16 June, 2021

A Shadow And Its Image

Not an eulogy of Sen and refrains from elaborating on the many controversies in which she was involved.

A Shadow And Its Image

Suchitra Sen is incomparable in the context of Bengali cinema and, to an extent, the larger Indian cinema. She commanded a respect in her lifetime which few actres­ses of the era could dream of, got characters written for her, had the box-office at her feet. Yet she could leave all of these and go on an exile in 1978 after Pronay Pasha and didn’t appear in public ever after (apart from probably two occasions) till her death two years ago. This reclusiveness equated her with Greta Garbo—the iconic American star of the 1920-30s.

It is quite a wait for the English reader for a book on the legendary actress. There was a coffee-tabler before this by the same author and one on Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen by Maitr­eyee B. Chowdhury. There are quite a few in Bengali, most of them trivialising her self-imposed reclusion and hinting at gossip. The book by Chatterji, hence, is a relief since it shuns petty sensationalism. Chatterji also disagrees in the first place that Sen can be compared with Garbo “because their reasons were different, they...

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