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Reema Lagoo’s sudden demise has left a large vacuum in the Hindi film and TV industry. Her loss is also palpable in Marathi cinema and theatre. She had done films in several languages and her contribution to art goes beyond Bollywood. Actor Sonali Kulkarni who had worked with Reema in two Marathi films — Mukta and Ghara Baher — spoke to indianexpress.com about her memories of the late actor.
“I worked with Reema for the first time in a Marathi film Mukta in 1994. I was still in college. She was a very genuine, romantic and affectionate as a person. She was someone who never feared appreciating other person’s work,” Sonali said.
Sonali also said that Reema was very grounded and had a pleasing personality. “We were in London two years ago for a play, White Lilly. We were a team of very few people, so we had to cut down on our technicians. Reema told me not to worry. She helped me out with my costumes. She folded my costumes and gowns. When I told her, ‘Reema, you can’t be doing this, you are embarrassing me’ she said, ‘forget it yaar, anything for the theatre.’ So she had that spirit. At times, when I see today’s actors who will not say ‘hello’ to you until you say ‘hello’ to them… Reema had no such airs. She was an extremely warm person,” Sonali said.
Sonali shared that Reema was very passionate about doing theatre. “She never threw her weight as an actor. Reema has been a star for ages now. But she kept doing theatre, watching plays. She was always updated about development in theatre and cinema. She used to attend film festivals. I never felt that she was a senior to me. I would not call her ‘Reema Mausi’ or ‘Reema Tai’; she was ‘Reema’ for me because I felt she was extremely young at heart. She treated you as an equal. Meeting at her backstage was always fun as there was no mystery about her. She was an easygoing person,” Sonali added.
Speaking about her contribution to Marathi theatre and cinema, Sonali said “Marathi theatre saw a different side of the actor, something more than her portrayal of on-screen mothers in Bollywood. I feel sorry for people who haven’t seen her work in Marathi films. She has done some fascinating work in both Marathi cinema and Marathi theatre.”