Legendary Bengali actress Suchitra Sen passes away

Legendary actress Suchitra Sen, known as the Greta Garbo of Bengali cinema and who gave memorable performances in classics like 'Devdas', 'Aandhi' and' Deep Jwele Jai', died of a heart attack today at a hospital here.

Family sources said the screen goddess suffered a massive cardiac arrest at Belle Vue clinic where was admitted since December 23. Doctors tried their best to save her but she passed away at 8.25 am, the sources said.

"I extend greetings ('namaskar') to everybody on behalf of my mother," her actress-daughter Moon Moon Sen said after coming out of the hospital.

The 82-year-old star, who starred in over 60 films, is survived by her only daughter Moon Moon and grand-daughters Riya and Raima, both actresses.

She was being treated at the private Intensive Treatment Unit of the hospital for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and was battling acute breathing difficulties.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who rushed to the hospital after hearing the news, today announced that a gun salute will be accorded to the star at her funeral.

"Her family wants a quiet funeral arrangement for her. We need your cooperation to respect their wish," Banerjee said.

Sen's funeral will take place at Keoratala Crematorium in south Kolkata, she said.

A tribute would also be paid to Sen at Rabindra Sadan, the city's cultural hotspot.

Sen, who has been living the life of a recluse in a south Kolkata apartment for over three decades, starred in memorable Hindi films like 'Devdas', and 'Aandhi' and Bengali films like 'Saat Paake Bandha','Agnipariksha', 'Saptapadi' and 'Deep Jwele Jai'.

The actress formed one of the most successful screen pairings with Uttam Kumar to rule the celluloid from the '50s to '70s.

Sen went on to receive a National Award for her performance in the 1955 Hindi film 'Devdas' and is the first Indian actress to be awarded at an international film festival - best actress award for 'Saat Paake Bandha' in 1963 Moscow film festival.

But after her 1978 movie 'Pronoy Pasha' with Soumitra Chatterjee flopped, she disappeared from the public eye and even allegedly refused the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2005 preferring not to make a public appearance.

The screen goddess of yesteryears was often compared to Hollywood actress Greta Garbo as only a handful of people outside her close circuit had seen her face to face in the last 35 years.

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