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Updated: April 27, 2012 01:12 IST

Grand old lady of Indian cinema turns 100 today

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Zohra Sehgal
The Hindu Zohra Sehgal

During past 7 decades, Zohra Sehgal has given spirited performance in theatre and films

Veteran actress Zohra Sehgal, the grand old lady of Indian cinema whose spirited performance in many a film and stage production has entertained audiences during the past seven decades, is turning 100 on Friday.

Sehgal, who has starred in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Dil Se and Cheeni Kum, was last seen in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Saawariya (2007).

She was born on April 27, 1912 at Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, third of her seven siblings — and grew up in Chakrata, now in Uttarakhand (near Dehra Dun). She began her career as a dancer with Uday Shankar in 1935, and performed across Japan, Egypt, Europe and the United States. She married scientist, painter and dancer Kameshwar Sehgal in August 1942. The couple had two children, Kiran and Pavan.

Considered the doyenne of Indian theatre, Sehgal acted with the Indian People's Theatre Association and Prithviraj Kapoor's Prithvi Theatre for 14 years.

She was active in theatre mostly, but also did a few films in between. She choreographed for a few Hindi films as well including Guru Dutt's Baazi (1951) and the dream sequence song in Raj Kapoor's Awaara.

Sehgal moved to London on a drama scholarship in 1962, and appeared there in many TV productions including The Jewel in the Crown, Tandoori Nights and My Beautiful Laundrette.

Returning to India in the mid-1990s, Sehgal acted in several films, plays and TV series.

Her film credits include Masala (1991), Dillagi (1999), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), Bend it Like Beckham (2002) and Veer-Zaara (2004).

Known for her feisty spirit and zest for life, Zohra spread smiles with her roles in Sawaariya and Cheeni Kum even at 94.

Sehgal was awarded the Padma Shri in 1998, the Padma Bhushan (2002) and Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award, in 2010.

In 2008, she was named the ‘Laadli of the Century' by the United Nations Population Fund — Laadli Media Awards.

Incidentally, Sehgal's 100th birthday falls in the year when Indian cinema is also celebrating its completion of a century.

Such a great lady... she proved the talent of INDIA in many countries... All the Indians should be proud of her... and pray god for her good health and her life... she should live another 100 years and prove our talents..

from:  Vinay Kumar
Posted on: Apr 28, 2012 at 07:22 IST

Happy birthday to a wonderful actor who continues to enrich so many

from:  sowmya
Posted on: Apr 28, 2012 at 00:07 IST

A very happy birthday and wishing all the very best!

from:  subrat
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 20:59 IST

wow 100 !!!

Happy Birthday and Thanks for the many laughs over the years

from:  Hemant
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 19:05 IST

Happy Birth Day, Grandma. Have good health and great days

from:  venky
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 17:44 IST

Happy Birth day Zohra inspire millions with your zest for

from:  Rohin
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 16:53 IST

Hearty congratulations to centurion Zohra Sehgal.

from:  Dr.Cajetan Coelho
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 15:57 IST

Inspiring life. Passion can make one live forever.

from:  Abhinav
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 15:34 IST

Happy Birthday Ma'am!!May god bless you with good health and many more years of good life. Liked you very much in Cheeni Kum. Have a great day with your loved ones.

from:  Geetha Menon
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 13:59 IST

Happy B'day Zohra. She fits perfectly into the image of a lively grand

from:  Naginder Sandhu
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 12:22 IST

She is really great. Hands off to her and I'm big fan of her.I wish you very very Happy and Healthy birthday.I congrats to got awards.

from:  G.Anil Kumar
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 10:27 IST

A veteran actress indeed! Even for someone like me, who has long since forsaken bollywood movies, she is a fond memory as a kind old mother/grandmother on the golden screen.Wishing her the best of health and peace.

from:  Frederick Benny
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 10:06 IST

she is really great .hands off to her and i congtras to her to got awards and from now i am big fan of her.

from:  Nannapeneni Sushmitha
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 08:57 IST

You missed out the film "Chicken Tikka Masala" a UK based movie in which she gave a slendid performance.

from:  Venkat
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 07:28 IST

Sat Sri Akal! Grand Lady, Wish you a Happy and Healthy Birthday, can you belive, my sweetheart was also born on 27th, she is as beautiful as you are, however, she is lot younger than you. May Almighty God give you another century...Admire your work in all the movies I have seen...Wish you all the best...

from:  Sudheer Grover
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 04:34 IST

Hearty Congratulations and Happy Birthday dear Zohra Sehgal - The grand Young lady at 100. You are a Jewel in the Crown and we are proud of you.

from:  Kalidindi Usha
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 02:20 IST

May god bless her with Good Health and Peace of mind.

from:  shankar kare
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 02:14 IST

Kudos to the legend. Long(er) Live Ms Zorah.

from:  Siva
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 01:23 IST
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