I was once planning to cast Aishwarya as a politician in Singhasan. I’d love to cast Deepika in that role.” Kalpana isn’t sure Deepika would reciprocate her enthusiasm. “Why should she? I’m a down-and-out filmmaker. I haven’t put a project together in the last three years because of various reasons, the main being finances which a filmmaker like me who suffers a double disadvantage of being woman.” On top of it all, Kalpana has been facing a series of illnesses in her family, first her father and mother then her guru and companion composer Bhupen Hazarika. Kalpana who started as an assistant to Shyam Benegal says she’s very proud of her mentor. “At the ripe old age of 74, Shyam Babu has made a hit film Welcome To Sajjanpur. He had to struggle for years to make this project come true. As for me, I’m so much his junior and still can’t get funds for my new film.” Kalpana is hopeful about making Singhasan with Deepika. “Maybe she can get R.K. Films to produce it,” jokes Kalpana.
Call it a rishta by satellite. But prolific filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi is related to Deepika Padukone. “We’re both descendents of the great Guru Dutt. Deepika and I are Saraswat Brahmins. Her family and mine can be traced back to Kashmir. We’re basically evicted Kashmiri Pundits who migrated to Bangalore. If you remember my uncle Guru Dutt (who was my mother painter Lalita Lajmi’s brother) and Deepika’s father Prakash Padukone are both settled in Bangalore. Deepika is definitely related to me. Though she doesn’t know it. But I hope she knows about me” And now Kalpana has a script ready for Deepika. “I saw her in Om Shanti Om and Bachna Ae Haseeno and found her to possess that old-world grace which came naturally to Madhuri and Aishwarya. I don’t think any other girl today has that quality.