Zohra Sehgal, a name that symbolizes zest for living and truly truly defines ‘Life’ in short. The unmatched charm she possesses, the animated and most expressive face she has, and the ever-young heart fills the ambiance with joy and happiness.
She was born on April 27, 1912, in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, third of her seven siblings – and grew up in Chakrata, now in Uttarakhand (near Dehradun).She began her career as a dancer with Uday Shankar in 1935 and performed across Japan, Egypt, Europe and the US. She married scientist, painter and dancer Kameshwar Sehgal in August 1942. She was active in theatre mostly, but also did a few films in between. She choreographed for a few Hindi films as well; including Guru Dutt’s Baazi (1951) and the dream sequence song in Raj Kapoor’s film Awaara. Sehgal moved to London on a drama scholarship in 1962, where she appeared in many TV productions including The Jewel in the Crown, Tandoori Nights and My Beautiful Laundrette.
Returning to India in the mid-1990s, Sehgal acted in several films, plays and TV series.
Known for her feisty spirit and zest for life, Zohra spread smiles with her roles in Sawariyaa and Cheeni Kum even at the age of 94.
Sehgal was awarded the Padma Shri in 1998. She was subsequently honoured with the Padma Bhushan (2002) and Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award in 2010.
Incidentally, Sehgal’s 100th birthday comes in the year when Cinema is also celebrating its completion of a century.
There are not many who have the privilege of Amitabh Bachchan pulling a chair for them. Zohra Sehgal is one of those few,” filmmaker R Balki says with a laugh. “Each time Zohraji came on the sets of ‘Cheeni Kum’, Mr Bachchan would stand up, first greet her and then pull a chair for her to sit,” says the adman-turned-director and adds that Sehgal’s mesmerising inner beauty makes her his most favourite woman.
From Prithviraj Kapoor to Raj Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor and Ranbir Kapoor, she has worked with four generations of Bollywood’s famous Kapoor family – and she hasn’t let age dampen her spirit at all.
Please view the three clips attached below to view the mesmerizing personality of Zohra Sehgal.
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