Shriram Lagoo

On this date in 1927, Dr. Shriram Lagoo, acting luminary and rationalist, was born in Satara district, India. He was one of the giants of modern Indian theater and appeared in over 250 movies, including “Gandhi.” 

Lagoo was a medical doctor by training (an ENT specialist) and practiced for a number of years in India and Tanzania before the lure of acting proved to be irresistible. After proving his mettle in Marathi-language theater, he transitioned to cinema, regaling filmgoers for decades with character roles in mainstream and offbeat films (including Gandhi’s mentor Gopal Krishna Gokhale in the Oscar-winning biopic).

He received several awards for his contribution to cinema and stage, such as the Padma Shri, a top Indian government honor, and the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the film “Gharaonda” (The Nest). His 2011 autobiography was humbly titled Lamaan (Carrier of Goods).

Lagoo was an outspoken rationalist and was closely associated with the Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (a group that FFRF honored in 2019 with the Avijit Roy Courage Award). Fellow acting legend and freethinker Amol Palekar said of his friend, “He was an avowed atheist and despite enduring unending criticism, he had the guts to declare ‘Let God be retired’ on a public platform. … He suffered censure, but he stood firmly by his principles and views.” 

Lagoo’s wife, Deepa Lagoo, is also a renowned actress. They had two sons and a daughter. On the untimely death of his son Tanveer, Lagoo instituted in his honor the Tanveer Samman, annually given to an outstanding theater personality. Lagoo was accorded a state funeral when he died at age 92. D. 2019.

Freedom From Religion Foundation