Suchitra Sen Dies: Legendary Bengali, Hindi Actress Was 82

Friday, 17 Jan 2014 12:18 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Suchitra Sen, the legendary actress of Bengali and Hindi cinema, died from cardiac arrest Friday. She was 82.

Known for her many memorable roles in both Bengali-language and Hindi Bollywood films, Sen had been hospitalized in Kolkata more than three weeks ago, according to her daughter and fellow actress Moon Moon Sen, Reuters reported.

Sen was to be cremated later Friday.


Known for her large expressive eyes, Sen began acting in 1952 and dominated the Bengali film industry in the 1960s and 1970s, giving memorable performances in such films as "Agnipariksha," ''Devdas" and "Saat Paake Bandha."

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In total, Sen acted in 57 Bengali and seven Hindi films, before retiring in 1978 following the death of her husband, Dibanath Sen, an industrialist. The couple had been married since the late 1940s and had one daughter together.

According to Reuters, Sen shunned public appearances after her retirement from movies and largely lived the life of a hermit, rarely meeting people outside of family members and rarely being seen in public, the BBC reported.

In light of her passing, praise for Sen came in from various parts of Bollywood and the Indian government.

"Her versatility and range of performances mark a unique contribution to Indian cinema, and to Bengali films in particular," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Friday.

"She was a wonder. She was not just a legend," Mamta Banerjee, a West Bengalese state official added.

Amitabh Bachchan, a Bollywood superstar, added that Sen "adorned the film world of Bengal with exquisite performances ... She graced Hindi films too!"

Dev Anand, the late Bollywood star who acted with her, once described Sen as "the doe-eyed, dusky beauty and immensely popular star of Bengal," the BBC noted.

As a result of her acting, Sen was awarded the Banga Bibhushan and Padma Shri – the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India.

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