Actress Suchitra Sen dead at 82

January 17, 2014

By Sujoy Dhar and Shilpa Jamkhandikar

Actress Suchitra Sen, known for several landmark roles in Bengali and Hindi cinema, died in Kolkata on Friday after prolonged illness. She was 82.

Sen, known as much for her graceful looks and demeanour as her acting prowess, starred in several hits with fellow Bengali actor Uttam Kumar, including “Agni Pariksha” (1954) and “Saptapadi” (1961).

“Suchitra Sen – beauty, talent, enigmatic – she adorned film world of Bengal with exquisite performances … graced Hindi films too,” Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan said in a tweet.

Sen played some memorable roles in Hindi cinema, most notably in “Aandhi” (1975) and “Devdas” (1955).

Her role in “Aandhi”, said to be based on the life of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, earned her accolades.

Sen won a silver award at the Moscow International Film Festival for her role in the 1963 Bengali film “Saat Pake Bandha”, playing a woman caught between her husband and an imposing mother. She was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honour, in 1972.

Sen retired from the movies in 1978 and preferred to stay out of the public eye, drawing comparisons with Hollywood actress Greta Garbo who also lived a very private life till her death.

Journalist Gopal Krishna Roy, a close friend, said the actress had a “loving heart” despite being perceived as moody.

“Many would ask me if she was lonely,” Roy told Reuters. “Well, there are many conjectures, but she once told me ‘I may be lonely but I am not alone.’”

Sen is survived by her daughter, actress Moon Moon Sen. Her granddaughters Raima and Riya are also actresses.

(Edited by David Lalmalsawma and Tony Tharakan; Follow Shilpa on Twitter @shilpajay, David @davidlms25 and Tony @tonytharakan)

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