Satish Kaushik, who helped living-dead Ig Nobel Prize winner Lal Bihari, has himself died

Indian filmmaker Satish Kaushik, who in 2003 helped Lal Bihari, founder of the Association of Dead People, accept the Ig Nobel Peace Prize — and who years later produced a feature film about the life and death and life of Lal Bihari — has himself died. This report in Business Standard brings the sad news:

Satish Kaushik, master of the spontaneous who radiated joie de vivre
From Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron and Mr India to Mandi, Kaushik leaves an indelible mark on Indian cinema

Kaushik, who passed away on the night of March 8 in Gurugram, made the journey from Delhi’s Karol Bagh to the Mumbai movie industry (via a couple of institutional pit stops that shaped him) without ever losing his solid moorings….

He nurtured his own dream of directing his first global film. Initially titled Lal Bihari Mritak, it was about an Uttar Pradesh villager deemed dead in the state’s revenue records and forced to fight tooth and nail to prove he was alive…. It took Kaushik a decade and a half to bring the project to fruition. It took the form of the Zee5 original film Kaagaz, starring Pankaj Tripathi.

Satish Kaushik to the Rescue, in 2003

Satish Kaushek (left) with Lal Bihari. Photo: The Times of India.

In 2003 we awarded that year’s Ig Nobel Peace Prize to Lal Bihari, of Uttar Pradesh, India, for a triple accomplishment: First, for leading an active life even though he has been declared legally dead; Second, for waging a lively posthumous campaign against bureaucratic inertia and greedy relatives; and Third, for creating the Association of Dead People. Lal Bihari overcame the handicap of being dead, and managed [with help from Satish Kaushik] to obtain a passport from the Indian government so that he could travel to Harvard to accept his Prize. However, the U.S. government refused to allow him into the country. Satish Kaushik arranged for (and funded) their mutual friend Madhu Kapoor to came to the Ig Nobel Ceremony and accept the Prize on behalf of Lal Bihari. You can watch video of that acceptance, at the Ig Nobel Ceremony:

Several weeks later, the Prize was presented to Lal Bihari himself in a special ceremony in India.

A Tribute from the Prize-winning Prime Minister

There are many tributes in India this week to Satish Kaushik. Observer Voice reports that a special tribute comes from the country’s prime minister:

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has condoled the passing away of noted film personality, Shri Satish Kaushik. The Prime Minister tweeted: “Pained by the untimely demise of noted film personality Shri Satish Kaushik Ji. He was a creative genius who won hearts thanks to his wonderful acting and direction. His works will continue to entertain audiences. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti.”

Narendra Modi is himself an Ig Nobel Prize winner. The 2020 Ig Nobel Prize for Medical Education was awarded to Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom, Narendra Modi of India, Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico, Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, Donald Trump of the USA, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Vladimir Putin of Russia, and Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow of Turkmenistan, for using the Covid-19 viral pandemic to teach the world that politicians can have a more immediate effect on life and death than scientists and doctors can.