New Delhi: Zohra Sehgal, grand old lady of Indian cinema, was cremated at New Delhi's Lodhi Road crematorium today. Ms Sehgal died in hospital yesterday at the age of 102.
Ms Sehgal's funeral was attended by family - including her son Pawan, daughter Kiran and grandchildren - and such personalities as former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, celebrity couple Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar, and theatre luminary M K Raina.
Ms Azmi remembered the actress for her vivacious personality. "I worked with her for the first time in a play in 2002. She was around 90-year-old at that time. She was always punctual at the rehearsals. She was thorough professional and always had a smile on her face. She always used to crack jokes," she said.
Javed saab said it was not possible to write the history of 21st century theatre without Zohra Sehgal. "She had contributed a lot to every field where she had worked be it dance, theatre or cinema. She had a cheerful personality," he said.
Ms Dikshit said she had many inspiring memories of Sehgal. "It was hard to describe Zohra Sehgal. She was a great artiste and a very cheerful human being. She had a brilliant memory. Our country will always remember her. She never took anything negatively."
Mr Raina said Sehgal's death marked the end of an era in theatre. "She was punctual and highly professional. She was always prepared with her dialogues. Her presence used to make the environment lively," he said.
Ms Sehgal, who worked till she was over 90, prepared herself for death in typically upbeat manner. Industrialist and politician Naveen Jindal tweeted this quote from her:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>R.I.P Zohra Sehgal. <a href="http://t.co/LnLMOzhVqK">pic.twitter.com/LnLMOzhVqK</a></p>— Naveen Jindal (@MPNaveenJindal) <a href="https://twitter.com/MPNaveenJindal/statuses/487477024982724610">July 11, 2014</a></blockquote>
Zohra Sehgal was born on April 27, 1912 and her career as a performer spanned an incredible 80 years. She started out as a dancer with Uday Shankar's troupe in 1935. She began acting on stage with Prithvi Theatre and made her film debut in 1946, appearing in Dharti Ke Laal and Cannes winner Neecha Nagar.
Ms Sehgal appeared in films like Dil Se, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Bend it Like Beckham and Veer-Zaara. In 2007, she appeared opposite Amitabh Bachchan in Cheeni Kum and opposite Ranbir Kapoor in Saawariya, her final role.
The many awards that Zohra Sehgal received included the Padma Vibhushan.