Samir Chanda passes away

The production designer/art director of the Shahid-Sonam starrer Mausam died suddenly yesterday

Samir Chanda, the acclaimed 54-year-old art director succumbed to a sudden heart attack yesterday. He made his debut with Subhash Ghai’s Ram Lakhan and went on to work on hits like Guru, Rang De Basanti and Krrish.The ace production designer was working on Shirish Kunder’s ambitious 3D film, Joker and had just finished his work on the Pankaj Kapur-directed Mausam, starring Sonam and Shahid Kapoor. Samir’s demise comes as a rude shock to many in Bollywood. What makes the situation even more sad is what he had said on his personal website: “The Art Directors in India are still looked down as glorified carpenters; hence I decided to evolve myself as a Production Designer.” It made us feel for the technicians working in Bollywood who go largely unknown, unheard of, unacknowledged, while the stars walk away with all the glory. Very few, like director Farah Khan, publicly lauds the efforts of those behind-the-scenes experts. Grieving the death of Samir, filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh posted a message on Twitter saying, “I wish Indian film magazines would carry more on technicians. I understand stars sell magazines but still… a good technician is also a star.” While we agree with Ghosh, we also know Bollywood far too well and realise that it will take a great deal longer for the industry to get over its star fixation. We hope Samir’s soul rests in peace. He will be missed.