July 10, 2014

Veteran actress Zohra Sehgal dies at 102

Veteran actress Zohra Sehgal passed away Today (07 July, 2014) in New Delhi at the age of 102 years. Reportedly she passed away at 4 pm today due to old age.

Her full name is Sahibzadi Zohra Begum Mumtaz-ullah Khan, was born on April 27, 1912 in a Sunni Muslim Pathan family in UP. Zohra was the third child among the seven siblings. The jovial lady had lost vision in her left eye just when she was an year old due to glaucoma but this was soon treated.

When she was kid, Zohra was more of a tomboy. She prefers to enjoy climbing trees, instead of playing with dolls and indoor, like most of the girls at her age.

It is said that, Zohra also had a rebellious attitude from childhood. She lost her mother at a very young age.

The actor par excellence loved traveling and was very fond of learning about various cultures and traditions. She traveled across India, West Asia and Europe with her uncle in his car. On her return, she was sent to Lahore's Queen Mary's Girls College, where  her mom wanted Zohra and her sister  to study.

During her childhood, she saw well known dancer and choreographer Uday Shankar performance in Dehradun. She was highly impressed by Uday's act. And this incident became a turning point in her life. Later, she started her career as a dancer in choreographer.

After graduation, in 1935 Zohra joined Uday Shankar's dance troupe and travelled from place to place. Till 1940, she performed with Uday Shankar in Japan, Egypt, Europe and the US.

Later, she also became a teacher at Uday Shankar's troupe. It was here that she met Kameshwar Sehgal, who was 8 years younger to Zohra. Kamleshwar was young scientist, painter and dancer from Indore. They gradually fell in love. After some initial opposition from both the families, they finally tied the knot in August 1942.

Even after marriage, Zohra and Kameshwar continued to be a part of Uday Shankar's dance troupe. It was only after the troupe was finally shut down that they moved back to Lahore.

She has appeared in many Bollywood films as a character actor as well as in English language films and television series.

She will be remembered for her amazing performance in Bhaji on the Beach (1992), Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Bend It Like Beckham (2002), Dil Se (1998) and Cheeni Kum (2007). She last appeared in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Saawariya in 2007.

In 1998 she was honoured with the Padma Shri, following which she received the Kalidas Samman in 2001, and the Sangeet Natak Akademi in 2004.

In 2010, she was bestowed with the Padma Vibhushan. Small parts or big, Zohra continued to spread smiles on the celluloid and will always be remembered as the grand old lady of Indian cinema.

May your soul rest in eternal peace!!..

-K Himaanshu Shukla...



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