It is only fitting for a faceless character actor like Narendra Jha that one of his most popular works will be the voice-over from Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider. In one of the purest Bhardwaj-Shakespeare mashup moments, Jha’s character speaks from beyond the grave and says – “Haider, mera inteqaam lena… mere bhai se. Uski aankhon ke beech goliyaan daagna, jisse usne tumhari maa par fareb daale the.”
As the news of the actor’s passing comes out, it’s hard to shake off the visual (from the same film) of him quietly resting on a rocking chair while listening to Mehdi Hassan’s Gulon Mein Rang Bhare.
Jha was only 55, and reports suggest that he died of a heart attack in his Wada farmhouse, earlier today. Undergoing treatment at the Kokilaben Hospital for a minor attack only a few days ago, Jha and his wife Pankaja (former CEO of the CBFC) had apparently retired to the farmhouse for the actor’s recovery.
Having been an actor since the days of Mandira Bedi-starrer Shanti, one gets the feeling that Jha had only begun to make his way into mainstream consciousness with his big-budget releases like Raees, Kaabil (that co-incidentally released on the same day) and even Ashutosh Gowariker’s Mohenjo Daro. Even though he appeared in Shyam Benegal’s Bose: The Forgotten Hero and in Samvidhaan, where he essayed the role of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Jha found some significant recognition only after his role as Dr Hilal Meer in Haider.
A family member confirmed the news to indianexpress.com saying, “Narendra Jha passed away at his farmhouse in Wada this morning at about 5 AM. He suffered a massive heart attack.” Reports indicate that Jha had just finished shooting for Salman Khan-starrer Race 3, and his final role will probably serve as a reminder of what could have been.
Another one gone too soon.