Suchitra Sen, an Indian actress who has attained legendary status because of her performances in the Indian cinema, in particular, the movies in which she was paired opposite another legend in Bengali films, Uttam Kumar. Those films are all-time classics in Bengali cinema. She was born as Roma Dasgupta, on April 6, 1931, in Sen Bhanga Bari village of Belkuchi Upazila, now in Sirajgonj District, Greater Pabna. Her father, Karunamoy Dasgupta, was the head master of the local school & her mother's name was Indira Dasgupta. She was their fifth child & third daughter. Roma had formal education in Pabna.
Suchitra made her debut in the films with Shesh Kothai in 1952, but the film was unreleased.The following year saw her act opposite Uttam Kumar in Sharey Chuattor. The film became a box-office hit & it was remembered for launching Uttam-Suchitra as a leading pair. They went on to become the icons for Bengali melodramas for more than 20 years, becoming almost a genre of films.
She received the Best Actress Award for the film Devdas (1955), which was her first Hindi movie. When she left movies, slowly but steadily she started losing the position of the leading lady of Bengali silver screen.She is the first Indian actress to be honoured with an international film festival (Best Actress award for the movie Saat Paake Bandha in 1963 Moscow film festival).
Her films with Uttam Kumar are still shown as re-runs on Bengali television channels such as Aakash Bangla, ETV Bangla, DD7 Bangla, etc. Many of them are available on video CD. She allegedly refused the Dadasaheb Phalke Award (the Indian equivalent of a lifetime Oscar) in 2005, refusing the limelight & preferring to stay out of the public eyes.
In 1947 she married Dibanath Sen, son of a wealthy Bengali industrialist, and had one child, Moon Moon Sen, who followed her mother’s footsteps to become an actress. Her daughter Moonmoon Sen has also acted in a few films, in Hindi & Bengali. Moonmoon Sen's daughters Riya & Raima are also actresses.
Her patented Bengali melodramas & romances, especially, those with Uttam Kumar, made her the most famous Bengali actress ever. Her films ran through the 1960s & the 1970s. Suchitra is well known for her films like Agnipariksha, Harano Sur, Saptapadi, Pathey Holo Deri, Kamal Lata, Indrani, Sabar Upore, Suryatoran, Shaare Chuattor, Sadanander Mela, Jiban Trishna, Ekti Raat, Chaawa Paawa, Shapmochan, Bipasha, Naborag, Trijama, Rajlakshmi Srikanto, Har Mana Har, Alo Amar Alo, Ora Thakey Odhare, Grihaprabesh & more, in which she was paired with Uttam Kumar. Even after her husband passed away, she continued to act in the films, blockbuster hit film Aandhi (1974) is one of them. She played the role of a politician in that movie, supposedly inspired by the India’s first woman Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s life. Suchitra received a Filmfare nomination as Best Actress, while Sanjeev Kumar, who was her husband in the movie, won the Filmfare as the Best Actor.She retired from the screen in 1978 after a career of over 25 years to a life of seclusion. She has avoided the public gaze after her retirement & has devoted her time to the Ramkrishna Mission. Suchitra Sen was a contender for the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2005, provided she was ready to accept it in person. However, her talent couldn’t stay hidden, whether she takes or refuses the award.