Award-winning filmmaker Mani Kaul passes away at 67

After years of struggling with prostrate cancer, filmmaker Mani Kaul (67) eventually breathed his last at 1.15 am on Wednesday.

Kaul, a respected part of the parallel cinema movement, had been living alone at his DLF apartment in Gurgaon, ever since his divorce with his second wife four to five years ago.

"We had just got him home from treatment at the Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute at 9.30 pm, and he was taking rest. But in the middle of the night, his condition worsened and and he silently passed away in his sleep," said Raman Chawla, his flatmate, who has been living on the second floor of Kaul's building for the past two years.

Kaul was cremated at Lodhi Road crematorium in the presence of his children, relatives and friends on Wednesday evening. Among those present were artistes Arpana Caur, Sadanand Menon, singer Jasbir Jassi.

Kaul, who was diagnosed with prostrate cancer in 2009, took up treatment immediately to prevent its spread.

"But things suddenly went downhill for him as the cancer spread to his bones very rapidly. It created tumours in the bones, which caused him discomfort each time he moved," said Chawla, who was overlooking the arrangements at the cremation. The news has left everyone in the film fraternity grieving.

"I knew him for 40 years. I still cannot fathom how this happened," said grief-stricken writer Aruna Vasudev, who had worked closely with Kaul during his last assignment as the creative director of the 2009 edition of the Osian's Cinefan Festival. In 2009, he changed the structure of the Osian's Cinefan Film Festival of Asian and Arab cinema after taking over its reins from Latika Padgaonkar and Indu Shrikent.

A product of FTII, Kaul took up acting but soon turned to direction and bagged two National Awards for his film Duvidha in 1974, and Best Documentary Film for Siddeshwari in 1984.

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