Noted Marathi film and television actress Ashalata Wabgaonkar passed away from COVID-19 on Tuesday, September 22. The 79-year-old veteran breathed her last early 4:45 am at a private hospital in Maharashtra, reports say. She had been shooting for a Marathi television serial, Aai Mazi Kalubai.
Mumbai Mirror reports that Wabgaonkar’s health had been critical until three days ago, but she was considerably “on the path to recovery.” Her last rites will be performed in Satara, where she passed away, India Today says. She is survived by a son.
It is reported that around 20 members of the crew which had been shooting with Wabgaonkar have also tested positive for the virus, and are currently under home quarantine.
Tributes Pour In, Mourning The Loss
Mourning the loss, actor Renuka Shahane wrote in Marathi on Twitter, “Ashalata Tai merged into infinity. Extremely kind, loving, sensitive, great artist. Peace be upon the soul of Ashalata Tai, who has always blessed me by saying ‘Baby’.”
आज फार हतबल झाल्ये. कोविडनी एक अत्यंत सुंदर जिवाचा बळी घेतला. आशालता ताईं अनंतात विलीन झाल्या. अत्यंत मायाळू, प्रेमळ, संवेदनशील, उत्तम कलाकार. मला नेहमीच "बाळा" म्हणत आशीर्वाद देणाऱ्या आशालता ताईच्या आत्म्याला शांती लाभो. भावपूर्ण श्रद्धांजली 🙏🏽🙏🏽
— Renuka Shahane (@renukash) September 22, 2020
Ex-CM of Goa, Digambar Kamat, too conveyed his condolences, writing, “Deeply pained by the passing away of acclaimed Goan Artist Ashalata Wabgaonkar. Her splendid performances in theatre & films will keep inspiring the generations to come.”
Actor Ajinkkya R Deo, who worked alongside Wabgaonkar in 1991 film Maherchi Sadi took to Twitter to express his grief, “Goshhh Ashalata wabgaonkar who played my mother in film Maherchi sadi and many more is no more cannot believe it may she rest in peace…”
Remembering Ashalata Wabgaonkar’s Career
Ashalata Wabgaonkar was a revered face in the Indian film industry, with over 100 Marathi and Hindi films to her credit. Hailing from Goa, she began her performative career with Konkani and Marathi plays. Some of her most notable works on stage have been Matsyagandha, Chinna and Varyavarchi Varaat.
She was inducted into Hindi films by Basu Chatterjee, finding fame in her debut performance as Sidheshwari in Apne Paraye, acting alongside stalwarts like Shabana Azmi, Girish Karnad, Amol Palekar and Utpal Dutt. Her first film itself landed her a Filmfare nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Her other appearances in Hindi films include Sadma, Sharaabi, Coolie, Ankush, Ahista Ahista, Shaukeen, Woh Saat Din, and Namak Halaal. Aside from being an accomplished actor, Wabgaonkar was also trained in classical music and had authored a Marathi book titled Gard Sabhovati.