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STALWARTS BID ADIU

The film industry was left mourning the loss of many of its stalwarts in the year goneby with the veterans like Pran, Shamshad Begum, Manna Dey and Farooq Sheikh biding adieu to the world. Sheikh's death on December 28 in Dubai due to a heart attack shocked his friends and family as the 65-year-old actor appeared to be in good health. He had gone to Dubai for a holiday after finishing the promotion of his latest release 'Club 60'. Known for his gentle demeanor in the industry, Sheikh has left behind a relatively small but impressive body of work that includes gems like 'Garm Hawa', 'Shatranj Ke Khiladi', 'Chashme Baddoor' and 'Bazaar'. The industry lost its godfather with the demise of legendary actor Pran Sikand in July this year. Pran, the favourite villain and character star of Bollywood, who had starred in classics like 'Milan', 'Madhumati', 'Zanjeer' and 'Upkar', passed away at the age of 93. The government had honoured Pran with the Dada Saheb Phalke award in May this year. Singer Shamshad Begum, whose golden voice ruled the industry before Lata Mangeshkar's arrival in hits like, 'Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar', 'Saiyan Dil Mein Aana Re' and 'Kajra Mohabbat Wala', died in April this year at the age of 94. Begum, who had retired from the public eye long ago, was not keeping well for past few months and was admitted to the hospital. Bollywood lost another of its music legends in the passing away of Manna Dey, who died in October at the age of 94. Dey cast his musical spell for over five decades with all-time hits like 'ay mere pyara watan', 'laaga chunri me daag' and 'poocho na kaise'. He was last of the famous quartet of Rafi, Mukesh, and Kishore. Bengali helmer Ritoparno Ghosh's passing away due to cardiac arrest at the age of 49 left many shocked. Winner of 12 national and many international awards, Ghosh shot to fame by his direction of a children's film 'Hirer Angti' in 1994. His other widely acclaimed films include 'Dahan', 'Asukh', 'Chokher Bali', 'Raincoat', 'Bariwali', 'Antarmahal' and 'Noukadubi'. Besides his films, Ghosh will be remembered for bridging the gap between Bengali cinema and Bollywood by working with some of Hindi cinema's most recognised faces like Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu and Soha Ali Khan. The year's most shocking death was the suicide of actress Jiah Khan at the age of 25. Jiah was found hanging in her flat in June. Her failed relationship with Suraj Pancholi and failure to make it into Bollywood apparently drove her to take the drastic step. 
Jiah made a very promising debut opposite megastar Amitabh Bachchan in Ram Gopal Varma's 'Nishabd', which was RGV's take on Vladimir Nobokov's controversial novel 'Lolita'. She then appeared alongside Aamir Khan in 'Ghajini' but the film, despite its success at the box office, failed to give wings to Jiah's movie career. Her last big project was Sajid Khan's multi starrer comedy film 'Housefull'. TV actor Abir Goswami's death was another unfortunate incident. The 38-year-old actor died of heart attack in a Mumbai gym. Abir was seen in TV serials like 'Pyaar Ka Dard Hai' and 'Kkusum'. Actress Anatara Mali's father Jagdish Mali, a well-known fashion photographer, died due to liver problems. Mali's camera worked wonder on Bollywood faces like Rekha, Shabana Azmi, Kareena Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Om Puri and Irrfan Khan but he had turned his back on the industry in later stage. There was a controversy when Mali was reportedly spotted in a disoriented state but the photographer rubbished assumptions that he was mentally ill. Actor Jagdish Raj, who had the record of playing a police officer 144 times in various Bollywood films, died at the age of 85. Raj was a familiar face in movies like 'Deewar', 'Don', 'Shakti', 'Mazdoor', 'Imaan Dharam' and 'Silsila'. Actress Priyanka Chopra lost her father, Dr Ashok Chopra, in June this year. He was ill for a long time. The 62-year-old Chopra had accompanied his actress daughter to Vancouver for the TOIFA Awards earlier this year despite his ill health. Priyanka, who won the best actress award there for her role in Barfi!, had dedicated the trophy to her father. Actress Madhuri Dixit also suffered bereavement with the demise of her 91-year-old father, Shankar R Dixit in Septemer this year. Singer Sandip Acharya, who was the winner of 'Indian Idol' second season, died at the age of 29 due to jaundice on December 15. 

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