New Delhi: They entertained, educated and enlivened our lives with their talent and sheer brilliance. As another year draws to a close, it is time to remember their magic and say adieu once again to some of those who left us in 2011.
Bhimsen Joshi: In what was described as the sun setting on Indian classical music, the iconic Hindustani music vocalist passed away at his hometown Pune Jan 24 at the age of 88. The Bharat Ratna awardee was known for his mellifluous 'khayals' as well as his popular renditions of devotional 'abhangs' and 'bhajans'. But he also lent his powerful, moving voice to cinema in Hindi films like "Basant Bahar'"(1956) with Manna Dey, "Birbal My Brother" (1973) and "Ankahee" (1985).
Anant Pai: It was his creativity that gave generations of children their first glimpse into the fascinating world of Indian mythology and history. Shorn of any esoteric abstractions, it was Uncle Pai's Amar Chitra Katha comics that taught children simply and easily the intricate lessons of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and introduced them to the myriad characters from the ages gone by. Pai, who also introduced the Tinkle comics series, died Feb 24 at the age of 81.
Sathya Sai Baba: He was widely revered as god and attracted a following of millions of people, who flocked from across the world to his home in Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh, which went from obscurity to global fame. Sathya Sai Baba preached an eclectic blend of Hindu religion. He died April 24 at the age of 85, leaving behind a legacy of philanthropy but also controversy, with sceptics questioning his proclaimed divinity and investigators finding cash, gold and silver worth nearly Rs 59 crore from his residential quarters.
MF Husain: With his flowing white beard, intense gaze and penchant for walking barefoot, he met the stereotype of the genius artist. The prolific, phenomenally successful painter died June 9 in London, far away from his beloved India, at the age of 96. It was a virtual exile for the country's best known artist, who left home in 2006 after being hounded and threatened by rightwing activists for his paintings of goddesses. He yearned to get back. Alas, that was never to be.
Shammi Kapoor: Hindi cinema's "Junglee", "Professor" and "Bluff Master" who jolted audiences out of their lethargy with his romantic war cry of "Yahoo", which is said to have inspired even Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang, died after a long illness Aug 14. Shammi Kapoor, 79, who jived and rock-and-rolled like no other before him and redefined the image of the traditional hero to become an enduring style legend, gave his last performance in the fittingly titled "Rockstar" that released after his death.
Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: India's cricket legend, who personified style on and off the cricket field, died Sep 22 when he was just 70. The former Indian captain, who was felled by a lung infection, played 46 Test matches for India between 1961 and 1975. With cricket, cinema and royalty making for a heady cocktail, the late Nawab of Pataudi, who was married to actress Sharmila Tagore and whose son Saif is one of Bollywood's biggest stars, was never out of the limelight.
Bhupen Hazarika: The bard of Brahmaputra fell silent for eternity Nov 5. But his haunting melodies "Dil hoom hoom kare" and "Ganga behti ho kyon" resonate through the country, particularly his homeland Assam. Hazarika, who gave voice to the aspirations of millions in the northeast, died at the age of 85 in a Mumbai hospital. His funeral four days later in Guwahati saw an upsurge of humanity, with some crying, others barely managing to hold back their tears.
Hargobind Khurana: The Punjab-born scientist, who made the US his home, won the Nobel Prize in 1968. Khorana shared the prize with Robert Holley of Cornell University and Marshall Nirenberg of the National Institutes of Health. Khorana, who died Nov 9 in Massachusetts, revolutionised biotechnology with his pioneering work in DNA chemistry. He was born in India in 1922 in a small village in Punjab that is now part of Pakistan.
Dev Anand: Bollywood's very own Peter Pan finally said sayonara Dec 4 this year at the age of 88, an actor who epitomised the suave lover romancing his way through generations of heroines -- from Nalini Jaywant to Zeenat Aman. With a legacy of some of Hindi cinema's finest films and best loved songs, Dev Anand acted, directed and produced unflaggingly for six decades. From "Baazi" in 1951 to "Chargesheet" in 2011, it was an untrammeled joyride - for us and for him. The star died, but the sparkle lives on.