New Delhi: Renowned writer-filmmaker Gita Mehta passed on Saturday in New Delhi. She was 80 years old.
Mehta had written books including Karma Cola, Snakes and Ladders, A River Sutra, Raj and Eternal Ganesha. She also produced and directed at least 14 television documentaries for UK, European and US networks, The Indian Express reported.
In 2019, she was given the Padma Shri award but she refused to accept it, saying, “I am deeply honoured that the Government of India should think me worthy of a Padma Shri but with great regret I feel I must decline as there is a general election looming and the timing of the award might be misconstrued, causing embarrassment both to the Government and myself, which I would much regret.”
In later interviews, she said she made her decision “thinking of my brother, not wishing to cause him any embarrassment at a sensitive time – or even face accusations that nepotism might have been brought to bear to get me the award”.
Mehta was the daughter of Biju Patnaik and the sister of Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik. She was married to American publisher Sonny Mehta, who died in December 2019.
Several senior politicians, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, express their condolences on social media.