One of India’s most accomplished cinematographers, Ashok Mehta is critically ill and is being treated at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Mumbai. “Yes, I got to know of Ashok’s condition. He’s like a father-figure to me. I’m, in fact, on the way to see him now. I guess he wanted to keep his illness very quiet,” said Arjun Rampal, who is Mehta’s discovery. The fact of Mehta’s illness surfaced during the recording of a new chat show Issi Ka Naam Zindagi Hai, hosted by Raveena Tandon. It was a segment featuring Arjun and one of the people who came on the video monitor to talk about Arjun was Mehta. The cinematographer had discovered Arjun and had cast him in the lead in Moksha, the only feature film that Mehta has directed. Apparently when Arjun saw him rasping his good wishes from a hospital bed, his face went ashen.
Mehta shot some of the most vivid and evocative films including Shekhar Kapoor’s Bandit Queen, Shyam Benegal’s Mandi and Trikaal, Aparna Sen’s 36 Chowringhee Lane and Paroma, Shashi Kapoor’s Utsav, Subhash Ghai’s Ram Lakhan, Khalnayak and Kisna and MF Husain’s Gaja Gamini.