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Posted: 16 years ago

Suchitra Sen- One of the greatest actresses of Bollywood and Tollywood.


By: Souvik Chatterji

Master of Law from Warwick University, Coventry,UK

Master of Law from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Address: Golden Oak Apartment, Flat-204,

D105B, Devi Marg, Bani park,


Email: [email protected]


  Suchitra Sen can be considered as one of the most glamourous actresses ever to appear in Indian Celluloid. Rama Sen, born on 6th April, 1931, better known as Suchitra Sen, can be considered as the greatest actresses who had remained sublime in her immortal performances. She started her career in the Bengali film Saat Number Qoidi, meaning Prisoner No. 7 in early 50s. She stormed into the Bengali silverscreen by forming successful combination with Uttam Kumar in the film Sare Chuattor, 1953. Her combination with Sandhya Mukherjee and Geeta Dutt, had provided a golden age glorified with melodious romantic songs.


 In the mean time, her poetic eyes persuaded Bimal Roy to cast her opposite Tragedy King Dilip Kumar, in the film Devdas in 1955. She brought out both the affection and submissiveness possessed by Bengali housewives in the 30s and 40s in the role of Parbati and done justice to Sarat Chandra Chatterjee's epic novel Devdas, which is even remade today, with Aiswariya Rai acting in the role of Suchitra Sen. She got offer to act in hindi films like Champakali opposite Bharat Bhushan, Musafir opposite Dilip Kumar and Bombai Ka Babu opposite Dev Anand.


While performing in a number of successful hindi films, she dominated the Bengali silver screen by providing golden jubilees one after the other, in Pathe Holo Deri, Chawa Pawa, Indrani, etc. In Harano Sur (Missing tune), in 1957, she acted in the role of a doctor who treated the patient Uttam Kumar, who lost his memory and could not even recognise her as her wife. She worked in the house of Uttam Kumar as governess of his brother's daughter and struggled to bring back his memory by singing the missing tune. Suchitra Sen blended her romantic appeal, with the softness and humbleness possessed by women at that period of time and won all the sympathy of the audience with her everlasting performance.


In Deep Jele Jai, 1959, Suchitra Sen played the role of a nurse who acted as the girlfriend of people suffering from psychological shock due to unsuccessful affair. Day after day, she had to do the acting and a time came when she became a patient herself. Her outburst at the end of the film saying "I never acted, I never knew how to act" created unrest in the cinema halls. Wahida Rehman, took up the challenge in the hindi film Khamoshi, 1969, but she too, being a classic actress, could not bring out the feeling of the frustrated nurse, the way Suchitra Sen had done. In Saptapadi, 1961, her performance, in the role of Rina Brown, an anglo-Indian who gets involved in an affair with Bengali Brahmin played by Uttam Kumar, and sacrificed her love on the request of his father (played by Chabi Biswas). Unfortunately, Uttam Kumar, embraced Christianity and devoted his life as a doctor who treated patients suffering the after mirth of Second World War. Ajoy Kar's cine-classic was glorified by powerful dialogue delivery and unmatched performance of Suchitra Sen.


Her performance in Saat Pake Badha, 1963, where she played the role of an affluent Bengali who married a middle class academician, commanded respect, sympathy and tears in the eyes of compassionate film-lovers. The over interference of her mother in the household affairs of her family, irritated her husband, and her effort to show adjustment and sacrifice went in vain as the bond ended with her husband leaving the city. She received the best actress award in the Moscow Film Festival in that year, for showing the depth of understanding the complex character depicted by the novelist. Jaya Bacchan was inspired by her performance when she acted in hindi version of the same film titled Kora Kagaz, 1974.


 Her performance in a double role in the film Uttar Falguni, 1963, and Mamta (the hindi version of the same film), 1966, can be considered as the best performance ever given in a subject related to a bond of mother and a daughter. She being a victim of ill-treatment from her husband and under compulsion became a tawaif who sacrificed her life to make her daughter a barrister who pleaded in Calcutta High Court in a murder case, where her mother had killed the cruel husband who wanted to destroy the life of the daughter. She got involved in the role of both the tawaif and the barrister with such elegance that the director Asit Sen, got mixed up with the feeling that two separate actresses were playing the two roles.


Gulzar, in his interview before the media said that he could not get a more dignified appearance in any other actress who could play the role in the film Aandhi, the way Suchitra Sen had acted in 1975. She was a politician who got cornered by opposition due to the policies she had taken, impersonating the period when Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, faced the consequences of declaring emergency in mid-70s. She not only brought out the feelings of a loner but also matched Sanjeev Kumar in personality who was considerate and compassionate towards his wife. Suchitra Sen stopped acting in 1978, and was not seen performing in celluloid or television channels. May be eternal silence had increased the respect and honour for her numerous admirers in the country, although her granddaughters Raima Sen and Riya Sen are involved in a number of bollywood films these days. Suchitra Sen's films should be preserved and restored in an archive to inspire new actresses to blend softness, personality, compassion in the characters the way Suchitra Sen had done in Bollywood and Tollywood films.



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