Legendary film, theatre and television actress Zohra Sehgal, breathed her last at Max Hospital on July 10th at 4.30pm at the age of 102. After being unwell for last three-four days and died of cardiac arrest in Delhi hospital. She was cremated at Lodhi Road crematorium, the next day.
Born on April 27, 1912 as Sahibzadi Zohra Begum Mumtaz-ullah Khan in Dehradun, Zohra was one of the siblings of the Zohra family. She graduated from Lahore’s Queen Mary College after which her career journey began.
In 1935, she joined Uday Shankar’s dance troupe as a dancer followed by the family’s move to Mumbai just before the Partition of India. In the year 1945, Zohra became associated with Prithvi Theatre and extensively toured with them for more than a decade.
She made her film debut in 1946, appearing first in Dharti Ke Lal and then in Chetan Anand’s Neecha Nagar which won top prize at Cannes Besides television series and plays, she had also appeared in many Bollywood and Hollywood films as a character actor. She resided in New Delhi with her daughter, Kiran Sehgal, a renowned Odissi danseuse. Even as she was detected of cancer in 1994, her indomitable spirit was unshaken.
The talented Sehgal has been a prolific dancer among other things all her life. She is one of those artists who have worked with the Kapoor clan spanning its four generations right from the legendary actor Prithviraj Kapoor to Raj Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor and budding Ranbir Kapoor.
Her memorable performances include ‘Bhaji on the Beach’ (1992), ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’, ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ (2002), ‘Dil Se…’ (1998) and ‘Cheeni Kum’(2007). In all, she acted in 20 films. Her small screen appearance in ‘Amma and Family’ gave her considerable fame and popularity
Her exemplary acting and dancing abilities were well acknowledged by audiences and Government of India. She was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1998, the Kalidas Samman in 2001 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi in 2004. The award Padma Vibhushan was bestowed on her in the year 2010 while a global recognition came in the form of ‘Laadli of the Century’ by the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF)-Laadli Media Awards in the year 2008.