Suchitra Sen may not have become the legend that she is in Bengali cinema, but she brought to Hindi filmdom grace, subtlety, and understatement. Though she had an all-too-brief career in Hindi film industry, the few films that she acted in are all remembered for her outstanding performance.
Born Roma Sen, Suchitra Sen’s first film made in 1952, Shesh Kothai was never released. But Sharey Chuattar, her second film (made in 1953), won her both critics’ praise and audiences’ heart. It also marked the beginning of her on-screen partnership with Uttam Kumar that was to last over 20 years and immortalize the duo as one of the most romantic pairs of Bengali cinema.
Bimal Roy introduced Sen into Hindi cinema. Her melancholic beauty made her the perfect Paro for his 1955 rendition of the tragic love story, Devdas. Sen did several other films, but the success that she enjoyed in her home State eluded her in Bombay. In 1966, however, came Asit Sen’s Mamta, the remake of the Bengali film Uttar Falguni. Suchitra Sen’s portrayal of the twin roles of a courtesan mother and a lawyer daughter won her the Best Actress Award at the Moscow International Film Festival. But it was Gulzar’s Aandhi that became Sen’s biggest hit. She played a vulnerable yet ambitious woman who leaves her home and her husband to become a political leader.
Long retired from acting, Suchitra Sen now lives in Kolkata.