Suchitra Sen’s looks remain a mystery to the end


The legendary actress who ruled Bengali cinema during the 1950s and 60s passed away last night, but her looks since she disappeared from the limelight some 35 years ago remained a mystery to the end. Suchitra Sen is best known for her romantic roles opposite the star Uttam Kumar. Her picture perfect beauty complemented with her talent had given many a gem to the Bengali cinema. Perhaps her legendary good looks prevented her from getting as much credit for her acting. So, it is not surprising that her total withdrawal from the public eye shortly after her last film titled Pronoy pasha opposite Soumitra Chatterjee flopped had created a lot of interest and speculation in the mind of her innumerable fans.

But when Suchitra Sen decided to disappear, she did it in style. For 35 years, only her close family ever saw her. No mother roles, special appearances, reminiscences, inauguration of projects or judging reality shows were for her. It is rumored that she even refused the prestigious Dadashaheb Phalke awards in 2005 as she was not willing to come out in public. The only known picture of Sen during this 35 year long period was a rather blurred photo that was taken when she came out to have her photo taken for her voter identity card.

“We live in a fast-food use and throw culture, aap ka wajood banta hain (your worth is made) by coming into the limelight,” says actor Irrfan Khan at the Jaipur festival. “If your work has real dum (staying power), then you don’t have to keep appearing in the limelight. Suchitra Sen was magical. It’s sad we did not get to see her in the later years.”

Truly, where even ten minutes away from the limelight spells doom, Suchitra Sen managed to hold on to her unique position in the heart of her fans without being seen even once in the last 35 years.

Even after death, the looks of the screen icon remains a mystery. The body was covered in a white cloth and the hearse had black tinted glasses. The body was broght to her Ballygunge residence for a short time, but the public was not allowed to enter. There was tight security everywhere as celebrities of Bengali cinema and numerous other fans as well as Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mrs. Mamata Bannerjee paid their last respects.