loved to push the envelope. He was too young to die. We didn’t meet too often, but through our business association I came to know and like him,” added the Big B.

Sriram Raghavan, whose “Johnny Gaddar” Jhamu Sugandh initially produced but had to abandon the project due to a financial crunch, said Sugandh had lately become a recluse.

Raghavan said: “My film and Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Gulal’ were the last films that he produced. I don’t know what’s happened to Anurag’s film. But, Adlabs eventually completed my ‘Johnny Gaddar’.

“Lately, he had become a recluse. He wasn’t keeping well. And he also felt that the cinema that he believed in and produced had ceased to make a difference to the film industry.”

Raghavan admires Sugandh’s range of cinema as a filmmaker.

“Look at the man’s amazing range of interests as a producer and his roster of filmmakers from Mani Ratnam and Shekhar Kapoor (he was involved with ‘Bandit Queen’) to Ram Gopal Varma and me. He approached me after ‘Ek Haseena Thi’ and said he’d like me to make a movie for him. I suggested ‘Johnny Gaddar’. He didn’t even listen to the script and asked me to go ahead.

“He gave me a carte blanche. I was free to make the film how I wanted. Unfortunately, the project ran out of finances. Lately, he was stressed out and unwell. This industry can do this to people in the financial side of the business.”

Bhansali’s “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” was a turning point in his career and the director is discernibly upset at the sudden demise of the producer.

“It’s very upsetting to hear someone whom you were closely associated with is no more. Jhamuji let me make ‘Hum Dil…’ the way I wanted. He believed in high aesthetics and he believed in good cinema.

“He dared to produce Deepa Mehta’s ‘Fire’ and ‘1947 Earth’ when he was told they were controversial. He was happy to lend his name to any film that he thought would take our cinema to another level. It’s sad he is gone. But that’s life.”

Adds Mehta from Toronto: “He distributed my ‘Fire’ and co-produced ‘1947 Earth’. I was close to his entire family, his wife Pushpa and his two children Jugal and Trinky. A couple of years ago, Jugal was in Toronto for the film festival. Pushpa rang me up and I met up with Jugal.

“It’s shocking to hear Jhamu is gone. I rang up his wife the minute I heard about it from you. Jhamu was a lovely man, very close to Sanjay Bhansali during ‘Hum Dil…’ That’s when I got to know him.”

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