Saluting Suchitra Sen
In 1955 Suchita Sen played Paro in Bimal Roy’s Devdas starring Dilip Kumar in title role and Vyajantimala cast as Chandramukhi. Sen was familiar with Sarat Chandra’s story and the fact that she knew filmmaker Bimal Roy from his New Theatre days in Calcutta made her agree to the project without any fuss.
In 1960 she starred with another superstar of Hindi cinema Dev Anand in a Raj Khosla crime thriller Bombai Ka Babu. This time the Bengali connection was music composer SDBurman. After her tragic portrayal in Devdas this was a refresing role for the actor even now remembered for the naughty rendition of the song ‘Dekhne mein bhola hain…’
Six years later it was time for another Bengali filmmaker to bring the queen of Bengal cinema to Bombay in a lifetime role that spans two generations and double role with two leading heroes of Hindi cinema Ashok Kumar and Dharmendra in Mamta/ 1966. Sen played a village girl forced deceived by destiny till she connects with her beloved many years later who adopts her daughter and makes her a lawyer like him.
In 1975 came her last Hindi film Aandhi. Filmmaker Gulzar had determined that he would not make this film if she disagreed. Sen had refused Gulzar earlier so this time he took his Bengali wife Raakhee to convince the tigress. She did not need much persuasion because by then she was familiar with Gulzar’s work and her role was too tempting to turn it down. This time her hero was another mighty actor, Sanjeev Kumar.
Bhawana Somaaya/ @bhawanasomaaya