Zohra Sehgal started her career as a dancer with the great Uday Shankar and then went on to work in theatre with the likes of Prithviraj Kapoor before she made an entry into Bollywood. Her mischievous, vivacious personality has charmed many hearts in films like Gurinder Chadha's 'Bhajji On the Beach' and 'Bend It Like Beckham' and Hindi films like Mani Ratnam's 'Dil Se', Balki's 'Cheeni Kum', Yash Raj's 'Veer Zaara', Karan Johar's 'Kal Ho Na Ho' and Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Saawariya'. A true pioneer, she has been felicitated with just about every award in the country like the Padma Shri in 1912, the Kalidas Samman in 2001 and the Sangeet Natak Academy Fellowship for Lifetime Achievement in 2004. The actress has had a colourful, flamboyant past as she was among the few women of her times who was able to cast off the purdah and a conservative way of life by choosing to become a dancer. She learnt modern dancing before she joined Uday Shankar's troupe as a leading lady. Even her marriage was a revolt as she married Kameshwar Segal, a young scientist cum painter cum dancer in Almora, at Uday Shankar's dancing school. She migrated to Pakistan with her husband but came back to Mumbai before the Partition. It was here, in 1945, that she started doing theatre, first with the IPTA and then with Prithviraj Kapoor's, theatre group where her sister Uzra Butt was already a leading actress. She worked in K. A. Abbas's 'Dharti Ke Lal' in 1945 and Chetan Anand's 'Neecha Nagar' in 1946. Both films were critically acclaimed but Anand's film also won the Palm d'Or at the Cannes film festival. She also tried her hand at choreographing with films like Guru Dutt's 'Baazi' and Raj Kapoor's 'Aawara'. After her husband's death, Zohra began her second stint in films. It all began with a role in Merchant Ivory's 'The Courtesans Of Bombay'. English films like 'Tandoori Nights' and 'My Beautiful Laundrette' followed along with the mega TV Serial 'The Jewel In The Crown'. Known as much for wit and wicked humour as her talent, Zohra Sehgal is a true legend.
Date of Birth : 27 April 1912
Place of Birth : Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India