A Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) graduate, Kaul breathed his last around 1 a.m. at his home in the capital after he was discharged from a hospital Tuesday night, filmmaker Shyam Benegal said.
“I had lost touch with him for a long time. But I came to know that he died around 1 a.m. in the morning at his house in New Delhi. He was suffering from some sort of cancer,” Benegal, who used to stay close to Kaul in south Mumbai for a few years, told IANS.
Born in Jodhpur in Rajasthan to a Kashmiri Pandit family, Kaul made his debut with “Uski Roti” in 1969. It won him the Filmfare Critics Award for the best movie. His later movies “Ashad Ka ek Din”, “Duvidha” and “Idiot” also won Filmfare awards.
He was also the recipient of a National Film Award for his documentary “Siddheshwari” in 1989.
In 2009, Kaul was appointed the director general of the Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema.
Talking about his body of work, Benegal said: “Mani was not only a filmmaker, but also a film academic. He taught films in Duke University and Harvard University. His films were not as recognised by Indians as much as they were appreciated among international viewers.”
Actor-writer-producer Viveck Vaswani told IANS: “India has lost one of its finest directors. Mani never made films for commercial reasons or according to audience’s choice. But he made films for himself…and that’s why perhaps his works didn’t get as much recognition in India.”
Filmmakers Shekhar Kapur and Onir condoled Kaul’s death through micro-blogging site Twitter.
“RIP Mani Kaul. Friend. Director. A life passionately dedicated to exploring the outer edges of the art of film. Will be missed. The passing away of friends reminds you of the value of this moment,” posted Kapur.
Onir wrote: “Sad to hear about Mani Kaul. Remember the first time he called me I was in Berlin. I was so excited and nervous that I couldn’t talk.”