Veteran theater and film actress Sulabha Deshpande, 79, who had acted in numerous Marathi and Hindi films, passed away on Saturday (4th June) at her Mumbai residence after a prolonged illness.
Apart from acting in the plays written by acclaimed playwrights such as Vijay Tendulkar, Deshpande featured in several Marathi and Hindi films and TV serials. In Hindi, the noteworthy films in which she appeared include - 'Bhumika' (1977), 'Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan' (1978) and 'Gaman' (1978). In recent years, she had appeared in Gauri Shinde-directed 'English Vinglish.'
Members of Hindi film fraternity such as Lata Mangeshkar, Shyam Benegal, Rishi Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit and Anil Kapoor took to twitter to mourn the demise. Lata Mangeshkar tweeted, “Today my favourite actress died. She had worked in my film ‘Jait Re Jait’. Sulabha was a very talented actress. Her demise is a major loss to our film industry. It saddens me…May her soul rest in peace”.
Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal described her as “one of the great figures of Marathi cinema”. According to him, she was equally well-known for her work in Hindi movies as well as in Marathi and Hindi theatre. “She was a wonderful actor, very disciplined and always a team person. She never had any airs about her and was always helpful to the actors that she worked with. I particularly remember her work in Bhumika (1977),” Benegal tweeted. “RIP. Sulabha Deshpande. Worked with both her and her late husband Arvind Deshpande in the film “Duniya”, tweeted Rishi Kapoor and “Sad to know about the demise of Sulabha Deshpandeji. What a lovely, warm person and wonderful actress!”, tweeted Madhuri Dixit.
Sulabha Deshpande was associated with Rangayan, a leading Marathi experimental theater group of Mumbai. In 1971, she co-founded the theater group Awishkar with her husband Arvind Deshpande.