Veteran actor Ashalata Wabgaonkar, who had worked in both Marathi and in the Hindi film industry, died on Tuesday, September 22 after contracting COVID-19. The actor originally belonged to Goa but she had spent her life in Mumbai while working in the film industry and doing theatre. Now, a report in Mumbai Mirror revealed that her last rites were not performed by anyone in the family but her co-star Alka Kubal who called Wabgaonkar her mother.Also Read - Worried About Breastfeeding Amidst The Pandemic? Everything You Need to Know
Alka, who also worked with the veteran actor in 1991 hit film Maherchi Sadi, said that Wabgaonkar had requested that her cremation be done by them. Talking about her health condition, Alka said that she had been responded well to the treatment and appeared absolutely fine on Monday when she even asked for her favourite meals to be served at the hospital, however, things turned worst on Tuesday and she breathed her last. Also Read - India Administers Over 47 Crore Vaccine Doses so Far, Achieves July Vaccination Target
“My husband and I were with her in the hospital for the last four days. Till Monday evening, she was doing well and we were hopeful that she would be up and walking soon. She was even asking for her favourite dishes and had warned me a day ago not to intimate anyone from her family. She even said that in a worst-case scenario, we should perform her last rites,” Alka explained. Also Read - China Sounds COVID-19 Alarm as Delta Variant Spreads to 18 Provinces With Fresh Cases in Beijing
The actor went on to reveal that Wabgaonkar’s family members had asked her to not bring their mother’s dead body to Mumbai. The actor suffered from the deadly virus for over a week and this was the reason the family didn’t want anyone to travel down. “She was put on a ventilator on Monday night after her oxygen levels fell drastically and passed away early on Tuesday at around 4:45 am. Her family couldn’t come due to the ongoing pandemic and told us to cremate her in Satara and not bring her body down to Mumbai,” she said.
Alka called herself fortunate for being able to fulfill her last wish. “I’m honoured I could fulfil her last wish given that she was like a mother to me. I just wish we could have saved her. The only consolation is that she passed away doing what she loved most,” she said.
Ashalata Wabgaonkar got over 100 films in her resume and several popular Marathi plays. She had debuted in the Hindi film industry with Basu Chatterjee’s Apne Paraye in which she was starred alongside Shabana Azmi. The veteran actor remembered her co-star yesterday and told the daily that Wabgaonkar was all loving and warm. “The relationship between the two sisters-in-law was a complex one and she essayed her part beautifully – warm, loving, petulant, childlike and tyrannical in turns. She brought alive every aspect. I missed watching her on stage, but heard many stories of what a force she was in theatre,” said Azmi.
Along with Wabgaonkar, around 20 other members from the cast and crew of TV show Aai Mazi Kalubai got infected with the virus. Her passing away is a great loss to the entire film industry. May her soul rest in peace!