Suchitra Sen, the beautiful goddess who stole the hearts of millions with her enigmatic smile and her exuding elegance left her fans heartbroken when she passed away on January 17, 2014.
The queen of hearts has a long list of admirers and fans in both India and Bangladesh as the enigmatic star was originally hailed from Pabna.
Born on April, 6 in 1931, Suchitra Sen studied in Pabna Govt Girls until class-IX and shifted to India long before the liberation.
Much of Suchitra's endless appeal lay in her persona. She was refreshingly free of the clutches of tradition -- she could be playful, provocative, intelligent, controlled, poised and dignified -- a radical change from the notions of a woman set to patriarchy.
Yet, she was no rebel really. In so many of her roles, she was a giving and a caring person, who excelled as a beloved, friend, sister-in-law, daughter, etc. It is a combination of these two, somewhat, contrasting value systems that made her a classical beauty.
So complete was her hold over the Bengali public and the film industry that she was often referred to as Mrs. Sen, out of awe and admiration.
Suchitra Sen was the second Indian actress to receive an award at an international film festival at the 1963 Moscow International Film Festival. And in 1972, she was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India.
Suchitra Sen-Uttam Kumar: A pair made in heaven
No discussion of Suchitra can be complete without a mention of her legendary pairing with the other great exponent of acting, Uttam Kumar (born Arun Kumar Chatterjee). They were the golden pair of Bengali cinema from 1950s till the 1970s. In a career spanning close to 25 years, she acted in 60 films, of which 30 were with Uttam Kumar.
Suchitra went on to work in many films that didn't feature them together. One of her best-known roles as an actor remains in the film Deep Jwele Jaai (1959), directed by Asit Sen, where she plays a hospital nurse who is required to develop a personal relationship with male patients as part of their therapy. The film was remade in Hindi as Khamoshi with Wadeeha Rehman as the lead and is considered an all-time classic.
Suchitra Sen's Hindi avatar
Suchitra is synonymous with the songs of Aandhi (1975). Paired with Sanjeev Kumar, this Gulzar directed film has survived the test of time. However, Aandhi was not her only claim to fame in Mumbai. Who can forget her as Paro in Dilip Kumar starrer Devdas, directed by Bimal Roy? Of all the versions of Devdas there are (including films by Pramathesh Barua and now Sanjay Leela Bhansali), the Bimal Roy film remains the finest film adaptation of Saratchandra Chatterjee's timeless classic.
And while Suchitra appeared in films Bombai Ka Babu (in 1960 with Dev Anand) and Mamta (in 1966 with Dharmendra), she could not repeat the success of her Bengali films.
In the late 1970s, after her film Pronoy Pasha flopped, she disappeared from films (and society at large) for good and shunned limelight completely. She dedicated the rest of her life to Ramakrishna Mission, even refusing Dadasaheb Phalke award!