19 People We Will Miss
1. Gore Vidal, 86
An American author, playwright, essayist and an occasional actor, who also aspired to be the President. Few litterateurs have made their presence felt in public life as Vidal. He was witty and acerbic and his penchant for sharp, incisive statements put him at loggerheads with his contemporaries like Norman Mailer and Truman Capote.
2. Neil Armstrong, 82
He took one small step for man that turned out to be a giant leap for mankind. He was the first man to land on the moon on July 20, 1969, a feat that catches the fancy of generations even today.
3. AK Hangal, 95
The kindly old man of Indian cinema acted in over 200 films. including Sholay and Lagaan. He was never the star of a movie, but he gave Indian pop culture one of its most iconic movie lines: “Itna sannatta kyun hai bhai?”
4. Dara Singh, 84
Dara Singh was India’s ultimate gentle giant. In his early life, he earned international acclaim with his wrestling prowess, but the nation will remember him in his on-screen avatars, most fondly in his portrayal of Hanuman in Ramanand Sagar’s TV blockbuster Ramayan.
5. Yash Chopra, 80
The ‘king of romance’ gave us love stories like Kabhi Kabhie, Silsila, Lamhe, Chandni and Veer Zaara. But his 5-decade-long career was not just about romantic dramas; he also gave us superhit thrillers like Deewar and Trishul, which established Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘angry young man’ image, and Darr with newcomer Shah Rukh Khan.
6. Jaspal Bhatti, 57
For Jaspal Bhatti, satire was mightier than the sword. He shot to fame with Flop Show on Doordarshan and was known for floating mock political parties, Hawala Party and Recession Party for instance, to expose corruption and those who revelled in it.
7. Pandit Ravi Shankar, 92
Pandit Ravi Shankar conquered the West with his sitar. One of the greatest exponents of the Senia Maihar gharana, the versatile maestro will not only be remembered for his soulful notes in Satyajit Ray’s Apur Sansar or Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anuradha, but also for his collaboration with Yehudi Menuhin and George Harrison. As the Beatles star had said, he was truly the “godfather of world music”.
8. Rajesh Khanna, 69
India’s first superstar had a whole generation of fans swooning at his feet, as he crooned timeless numbers like ‘Mere sapnon ki rani’, crinkling his eyes in a smile and tilting his head just so. He delivered 15 consecutive hits in three years (1969-71), a record that remains unbroken. Many of his films like Aradhana, Khamoshi, Kati Patang, and Anand went on to become classics.
9. IK Gujral, 93
He was a PM by chance and his stint at the top job was even more staid. But his legacy will live through the Gujral Doctrine, a set of five foreign policy principles that became the guiding light for India’s foreign relations with its neighbours.
10. Prabuddha Dasgupta, 58
The fashion and fine-art photographer was known for his black-and-white frames that celebrated the female form. His photographs captured a sense of naturalness, best exemplified in his book Women. He shot for leading magazines like Vogue and GQ, and his works have been exhibited internationally.
Images: 1, 2, 5: Reuters; 3: B Mathur / Reuters; 4, 7, 11, 12: Getty Images; 6, 8: Sameer Joshi / Fotocorp; 9: Rafi quar Rahman / Reuters, 10: Corbis