Suchitra reported for work at the studio on the very day she arrived in Bombay and restricted her movements to trips between her hotel and the studio until the end of June 1955 when she went back to Calcutta in her brand-new Buick convertible, planning to return about the end of the following month.
Producer-director Bimal Roy is happy about his choice for the female lead in his film. He said, “Before I signed Suchitra Sen for the role of Parvati I had never seen her on the screen. But I had heard so much of her work that I knew she was the girl I wanted. I am fully satisfied with her work in my film.”
Sucilitra. whose reaLname is Rama Sen, was educated at some of Calcutta’s best schools. When she was barely twelve she went to Shantiniketan where she studied for four years. She still vividly remembers the first time she saw Gurudev Tagore. Like many Bengali girls, Rama showed talent in song and dance at Shantiniketan.
In 1947 she married the man with whom, she says, “I had been in love for as long as I can remember.” Their courtship went on for four years before Mr. Sen took the seven steps (“Saptapadi”) with Rama round the ritual fire at the marriage ceremony and made her his wife. They have a four-year-old daughter.
In 1952, Suchitra took part in an amateur stage performance of Tagore’s “Natir Puja.” She did so well in it that several film roles were immediately offered to her. But since Suchitra belonged to an orthodox family, she had to obtain the consent of both her father- in-law and husband to allow her to act in films. This they gave.
Suchitra’s first film assignment was in “Kajri.” She played the heroine and it was a light role. When the film was still on the floors word went round that a new actress was proving unusually good in a comedy part. Suchitra signed another contract. This was to play the heroine in “Saat Number Kaidi.” It was a serious role. Saat Number Kaidi” came to the screen before the other film and a new star was born.
Suchitra went into another comedy part in “Sharey Chuattar,” but in the majority of the twenty films which followed in rapid succession she played serious roles. “I consider my best performance to be in my role in ‘Bhagwan Shri Krishna Chaitanya,’ ” she said. Suchitra also said that its director, Debaki Bose, was her favorite director.
Almost all of Suchitra Sen’s starring vehicles have been outstanding box-office successes, three of them “jubilee” hits. In her Bengali films, she partners Uttam Kumar and theirs is an extremely popular romantic team. Pictures starring them, notably “Agni Pariksha,” have gone over in a big way with the sentiment loving Bengali fans.
Suchitra Sen takes her career seriously and works with sincerity and thoroughness. She is equally serious about her personal life, and never mixes home with the sound- stage. (This article was written in 1955)