Suchitra Sen has left for her heavenly abode, today.
I had never met the star. Like most of my generation, had seen seen her in films shown on television. Had only heard about the frenzy that she embodied in her prime. Had only learnt of the tales that kept circulating, myth-like, about her star persona, about her mood tantrums, about her being a person of many shades, many dimensions. She lived and breathed the same air as me, here, in the city of Kolkata, and she was far beyond the reach of glamour, gossip and gaiety of the tinsel town. She lived saint-like, having said goodbye to the world of films, far from the maddening public domain. We found it so hard to believe that she could really treat all the adulation, and even the speculations that kept buzzing, indifferently, as if all the glory and all the fame, was from another lifetime, as if it was all about an alter ego of hers.
My father had been a great fan of hers even as a schoolboy, and I remember telling him that I too could feel the palpable magic of hers when I watched her films from the golden era of Bangla cinema. Incidentally, my mother was her namesake (her 'real' name, not the screen name; and paired with the surname post-marriage), which I found to be amusing. My mother even had a glimpse of her from behind when she was waiting at a doctor's chamber (just as Suchitra Sen passed in a huff after consultation, the nurse whispered to my mom her identity)! Some years back, I too remember walking with a friend of mine at odd times near the late star's residence hoping to luckily (read: miraculously) catch a glimpse, as I had heard that she did come out for walks, incognito. But that was just a phase after catching up with films like 'Saptapadi' (the only film of hers that I had seen in an auditorium at a special theatrical screening for charity), 'Devdas', 'Bombai Ka Baboo', and 'Grihadaha'; soon, I came to terms with the reality, and I even found her stance laudable.
She shall always remain in my heart, just as it would be for millions of movie-lovers, across ages, across territories. Hearing of her passing away, so many tributes have pored in from all over, the social-networking sites are a testament to people's love for her. I end my post with borrowed words.... words from a dear fried of mine, Kaustav Bakshi, who says: Very few actresses could have enacted the fulfilment of the consummation of love like Suchitra Sen, who emoted every syllable of every song, in the moonlit night, her coy smile radiating the silver of the droopy moon..... her passionate outbursts for a dying lover.... her total surrender to the man of her dreams.... her gritty exuberance.... her agony of loss.... her repentance for a happy marriage gone terribly wrong.... Suchitra Sen had become the very epitome of romance, and all its associated emotions for an entire generation and thereafter. She became love, or love became her.... it's difficult to tell now.... Her demise has finally drawn the curtains on an era..... Long live Suchitra Sen!"