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Famous Bengali actress Suchitra Sen dies in Kolkata hospital

actress Suchitra Sen passed away on Friday 17th January 2014 Famous Bengali actress Suchitra Sen dies in Kolkata hospital

KOLKATA: Famous actress Suchitra Sen passed away on Friday 17th January 2014 in her hometown of Kolkata at the age of 83years.

Suchitra Sen suffered a heart attack following a prolonged illness for which she had been in Kolkata hospital. Sen had been admitted to a hospital in the city last month with a chest infection and her condition worsened on Thursday night. She works in more than 60 films. Suchitra Sen was considered the Greta Garbo of Bengali cinema. 

She was admitted to Belle Vue Clinic on December 23 with severe lung infection.

During the past 26 days, she has been often in and out of the danger zone. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee visited her seven times over the past few days.

Suchitra Sen had starred in excellent Hindi films like ‘Devdas’, and ‘Aandhi’ and ‘Saat Paake Bandha’, ‘Agnipariksha’, ‘Saptapadi’ and ‘Deep Jwele Jai’ in Bengali.

Suchitra Sen did not desire to be an actor, she was forced to. The story goes that egged on by her husband Dibanath Sen, when she finally took the plunge, she was rejected. Perhaps, that’s what fired her ambition.

And for the next two decades, she dominated Bengali cinema with her mesmerising smile, dignified bearing and wide repertoire. It was not an easy task, given that her contemporaries — Sabitri Chatterjee and Supriya Devi to name a few — were extremely versatile, each with their own distinctive appeal.

But Suchitra Sen was undoubtedly the queen of the box-office. People loved her pairing with the lead actor of the time, Uttam Kumar. Together they acted in one iconic film after another: Sare Chuattor, Saptapadi, Harano Shur, Pothe Holo Deri, Agnipariksha…

She refused roles offered by two stalwarts of Indian cinema, Satyajit Ray and Raj Kapoor. The first, because Ray wanted her to act exclusively in his film and she didn’t want to disappoint the directors who made her the star that she was.

The second, because she was annoyed with the manner in which Kapoor had approached her. It is said Kapoor sat on the floor near her foot, when he came to meet her at her Kolkata residence, and presented her with a bouquet of roses while offering the lead role. She also instructed producers that her name should appear before Uttam Kumar’s in film posters.

“Suchitra could create an illusion of defiance without actually interrogating the patriarchal norms,” said film academic Sanjay Mukhopadhyay, who teaches film studies at JadavpurUniversity in Kolkata.

For all her professional success, her marital life was on the rocks, but the consummate actress weaved her experiences into some of the roles she essayed.

She was shooting for Saat Pakey Badha, co-starring Soumitra Chatterjee in 1963, when her married life was going through its worst phase. But, she gave her best in this film and went on to win the best actress award for her role at the Moscow film festival. She was the first Indian actress to win an international award.

From being someone so widely popular and so very visible, Suchitra Sen went to the other extreme post-retirement. She was never seen at public functions and no photographs of the ageing star appeared in newspapers; no magazine or newspaper ever got an interview. She lived her retired life the way she had worked — completely on her own terms.

“An era has ended,” remarked veteran actress and film director Aparna Sen.

Suchitra Sen Bibliography

Suchitra Sen  was born on 6 April 1931.She is an Indian actress who acted in several Bengali films that mainly concentrated in the regions of Bengal and Bangladesh. In particular, the movies in which she paired opposite another legend in Bengali films,Uttam Kumar, became classics in the history of Bengali cinema. She now lives a life of a recluse rarely making any public appearances. When she left movies, she was slowly but steadily losing the position of leading lady of Bengali silver screen.

She is the first Bengali actress to be awarded at an international film festival (Best Actress award for Saat Paake Bandha in the 1963 Moscow film festival). She was awarded the Padma Shri in 1972 by Government of India. Notably, she allegedly refused the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2005, preferring to stay out of the public eye. In 2012, Sen was conferred West Bengal government`s highest award Banga Bibhushan.

Personal life and education

Sen was born in Pabna in present day Pabna District of Bangladesh. Her father Karunamoy Dasgupta was the headmaster of the local school and her mother Indira Devi was a homemaker. She was their fifth child and third daughter. She had her formal education in Pabna.

She married Dibanath Sen, son of a wealthy Bengali industrialist, Adinath Sen in 1947 and had one daughter,Moon Moon Sen, who is a former actress.

Sen made a successful entry after marriage into Bengali films in 1952 and then a less successful transition to the Bollywood film industry. According to some unconfirmed but persistent reports in the Bengali press, her marriage was severely strained by her success in the film industry.