Madhabi Mukherjee is one of the most prominent Bengali actresses of the post World War period. She is best known as Ray's most favourite heroine, Charulata, which is widely considered as her best performance. The actor pays tribute to the legendary actress.
Creating a mystique around oneself is difficult, and making it permanent is almost impossible. Very few actresses across the world have managed to keep the craze about their stardom alive even three decades after her last screen appearance.
Undoubtedly, Suchitra Sen mastered the art to perfection. She knew how to create that mystery around herself and how to carry it along with her long after she stepped out of the tinsel world.
Stardom is infectious but she managed to forego everything and lead the life of a recluse. But somehow the craze, the mystery and the enigma will never fade. Even today, we talk about her, her films and her unique sense of style.
When I was young, my friends and I used to watch Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen's films at the theatres. Later when I entered the film industry, I learnt more about her. I may not have had the opportunity to work with her, but I know she inspired actresses from every generation.
I have often saw her in film studios, sometimes we used to work at the same studio though we never worked in the same film. I saw a person holding an umbrella when she walked out of the make-up room. And another one holding it when she entered the floor.
She had her individual style, quite inimitable, and she knew how to maintain it.
Suchitra Sen might have left the film industry and retreated into a shell, but I have heard she keeps contact with her relatives, family and good friends. She even manages to visit the Ramkrishna Mission of which she is a keen disciple and leads a spiritual life.
She put an iron curtain between her life before the camera and after - effortlessly stepping away from one role as it were and entering into the other.
To the Bengali audience Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen represented an on-screen pair whom none can perhaps ever replace. It is difficult to find another parallel in any film industry of the country. They have become an inseparable part of the history of Bengali cinema.