An enigma till the end

An enigma till the end

Suchitra Sen managed to leave an impression only few stars could. Not unlike Greta Garbo or Grace Kelly, who later became the Princess of Monaco, she put everything behind her and vanished from the public eye overnight, at the height of her popularity. Sen became an enigma as people continued to talk about her beauty, even more than three decades later.

Sen stayed away from the public, but never from public memory. Even younger audiences talked of her ethereal beauty and performances in films such as Aandhi and Devdas, besides Bengali classics like Saptapadi and Uttar Falguni, a film where she played the dual role of a courtesan mother and her lawyer daughter.

Sen made her debut with Shesh Kothaay in 1952, but the film was never released. The following year, she appeared in Shaarey Chuattar opposite Uttam Kumar. This box-office hit launched the popularity of the Uttam-Suchitra pair. 

With Sen forming a lasting on-screen partnership with Uttam, who is considered the biggest star Bengali cinema has ever produced, their films becoming a genre in themselves. She, however, stood her ground even in films without Uttam.

While Bengali cinema is one long journey of Uttam-Suchitra films, playing out difficult and consummate roles from every nuance of literature and social life in Bengal, Sen’s name became synonymous to that of Uttam. It was probably fitting that Sen made one of her last public appearances in 1980, when Uttam passed away and she visited his house to pay her respects.

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