Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur in conversation with Manoj Bajpayee recently revealed that he spoke with the late actor Heath Ledger, hours before his death. Kapur, who directed Heath Ledger’s 2002 war drama The Four Feathers, opened up about his long conversation with the late actor hours before he died of a drug overdose. The filmmaker said that they were supposed to meet on the day the actor unexpectedly passed away.

“I worked with this fantastic actor called Heath Ledger and I did one of his first films. I was in New York and we were talking about a film we were going to do – The Nine O’Clock War – and he was going to do the lead role in it. We were going to meet,” Shekhar said during an Instagram live with Manoj Bajpayee.

However, their meeting was pushed, as Heath was feeling tired and jet-lagged. “He called me and he said, ‘Shekhar, mind if we don’t meet this evening? I am a little jet-lagged. Let’s meet tomorrow.’ I said okay. He said, ‘Call me at 9.30, just wake me up.’ At 9.30 in the morning, I felt, ‘Oh my God, I shouldn’t really wake him up. He is jet-lagged.’ Around 11.30, the friend I was staying with said, ‘Shekhar, sit down, I have something to tell you. Heath Ledger is dead.’ I said, ‘Hang on, I just spoke to him.’ And he was gone,” Shekhar said.

In 2008, Heath was found dead in his Manhattan apartment, with a bottle of prescription sleeping pills near him. According to the New York City medical examiner’s office, it was a case of accidental drug overdose.

The topic of Heath’s untimely demise came up as Shekhar was discussing Sushant Singh Rajput’s death with Manoj. Manoj expressed his unhappiness with the analysis of the death, saying, “When I see the cacophony around me and people trying to find the reason behind the suicide…everyone has their own theory and we are not talking about the contribution that he has made at such a young age, the journey that he took and where he reached…it is leaving a very bad taste in my mouth.” He added, “Why can’t we celebrate the person that he was?”

Shekhar felt that it was because ‘part of us loves drama’. He said, “Because we are in the movie business and any business that has a high profile, people look for drama. Right now, we are going through the phase where everybody is talking, it is dramatic. I am hoping that the ‘dramaticness’ of it all will go away… We are short-term attention span people. This is what social media has made us. Gone are the days when the mind was settled but hopefully, in Sushant’s case, the mind will settle and when it settles, we will watch his films again and again and we will understand what he brought to this business.”

The filmmaker went on to add that Heath is now remembered for his films, performances and ‘the Joker (The Dark Knight) he played, which will be ever-memorable’.


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