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Classic Bengali Ingénue Suchitra Sen Turns 80! 

By MovieTalkies.com, Suchitra Sen

It's a joyous day for the Bengali film industry and indeed classical film lovers all over the country as yesteryear screen goddess Suchitra Sen enters another decade of her illustrious life. (6th April)

She took the nation by an 'Aandhi' when she made her foray into films and soon became one of the best known faces of Bengali cinema. Suchitra Sen, one of the most talented, yet most mysterious actresses, failed to make a smooth transition to B'Town, but stood out for her few powerhouse performances in Hindi films.

The fifth child of Karunamoy and Indira Dasgupta, Suchitra Sen was born in Pabna, now Bangladesh as Roma Dasgupta. At the age of 16, she married Dibanath Sen, son of a wealthy Bengali industrialist. Her only daughter, Moon Moon Sen went to become a popular actress, as did her granddaughters Riya and Raima Sen.

Suchitra was one of the few stars who made their debut on the big screen after getting married. Though her premier project 'Shesh Kothaay' never saw the light of day, her film opposite Uttam Kumar 'Sharey Chuattor' did well at the box office and the lead pair was propelled into fame. Theirs was a partnership that remained unbroken for more than 20 years and they have many a Bengali super hit to their name. She remained popular all through the 1960s and the 1970s and was most famous for her on screen romances and melodramas.

Her portrayal of Paro in her first Hindi movie, Bimal Roy's 'Devdas' opposite Dilip Kumar, earned her a 'Best Actress' Award. Two years later, in 1957, she starred again with Kumar in 'Musafir'.

Sen continued to act even after the death of her husband. She is perhaps best remembered in B'Town for her marvellous performance as the strong willed politician in 'Aandhi'. She even received a Filmfare nomination as 'Best Actress' for her character which was reportedly inspired by Indira Gandhi.

She also received global recognition when she won the 'Best Actress' award at the Moscow Film Festival for 'Saat Paake Bandha' and was the first Indian female actress to receive an international film award.

Extremely selective about the movies she chose, Sen refused Raj Kapoor's offer for a film under RK banner and could not work on Satyajit Ray's 'Devi Chawdhurani' due to date hassles, a film which Ray eventually never made.

After over 25 years in the limelight, Suchitra Sen retired from the film industry in 1978 and continues to live a life of seclusion and devotes her time to the Ramakrishna Mission. Suchitra Sen was deprived of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2005, after she refused to go to New Delhi and personally receive the award from the President of India.

On her 80th birthday, we salute the prima donna of Bengali cinema and wish her much happiness and good health all year round!

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