In life, as in death, Bengal's QUEEN of HEARTS Suchitra Sen, remains an enigma with her dusky, elegant beauty and an enchanting smile which marches into the celluloid like Colossus.
Her vibrant, romantic appearance used to send the audience into a tizzy and her unmatchable performances stole many a million hearts.
Suchitra Sen was born in Pabna, originally in the northern parts of undivided Bengal, and now in Bangladesh, on 6 April. The year of her birth is somewhat clouded because some sources trace it back to 1931 while others say the year was 1934.
This is a part of the mystique that adds to the enigma called Suchitra Sen. She was the fifth among three brothers and five sisters. Her father's name was Karunamoy Dasgupta, and her mother's name was Indira. Her nickname was Krishna. She grew up in distant Pabna, miles away from Bolpur, in Birbhum district, presently in West Bengal, reports Times of India.
Today is the 8th death anniversary of Mayanayika Suchitra Sen.
On her death anniversary, we take a look at the Mahanayika's story of becoming an actress accidentally.
Suchitra Sen became an actress accidentally!
Roma was encouraged by her husband Dibanath Sen to step into films.
The story goes that she was initially offered a singing assignment at a recording studio in Park Street. She was introduced as Roma Sen. But that assignment was shelved in favour of the female lead in a film to be directed by Sukumar Dasgupta, a noted film-maker of the time, reports TOI.
Dasgupta put the actress through a screen test. The film was 'Saat Number Koyedi'. One of his assistants, Nitish Roy, rechristened this new actress Suchitra. In 1952, she signed three more films.
One was 'Kajori', directed by Niren Lahiri; then there was 'Saare Chuattar', directed by Nirmal Dey; and then 'Bhagawan Sri Sri Krishna Chaitanya', directed by Debaki Bose in which Basanta Choudhury made his debut in the title role. Her hero in 'Saat Number Koyedi' was Samar Roy, while in 'Saare Chuattar' it was Uttam Kumar.
The Enigmatic Uttam-Suchitra Pair
For the two decades or so, the celebrated pair Uttam-Suchitra ruled Bengali cinema. Incidentally, among the 60 odd films in which Suchitra Sen appeared, 30 films saw Uttam Kumar as the male lead.
In fact, Uttam soon emerged as the heartthrob of Bengal along with the romantic and melodramatic Suchitra Sen. Their landmark films include 'Saptapadi', 'Shilpi', 'Har Mana Har',' Indrani', 'Chaawa Paawa', 'Shapmochan' and 'Suryatoran' among many others. These cult classics used to enjoy jam-packed cinema halls on a regular basis. During the 50's and 60s, serpentine queues for tickets in advance for Uttam-Suchitra films were a common phenomenon. The unmatchable fandom of this iconic pair set a benchmark in the history of Bengali cinema and it remains unchallenged till today.
Suchitra Sen achieved her first international success in 1963 when she received the Best Actress award for 'Saptapadi' at the Moscow International Film Festival.
She became the first Indian actress to have this honour!
Another of her record-setting movies was 'Uttar Falguni' where she played a double role of courtesan Pannabai and her barrister daughter Suparna.
She was flooded with congratulations and rave reviews for essaying out the stereotypical mother ready to go to any extent to offer her offspring a dignified life.
Although Dibanath Sen had taken all the initiative to launch his wife's film career once, yet her increasing popularity and stardom saw them drift apart.
It was November 1969 when the news came - Dibanath had died in a car accident in the US.
After this disaster Suchitra Sen surprising everyone went into a self-imposed oblivion as she detached herself entirely from all the public appearances and contacts.
Consequently, the film fraternity and media started to compare her with Greta Garbo, the mysterious Hollywood star.
To stick with her obscurity, in 2005 she even refused the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award.
Then it was January 17, 2014 – the day when Suchitra Sen walked into the sunset. Till date, the elusive mystifying queen of Bengali cinema lives on in millions of her fans' hearts.