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Suchitra Sen dies in Kolkata, cremated

Posted on Jan 17 2014 | IBNS

Kolkata, Jan 17 : Curtains came down on an era in Bengali cinema as the iconic and enigmatic Bengali actress Suchitra Sen, who remained away from public life for nearly three and half decades, died on Friday in a Kolkata hospital. She was 83.

After a gun salute, she was cremated at the Keoratala burning ground on a sandalwood pyre in the presence of her daughter Moonmoon Sen, grand daughters Raima and Riya Sen, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and some noted film personalities like actors Prosenjit and Dev.

Daughter Moonmoon Sen lit the pyre at around 1-45 pm.

"At around 8-25 am in the morning she died from a cardiac arrest. I think her death is very sad news for us. It is a big loss and a day of great sorrow. We are devastated. She wanted her last rites peacefully. I want your cooperation so that she can be cremated without any problem," said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after reaching the hospital.

"She was a wonder. She was not just a legend. She could keep herself away from limelight like this," said Banerjee.

Sen, whom almost none had seen for decades after she retired from films in 1978, was admitted to Belle Vue Clinic in Kolkata with respiratory tract infection on Dec 24.

Suchitra Sen, who had acted in several Bollywood movies too opposite actors like Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Sanjeev Kumar, had regaled Bengali audience for decades with his romantic pairing with Uttam Kumar.

She was awarded the Padma Shri in 1972. She had reportedly refused India's highest film award Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2005, since accepting the award would have meant appearing in public to collect it.

Suchitra Sen's daughter Moonmoon Sen and her grand daughters Raima and Riya are all actors.

Born in Pabna in Bangladesh on April 6, 1931 in undivided India, Suchitra Sen was Rama Dasgupta and after marriage Rama Sen. After joining films she was given the screen name Suchitra Sen.

The Garbosque life of more than three decades and half has only mystified the aura around Suchitra Sen. As the screen goddess of Bengali cinema whom India remembers for her Bollywood roles in films like Devdas, Bombai ka Babu and Aandhi had begun her career in 1953 with the film Saat Number Kayedi though another film in which she acted in 1952 was never released.

Bengali film audience will always remember her for many roles with Uttam Kumar including in films like Saptapadi, Sagarika and Pathe Holo Deri.

She got international award too in Moscow for her role in the 1963 film Saath Pake Badha opposite Soumitra Chatterjee.

The film world mourned her death and remembered her as a defining actress of Indian cinema.

Bollywood actress Moushumi Chatterjee, who had begun her career in Tollywood, said one cannot express Suchitra Sen in words.

"Whatever the heroines of today say about their names and roles appearing above heroes in the industry, Suchitra Sen had done it then for the first time. Till we live, she will live in us."

Actress-filmmaker Aparna Sen said: "It is the end of an era."

Actress Sridevi tweeted: "Actor par excellence, a divine beauty, a legend, an icon who will inspire generations to come."

Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan tweeted: "Suchitra Sen .. beauty, talent, enigmatic - she adorned film world of Bengal with exquisite performances .. graced Hindi films too ! Talent and grace personified!"

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