Veteran actress Rita Bhaduri, whose film and television career spanned five decades, died here on Tuesday. The industry bid her a tearful adieu and remembered her as a warm and jovial person, who was one of the "finest" talents to emerge out of FTII.
Rita, 62, died at the Sujay Hospital in Vile Parle. She was fighting a weak kidney and was on dialysis twice a week.
"She died at around 1.30 a.m. and her family members took her body from the hospital at around 4," a source from the hospital where she was admitted for over a week told IANS.
Zama Habib, producer and writer of the actress' show "Nimki Mukhiya", said he had sensed she was critical.
"We were at the hospital last night (Monday). Her condition was not good," Habib told IANS.
In "Nimki Mukhiya", she was seen as an Imarti Devi, the grandmother of the house. The shoot for Tuesday was canceled due to the actress' demise.
What's going to happen to Rita's character on the show?
"The last time she shot for the show was almost 15 days back. We were waiting for her to recover. Today is her funeral. We will see what can be done," said Habib, who described her as a "gem of a person".
Shishir was one of the first to share condolences on social media.
"We deeply regret to inform you that Rita Bhaduri has departed for her journey beyond... Extremely sad. Lost a wonderful human being... A mother to many of us. Will miss u Ma," he wrote.
Satish, who shared the screen space with her in "Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai", said she was a lovely and warm person.
"People who are here today (at the funeral) are the ones who really cared for her. May her soul rest in peace," he added.
They paid their last respects to Rita with garlands and some touched her feet.
Jaya said: "Ritaji was such a beautiful person. She had inner strength. You won't believe it, but she was shooting till now. In fact, while shooting with our production, she would come from dialysis and shoot. She never complained and never made any fuss about anything... And she would need dialysis twice a week. May God rest her soul."
Rita, a noted alumnus of the famed Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, began her career during the 1960s. She played important supporting parts in movies like "Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa", "Kya Kehna", "Dil Vil Pyar Vyar" and "Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon". She also featured in Gujarati movies.
On the TV front, her credits include popular shows like "Hasratein", "Sarabhai vs Sarabhai", "Khichdi", "Ek Nayi Pehchaan", "Amanat", "Ek Mahal Ho Sapnon Ka" and "Kumkum". She was particularly popular for playing roles of a mother or grandmother.
"I had the honour of working with her in 'Ghar Ho to Aisa', 'Beta' and 'Viraasat' and I'm really saddened to hear about her passing. She will be dearly missed by her friends, family and fans," Anil Kapoor said.
Actor Anupam Kher said: "Rita Bhaduri was affectionate, helpful, jovial, bright and full of life. It is sad and unfortunate that we sum up a person only when he or she is gone. I wish we met more often. We have lost a very fine actress and a brand ambassador/alumni of FTII."
Actress Shiwani Chakraborty of "Nimki Mukhiya" said: "For the past two months, she was not keeping well. I will really miss her. More than a co-actor, she was a great human being. I learned a lot of things from her. She was just like a family member to me."
Actress Garima Singh, who played her daughter-in-law in the show, said: "We used to share the same room. So we used to talk about lots of things. She was a very positive person."