Kalpana's last role in the Malayalam movie Charlie was a guest appearance, but in the short time she is on screen, Kalpana brilliantly portrays the inner trauma of Queen Mary, an AIDS-infected woman forced into prostitution by her own husband and being treated to a birthday celebration of a lifetime by the lead character Charlie played by Dulquar Salman aboard a fishing boat out in the ocean.
Her very ‚Äúsick‚ÄĚ and life-ravaged appearance but graced with a dignity of its own, her longing to be taken out to sea and her awe-struck face at having her wish fulfilled, her tragic end ‚Ä¶together combine to pull at the heart-strings of even the most hardened viewer.
Reacting to the absolutely unexpected loss, Dulquar posted on his Facebook Page: "Devastated to hear about Kalpana chechi. I've known her since I was a toddler and she would always tell me stories about my childhood. At a loss for words. When we shot the boat scene where Charlie kisses Mary, I remember her being so happy. She kept saying I would never give her kisses as a child."
One of the famed sister trio Urvashi-Kalpana-Kalaranjini who took the South Indian celluloid by storm, Kalpana had actually made her mark on screen as an actor with amazing comic timing.
Her last movie Charlie was hence one of the very few movies where a Malayali is able to view her in a character-role. Veteran actor Innocent has reportedly said that actors like Kalpana had amazing potential to perform in character roles in which she had often taken him by surprise at the sheer depth of emotion she could stir in the hearts of her audience in the few such roles that came her way.
Eerily in the manner where Kalpana -delighting in a handful of Dulquar's kisses- accepts her impending death in the arms of the sea-mother in the movie, she seems to have easily slipped into blissful eternity, leaving a huge void in our hearts which no amount of tributes can ever fill.