'Who knew he would leave us all like this?'
On May 5, Bollywood woke up to the shocking news of movie editor Ajay Sharma's sudden demise, a COVID-19 casualty.
Sharma was undergoing treatment at the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi, where he breathed his last after being in ICU for close to two weeks.
His sudden demise shocked many in the Hindi film industry. Film-maker Anurag Basu was heartbroken.
Having known each other since 2007's Life In A... Metro, Basu saw Sharma evolve into a fine film editor through the years.
"I was happy to see how things were falling into place for him. He had worked really hard to come this far. Who knew he would not be with us in some time?" Basu tells Rediff.com Contributor Mohnish Singh.
"I do not exactly remember when I first met him but we have had a long association. He was a wonderful human being, and extremely talented. He was one of the most hard-working people I know. We lost a young talent too soon," Basu says.
After Life In A... Metro, Sharma worked as an assistant editor on several films that Basu directed, including Kites and Barfi.
He also served as an assistant editor for Woh Lamhe, I Hate Luv Storys, Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai, Agneepath, The Dirty Picture, Kai Po Che, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, and many more.
Basu's Jagga Jasoos, starring Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif, was the first big-ticket film that Sharma edited as an independent editor.
"Jagga Jasoos was his first big film which gave his career a real boost," he says.
Sharma was a passionate storyteller, Basu recalls.
After making his directorial debut with a short film called Jolly 1995 last year, he was planning to helm a full-length film.
"Akarsh (Khurana) and I would always ask him to direct a full-length feature film. I know he wanted to. I am sure he must have planned something," Basu says.
"2020 had been a great year for Ajay," Basu says. "He worked on some amazing projects like Ludo and Indoo Ki Jawani, amongst others. He edited Bandish Bandits."
"I remember teasing him, saying, 'While the entire industry is shut, you are busy working on one exciting project after another. Your life is sorted.' His career had taken off really well. I was really happy for him," adds Basu.
"I was happy to see how things were falling into place for him. He had worked really hard to come this far. Who knew he would not be with us in some time? Who knew he would leave us all like this? Life is so unpredictable."
When was the last time they were in touch?
"Ajay had gone to Delhi some time ago and he contracted the virus there. We did everything we could do in our capacity to arrange a bed for him in the hospital. He was in ICU for almost two weeks before he passed away," says Basu.
Before signing off, Basu urges everyone to stay home and follow all the coronavirus related precautions and protocols.
"I urge everyone to stay home. These are indeed trying times not just for our country, but everyone across the world. I know staying inside all the time gets tedious after a point, but that is the best thing we can do to save ourselves and our loved ones in this pandemic. I hope we come out of this soon."
"It has been one-and-a-half years since we have been dealing with it. God knows how long this will be going on for."