‘Daman’ director Kalpana Lajmi deserved much more recognition, says Raveena Tandon

Mumbai: “Daman” established Raveena Tandon as a powerhouse performer, and remembering director Kalpana Lajmi, the actor says the filmmaker deserved much more recognition than she received. Lajmi, who was suffering from chronic kidney disease and liver failure, passed away Sunday morning. She was 64. “Daman”, which released in 2001, touched upon topics like domestic violence and caste divide. The film also won Raveena her first National Film Award for Best Actress.”For me, there is a lot that I learnt from her as she was a pioneer in making women-oriented films 25 years ago when it was a challenge to make these kinds of movies and see them through.

“But she picked up the challenge and brought out women issues strongly and in a way, she was working towards women empowerment. She deserved much more recognition than what she got,” Raveena told PTI. The actor says, even though Lajmi was a strong-headed filmmaker, she always respected the individuality of the artists.”As a director, she gave actors the freedom to react the way they wanted to. She would give a situation and ask ‘how would I react to it?’ she would tell me to react as per the demand of the character. She captured our individuality.” Recalling her experience of filming “Daman”, Raveena says Lajmi was never afraid of taking up challenges.

“We were shooting for ‘Daman’ when the ULFA terror was at its peak in the 90s and she was so confident about everything. We were shooting in Assam and even the DCP asked us not to shoot, but she was unafraid.”She never got nervous. And that was a great quality in her. The climax of ‘Daman’ was shot during Durga Puja.” Raveena says she will be “eternally grateful” to Lajmi for believing in her. “I had done films like ‘Ghulam-E-Mustafa’ and ‘School’. She believed in the kind of work I did and I will be eternally grateful to her for giving me ‘Daman’,” she says. “Daman”, also starred Sayaji Shinde, Sanjay Suri and Raima Sen. Lajmi’s longtime companion veteran musician Bhupen Hazarika created the soundtrack for the film.

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