Suchitra Sen: The hermit-queen of hearts

Suchitra Sen: The hermit-queen of hearts

For four decades, Suchitra Sen stayed away from the public eye and managed to maintain her enigma even in death. Even the last journey and funeral of one of the biggest stars Bengali cinema has ever produced took place far from the public, with only a handful of people able to catch a glimpse.

Besides a clutch of memorable films, both in Bengali and Hindi, Suchitra leaves behind her daughter Moonmoon, along with granddaughters Raima and Riya, all of whom are actors and have carried forward Sen’s legacy, which started when she embarked on her celluloid journey with Shesh Kothaye in 1952. Her last film was Pranay Pasha in 1978. 

Born at Bangladesh’s Pabna region in 1931, she would have turned 84 on April 6. 

Respiratory disorder and a variety of other complications ailed her for some time till she was admitted to a private hospital in Kolkata on December 23. She succumbed to a cardiac arrest at around 8:25 am on Friday.  As per her wishes, the body was carried in a hearse with tinted glass cover and was cremated without people getting a last glimpse of her. While Chief Minster Mamata Banerjee, an avid fan, announced her demise at 8:30 am, the body was first taken to Sen's residence at the posh South Kolkata neighbourhood of Ballygunge. 

The hearse reached the Keoratala crematorium at around 12:30 pm, further south. At around 1 pm, a specially-made sandalwood pyre was lit by Moon Moon, grief-stricken and failing to control her tears.

At around 12:45 pm, Suchitra was given a 21-gun salute on behalf of the state government in the presence of a chosen few from the Bengali film industry, including Suchitra’s yesteryears co-star Biswajit and his son Prasenjit, also a popular star. 

Thousands stood outside the crematorium hoping to catch a last glimpse of one of their favourite star, with balconies and terraces dotted with people.

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