Kolkata: Legendary actress Suchitra Sen, who was known as the Greta Garbo of Bengali cinema and had 60 films to her credit including the memorable ‘Aandhi’ and’ Deep Jwele Jai’, today died of a heart attack at a super-speciality hospital here today.
The condition of the 82-year-old screen goddess had deteriorated last evening after which she suffered a massive cardiac arrest leading to her death at 8:25 AM, family sources said.
Sen was admitted to Belle Vue Clinic on December 23 following a respiratory tract infection. Later she was treated in a private Intensive Treatment Unit for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Sen, who has been living the life of a recluse in a south Kolkata apartment, has starred in memorable Hindi films like ‘Devdas’, and ‘Aandhi’ and ‘Saat Paake Bandha’, ‘Agnipariksha’, ‘Saptapadi’ and ‘Deep Jwele Jai’ in Bengali.
The screen goddess of yesteryears, who had been living a life of a recluse, was often compared to Hollywood actress Greta Garbo.
After her 1978 movie ‘Pronoy Pasha’ with Soumitra Chatterjee flopped, Sen quietly left the limelight and even allegedly refused the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2005 preferring not to make a public appearance.
As per her wishes, her family maintained secrecy even when she was hospitalised. The reason behind Sen’s withdrawal from public life remains a mystery.
A follower of the Ramakrishna Mission order, Sen spent her retired life in meditation and prayer. In 1989, when Bharat Maharaj of the mission passed away, she was seen publicly walking all the way to the crematorium from Belur Math near Kolkata.
Her daughter Moon Moon, though a well-known Bengali actress, could never overcome the large shadow that her mother’s beauty and acting prowess cast. Sen’s grand-daughters Riya and Raima have also featured in some Bollywood flicks.
In 1963, Sen became the first Indian actress to be honoured at an international film festival – best actress award for ‘Saat Paake Bandha’ at Moscow film festival.
She was cast opposite matinee idol Uttam Kumar in 30 films from 1953 to 1975. The gossip mills linked Sen to her leading co-stars, Uttam Kumar in particular.
She earned both national and international acclaim for her performances as the quintessential romantic heroine be it in the role of ‘Vishnupriya’ in the fifties, ‘Rina Brown’ in the sixties or ‘Bijaya’ in the seventies.
The actress was born as Rama Dasgupta at Pabna (Bangladesh) in 1931 to Karunamoy and Indira Dasgupta.
Suchitra married Dibanath Sen from an aristocratic family in 1947 before launching a successful acting career. There were rumours that the marriage suffered due to her successful acting career.