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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Sumitra Bhave, National Award-winning filmmaker, dies aged 78

Sumitra Bhave is known for her rich legacy of films such as Dahavi Fa, Kaasav, Doghi and Astu.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: April 19, 2021 10:20:13 pm
Filmmaker Sumitra Bhave passed away at 78: (Express archive)

Multiple National Award-winning filmmaker Sumitra Bhave died on Monday morning after a brief illness owing to a lung infection at Pune’s Sahyadri Hospital. She was 78.

Bhave left behind a legacy of films that she made with her long-time collaborator Sunil Sukthankar, ranging from Dahavi Fa, in which a young school teacher draws out the potential of students relegated to backbenches and low grades, to Kaasav and Astu that focus on mental health issues.

Consultant physician at Sahyadri Hospital Dr Shailendra Date said, “The noted filmmaker was admitted on April 6. She was suffering from interstitial lung disease. She had tested negative for Covid-19 and was diagnosed to have interstitial lung disease in March 2021. She breathed her last on Monday morning due to respiratory failure and extensive lung fibrosis.”

Dr Mohan Agashe, who worked with Bhave in Kaasav and Astu, spoke about her contribution to cinema.

“She was not a filmmaker or even a theatre practitioner to begin with. Bhave was a graduate of Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She was a social scientist and researcher. She was working with Karve Institute, where she was teaching social work and sociology and doing a research project with Stree Vani on the problems of women in urban slums in the 1980s. As she explored the adversities and survival of women, she saw that the women did not know reading or writing but they all used to see films. Bhave then thought of making a film. Without knowing anything of filmmaking, she took a long leap that very few people would have dared to,” said Dr Agashe.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar sent their condolences to Bhave’s family.

“Bhave’s contribution is not only limited to cinema but in creating social awareness about important issues. We have lost an important personality today,” Thackeray said.
Pawar said, “She grew up working with the Rashtra Seva Dal and always worked to improve the lives of the downtrodden and neglected. With her death, the state has lost a sensitive human being and a filmmaker who made meaningful cinema that spoke to millions in India and abroad.”

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