Pradeep Sarkar, the director of Parineeta (2005) and Mardaani (2014), died in the early hours of Friday in Mumbai. He was 68 and had been ailing for several years.

Sarkar turned to direction at the age of 50, after a fruitful career making advertising commercials. He won acclaim for his music videos for Shubha Mudgal’s Ab Ke Saawan, Euphoria’s Dhoom Pichak Dhoom and Maaeri and Sultan Khan’s Piya Basanti. He had been working on his passion project, a biopic of the legendary nineteenth-century theatre performer Noti Binodini starring Kangana Ranaut.

Maeri, Euphoria.

Sarkar’s directorial debut Parineeta drew on his Bengali heritage. The 2005 period drama, based on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novella of the same name, starred Vidya Balan in her first Hindi-language feature alongside Saif Ali Khan and Sanjay Dutt. Sarkar persuaded Rekha to appear as a nightclub dancer in the film’s chartbusting song, Kaisi Paheli.

The handsomely mounted film’s success led to Laaga Chunari Mein Daag (2007), starring Rani Mukerji, Jaya Bachchan, Konkona Sen Sharma and Abhishek Bachchan. Sarkar teamed up again with Mukerji for the police thriller Mardaani in 2014.

Sarkar also directed Lafangey Parindey (2010), starring Deepika Padukone and Neil Nitin Mukesh, and Helicopter Eela (2018). He directed four web series, including Forbidden Love and Duranga.

Kaisi Paheli, Parineeta (2005).