Zohra Sehgal, Always and Forever

Updated: July 10, 2014 23:52 IST

Actress and dancer Zohra Sehgal died in New Delhi on July 10 at the age of 102. Ahead, a look at the extraordinary life and career of the grand old lady of Indian cinema.

Zohra Sehgal, Always and Forever
Actress and dancer Zohra Sehgal died in New Delhi on July 10 at the age of 102. Ahead, a look at the extraordinary life and career of the grand old lady of Indian cinema.
Zohra Sehgal, Always and Forever
Born Sahibzadi Zohra Begum Mumtaz-ullah Khan on April 27, 1912, Ms Sehgal was one of seven children and grew up near Dehradun. She was sent to Lahore's Queen Mary College and, after graduating, picked career over marriage.
Zohra Sehgal, Always and Forever
Young Zohra's uncle in Edinburgh arranged an apprenticeship under a British actor. Ms Sehgal made it from Lahore to Europe by car and boat, crossing Iran, Syria, Damascus and Egypt. In Europe, she was admitted to a school of ballet in Dresden despite never having danced before. She was the first Indian at the school.
Zohra Sehgal, Always and Forever
It was in Dresden, where she lived for the next three years, that she saw a performance by Uday Shankar's dance troupe and was promised a job with him. The job materialised in 1935 after Mr Shankar sent her a telegram asking her to join his troupe on a tour of Japan. Over the next eight years, Zohra Sehgal performed across the world as one of the principal dancers of the troupe.
Zohra Sehgal, Always and Forever
In 1940, she became a teacher at Uday Shankar's institute in Almora. Here, she met and fell in love with scientist and dancer Kameshwar Sehgal. Her parents objected but ultimately gave the couple their blessing and they were married in 1942. Mr and Mrs Sehgal had two children together.
Zohra Sehgal, Always and Forever
In the uncertain days before the Partition, the Sehgals moved to Mumbai. In 1945, Zohra Sehgal joined the Prithvi Theatre and toured with them for 14 years.
Zohra Sehgal, Always and Forever
She made her film debut in 1946, appearing first in Dharti Ke Lal and then in Chetan Anand's Neecha Nagar which won top prize at Cannes.
Zohra Sehgal, Always and Forever
Zohra Sehgal co-starred with some of the best known actors from India and abroad. In 1998's Dil Se, she appeared with Shah Rukh Khan, Manisha Koirala and Preity Zinta. She re-united with SRK and Preity in 2004's Veer-Zaara.
Zohra Sehgal, Always and Forever
She appeared with Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai in 1999 hit Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.
Zohra Sehgal, Always and Forever
Zohra Sehgal played Amitabh Bachchan's mother in 2007's Cheeni Kum, also starring Tabu.
Zohra Sehgal, Always and Forever
In 1993, she appeared with a cast of unknowns in Gurinder Chadha's breakout film Bhaji on the Beach.
Zohra Sehgal, Always and Forever
Gurinder Chadha directed her again in 2002's Bend It Like Beckham, co-starring Keira Knightley, Jonathon Rhys-Meyers and Parminder Nagra.
Zohra Sehgal, Always and Forever
In 2005, Zohra Sehgal appeared in Mistress of Spices, directed by Gurinder Chadha's husband Paul Mayeda Berges, opposite Aishwarya Rai, her co-star from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.
Zohra Sehgal, Always and Forever
Ms Sehgal was over 90 when she made her final film appearance in Saawariya, opposite Ranbir Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor and Rani Mukerji, in November 2007. Salman Khan, her Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam co-star, made a special appearance in the film.
Zohra Sehgal, Always and Forever
Among the many honours that Ms Sehgal won were three of India's four civilian awards - the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan.

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