Entertainment News

  • 11 July 2014, 12:36

Grande Dame Of Bollywood Dies Aged 102

The so-called grande dame of Bollywood, whose theatre, film, dance and television career spanned seven decades, has died aged 102.

Zohra Sehgal's daughter Kiran told the Press Trust of India that her mother had been ill for a few days and died of a cardiac arrest in New Delhi on Thursday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led tributes to the star, who was born in northern India in April 1912, describing her on Twitter as "prolific & full of life".

"Zohra Sehgal made a mark through her acting, which is admired across generations. Saddened on her demise," he wrote.

Sehgal began work as a dancer in the 1930s before moving to acting, becoming known as the doyenne of Indian theatre, although she also won fans through her various roles in Hindi and English-language films and TV series over the years.

Her film debut came in the 1946 movie Dharti Ke Lal (Son of the Soil). After winning a drama scholarship in 1962, she moved to Britain.

In her memoir she told of how, after finishing her scholarship, she scraped by as a dresser in London's green rooms and even managed to educate her children there.

But her fortunes turned when she landed significant roles in British productions such as the landmark 1980s series The Jewel in the Crown, and the film My Beautiful Laundrette.

Sehgal returned to India in the 1990s at the age of 80 and continued acting until the age of 95.

Her last film role came in 2007 in Cheeni Kum (Less Sugar), in which she acted alongside Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan as his mother.

"What a journey and what an immensely loveable co-star! Prayers for her blessed soul!!" Bachchan wrote on Twitter.

Stars Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra were among others who paid tribute.

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