Posts Tagged ‘bengali cinema’

Suchitra Sen (1931-2014) Dies at 83

January 17, 2014

Suchitra Sen: Iconic Indian Bengali actress dies

Veteran Indian actress Suchitra Sen or Rama Dasgupta died in the eastern city of Calcutta, aged 82. He was born in Pabna, Bangladesh.Sen had been admitted to a hospital in the city last month with a chest infection and her condition worsened on Thursday night, doctors said.

Known as the Greta Garbo of India for leading a reclusive life after she left films, Sen was an iconic star of regional Bengali cinema.

She also acted in a number of Bollywood films such as Devdas and Aandhi.

Sen teamed up with Bengali star Uttam Kumar to form a popular pair that delivered a series of hits in Bengali cinema for over two decades.

But she quit films in 1978 and led a hermit-like existence, reportedly refusing to meet people outside her own family. She had not been seen in public or photographed in the past three decades.

‘Redefining stardom’

“As one half of one of Indian cinema’s most popular and abiding screen pairs, Suchitra Sen redefined stardom in a way that few actors have done,” film critic Saibal Chatterjee told the BBC.

Suchitra Sen/File picture

Sen quit films in 1978 and lead a hermit-like life

“While she and Uttam Kumar reigned over Bengali films for over two decades, her Garbo-esque retreat from the public life after her retirement only strengthened her allure.”

Mr Chatterjee said Sen “combined understated sensuality, feminine charm and emotive force and a no-nonsense gravitas to carve out a persona that has never been matched, let alone surpassed in Indian cinema”.

Sen made her debut in 1953 with the hugely popular comedy Share Chuattar (Seventy-four-and-a-half), which was also her first film with Uttam Kumar.

Her performance as a nurse hired by a psychiatrist to develop personal relationships with male patients in the 1959 film Deep Jwele Jaai was hailed as one of her best.

The late Bollywood star Dev Anand, who acted with her, once described Sen as “the doe-eyed, dusky beauty and immensely popular star of Bengal”.

Sen is survived by her actress daughter Moon Moon Sen. Her grand daughters, Riya and Raima Sen, are also actresses.


‘Yes, I was completely nude’

September 17, 2011


Path-breaker PAOLI on why she can do anything for cinema

Paoli Dam has done it — gone nude on screen. The film in question is Sri Lankan director Vimukthi Jayasundara’s controversial Chhatrak (Mushroom in English), which had a red carpet screening at the 64th Cannes International Film Festival.

The ‘inhibition-free’ actress spoke to us over phone from Mumbai where she is now busy with Vikram Bhatt’s erotic drama Hate Story…


Congrats! You’ve raised the bar for Indian actresses with nudity and oral sex in Chhatrak

(Laughs out loud.) It’s nothing new. I mean it may be a new thing in Bengal but then I have always been a trendsetter! I was the first one to declare that I am completely inhibition-free. Later, of course, many other actresses repeated that line! But I have actually done it. Inhibition-free, to me, doesn’t only mean talking about it or sporting a bikini. I have actually dared to do it.

Can you take us through the sequence?

See, it’s a full nude scene and I have done it because I was convinced that the scene is required to take the story forward. It isn’t there just to titillate. Incidentally my character’s name too is Paoli in the film! Now Paoli’s boyfriend (Sudip Mukherjee) lives far away and to fill the vacuum she gets physically involved with a young guy (Anubrata)… and indulges in oral sex!

Were you nude?

Yes, I was completely nude. So was my co-star and in the scene the girl is getting all the pleasure! The scene involves love, sex and pleasure. But I must admit that it was difficult for me.

In what way?

Well, the fact that nobody from Tollywood or Bollywood has ever done something like this and I had no reference point. I didn’t know how to prepare for the scene.

So how did you prepare for it?

I wasn’t confused for too long because I had complete faith in my director. I spent a lot of time with him and we discussed a lot of things, not just the scene but the film as a whole. See, the film is much more than the oral sex scene. It has a political, romantic and social angle. And honestly, I’ve done it only for Vimukthi. If you watch his The Forsaken Land, you will see how well he has blended the bold scenes into the film. That’s the reason why I opted out of Italo Spinelli’s Choli Ke Peechhe because the sex scene there was forced and I was not convinced.

So you are totally comfortable with your body in front of the camera?

Not body, everything is in the mind, you know. Mentally I am very comfortable, because cinema isn’t just a profession for me. It’s a passion. I live cinema. Over the years I have educated myself by watching films of Gong Li, Juliette Binoche, Michael Winterbottom, and I’ve seen how comfortable they (the actresses) are in sex scenes. We don’t wear clothes and make love, do we? Then why should we do that in cinema? Ei nyakamogulo aar koto din (How long will we carry on like this)? Besides, I have always done something distinctive. Being a very traditional girl who grew up in a joint family and had a very good academic record, I could have pursued academics. But it was my mother who encouraged me to take up acting.

Have your parents seen the four-minute video on YouTube?

No, the video was banned on Thursday evening. But I know they wouldn’t mind because they are far more liberal than I am! We live together but each of us in the family— Ma, Baba and Bhai— are very independent. They know my struggles. Being a dusky actress I had to struggle hard because Tollywood still prefers fair-skinned actresses.

And I think it’s high time that the Bengali cine goers mature and learn to behave normally about such scenes because when the same people watch foreign films they are cool with it. If they can accept Kate Winslet nude in the bathtub scene in The Reader then why can’t they accept Paoli Dam nude? I am different and I will always do things differently.

But your core Tolly audience won’t get to see the scene…

That’s because the censor board will not allow it. This particular scene will be available only on DVD. The scene wasn’t there in the Cannes screening either. But like people have seen it on YouTube, I am sure people will see it on DVD. The point is not just watching the scene. It’s not porn, it’s a classic. Down the line, Chhatrak will be considered a cult film.

Will you go nude again for a film?

Depends on who the director is, why the scene is important and whether I am convinced but like I have always said, anything for cinema.

Courtesy: t2