Veteran actress Zohra Sehgal died at 4pm on Thursday in a Delhi hospital. She was 102 years old. In her career spanning almost eight decades, the famous film actress, theatre and TV personality had acted in several Bollywood and Hollywood films. Sehgal lived with her daughter, Odissi danseuse Kiran Sehgal in Delhi.
Born Zohra Begum Mumtazullah Khan, on April 27, 1912, into a traditional family in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, lost vision in her left eye as she contracted glaucoma at the age of one.
Back in 1935, she had started her career as a dancer with Uday Shankar. Popularly known as the ‘grand old lady’ of Indian cinema, she last appeared in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Saawariya in 2007. Sehgal had acted in many Hindi films including Veer-Zara, Saaya, Cheeni-Kum and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam besides Hollywood movies such as The Vengeance of She, Tales that Witness Madness, Never Say Die, Little Napoleons and Bend It Like Beckham among others.
“She was unwell for three-four days,” daughter Kiran said. Sehgal would be cremated on Friday at 11am at the Lodhi Road crematorium.
The news was broken in the night by historian Irfan Habib who tweeted, “Just confirmed that Zohra Aapa is no more...” In another tweet, he said, “Extremely sad to know about the passing away of Zohra Sehgal, a woman who lived a full life on her own terms. Great loss to art and culture. RIP.”
As a dancer, she performed across Japan, Egypt, Europe and the US. She married scientist, painter and dancer Kameshwar Sehgal in 1942.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he was saddened by her demise:
Prolific & full of life, Zohra Sehgal made a mark through her acting, which is admired across generations. Saddened on her demise.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 10, 2014