Late filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi was just 17 when she first met renowned classical singer Bhupen Hazarika. Just two years later at 19, she was ready to follow him all the way to Kolkata and move in with him.
However, her mother, veteran artist Lalitha Lajmi, wasn’t supportive of the idea. In a new interview, Lalitha has spoken in detail about Kalpana’s childhood with an alcoholic father and how it might have also impacted her idea of what a relationship should be like.
Speaking to Pinkvilla, Lalitha revealed how Kalpana and Bhupen first met. “Bhupenda came to Mumbai and was invited for dinner at Atmaji’s home. Kalpana met him there for the first time. That evening onwards her journey changed forever. She was 17 to his 45. At first, I didn’t know of her involvement with Bhupenda. She’d say she was going to the suburbs to meet her friends. As parents we’d given her all freedom. When I finally got to know of her relationship, Kalpana insisted they were just good friends,” she said. However, behind the pretence of friendship, Kalpana would regularly speak with him on the phone.
Kalpana then announced to her family that she was headed to Kolkata to work on a documentary film. Her cousin accompanied her. However, he returned after some time while she stayed back. The family realised she was gone for good when they found her cupboard empty.
Lalitha and her husband, Captain Gopi Lajmi, were upset at Kalpana living-in with Bhupen, but it was their vast age difference that irked them the most. “It came as a huge shock. Her father too missed her. But he was a reticent person and didn’t say anything. I was teaching Art in Fort Convent that time. As soon as the vacation began, I left with Devdas for Kolkata, to bring Kalpana back. I didn’t mind her living with him. What upset me was the age difference. She was only 19. Bhupenda was fit to be her father,” she said.
Also read: I don’t need ‘wife’ tag to prove my love for Bhupen: Kalpana
Lalitha also spoke about the relationship Kalpana shared with Bhupen and how he also drank a lot, much like Kalpana’s father. Lalitha called it ‘father complex’ that Kalpana chose to stay in the relationship despite how ‘unequal’ it was. She mentioned how it would upset her to watch Kalpana tie Bhupen’s shoes, something the director would dismiss saying, ‘Mummy he can’t do it.’
Kalpana died in November 2018 after suffering multiple organ failure. She was known for directing acclaimed films such as Rudaali, Daman and Darmiyaan.