Thu, 10 Jul 2014 22:15:00 GMT | By PTI

Zohra Sehgal passes away

Grand old lady of Indian cinema Zohra Sehgal dies at 102


Zohra Sehgal passes away (© Getty Images)

New Delhi: Zohra Sehgal, a quintessential Bollywood diva who essayed character roles with aplomb in a career spanning over seven decades in both theatre and cinema, died here today at the age of 102.

A Padma Vibhushan awardee, Sehgal breathed her last at Max hospital here around 4:30 PM.

"She was admitted yesterday and diagnosed with pneumonia. A heart patient, she suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away," a senior doctor at the hospital said.

"She was unwell for last three-four days," daughter Kiran told PTI. Sehgal would be cremated tomorrow at 11 AM 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 d passing away of Zohra Sehgal, a woman who lived a full life on her own terms. Great loss to art and culture. RIP."

Sehgal, a vivacious personality, started her career as a dancer with Uday Shankar in 1935. She had appeared in many Bollywood films as a character actor as well as in English language films besides television series and plays.

Often called the grand old lady of Bollywood, she last appeared in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Saawariya' (with Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor) in 2007. She acted in hits like 'Cheeni Kum' (with Amitabh Bachchan), 'Dil Se' (with Shah Rukh Khan and Manisha Koirala), 'Veer Zaara' (Shah Rukh and Preity Zinta), 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam' (Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai) and 'Bend It Like Beckham'.

Born on April 27, 1912 in Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh in a traditional Muslim family, Sehgal, third of her seven siblings, grew up in Chakrata near Dehradun and was sent to Lahore to pursue her higher education.

As a dancer, she performed across Japan, Egypt, Europe and the US. She married scientist, painter and dancer Kameshwar Sehgal in August 1942. The couple had two children, Kiran and Pavan. Kameshwar died in 1952 and Zohra raised the children all by herself.

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