over 40 years, Tapan Sinha, passed away Thursday in Kolkata.
Not keeping good health himself for quite some time now, Kumar said that in Sinha's death he lost a yet another friend after B.R. Chopra, the veteran Bollywood director who passed away in November last year.
Kumar became a friend of Sinha during the making of the latter's 'Sagina Mahato', a film about a tea estate labour leader from eastern India during the British Raj.
Recalling their friendship, Kumar told IANS that Sinha had met him through a common Bengali friend as the filmmaker thought only Kumar could do justice to the role of Sagina Mahato in the film.
'His gentle, friendly nature evoked instant enthusiasm in me to explore the subject of the film he had brought with him. We met quite often during his stay in Mumbai. The more we interacted and exchanged thoughts, the more convinced I was that I should work with him,' Kumar said.
Their friendship grew stronger when the film was being shot on locations in Kurseong, near Darjeeling. Kumar said Sinha was the most patient filmmaker he had ever met. 'He respected my commitment to render my scenes as faultlessly as I wished,' he remarked.
Kumar said that though they never carried on their professional relationship after 'Sagina Mahato' as they never had the opportunity to do so, they continued to remain friends.
'I will cherish fond memories of our friendship and the professional regard we shared,' said Kumar.
Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu featured in both the Bengali and Hindi version of 'Sagina Mahato'. While the original Bengali version was released in 1970, the Hindi version, titled 'Sagina', was released in 1974.