So here she goes! They say, all good things must come to an end. Well, I was talking about the legendary actor Suchitra Sen.
For those of us whose youth had unfurled when she was in her prime, Suchitra Sen was the embodiment of romanticism, beauty, desirability and, indeed, womanhood. For us Suchitra Sen & Uttam Kumar were the most stunning thing that happened to Bangla film. And then, all on a sudden Uttam left us. Suchitra made a couple of films pairing with very able actors of that time and then she also decided to depart. She, of course, did not leave life all together but decided to leave life as it were for her. She decided to opt for seclusion.
There are a lot of speculations centering on her this decision. Some are good and the others not so complimentary. But there isn't any debate on the fact that the reason for her being reclusive seemed mysterious to say the least. On her death debates ensued around that mystery. Some of these are scathingly critical and go up as far as to say that she has been dead since 1978, the time that she disappeared from the public gaze. Some others said that she was afraid of increasingly becoming less and less sought after with advancing age. Some said that her beauty was on the wane and that she was not able to reconcile with such hard facts.
I see it slightly differently and I had commented somewhere that it is perhaps best to quit when you have reached the zenith. Perhaps Suchitra Sen had thought it best to close doors when she had reached her prime. Well, since I am not getting any younger, I cannot imagine myself fumbling and fidgeting and then inching towards the wings to get my lines correctly in the role I am acting in. I know this is bound to happen as I grow older and lose control over my faculties. Suchitra may have thought not to succumb to the greed of clinging on to the position she reached by dint of her talent and hard work.
She may have had other pressing reasons for opting to lead a life that she did. As suggested by some, she may had been in love with the thespian Uttam Kumar and quit soon after he died. For a Bengali woman with very Bengali emotions this seems quite likely. As some cultural scribes have suggested she might have given in to the very Bengali emotion called 'Obhiman' and quit acting.
All these may have been there together or any of these singularly could have been the reason for her self-denial. But for a person to regret to receive an award as prestigious as 'Dada Saheb Phalke' and a number of others do not come by dime a dozen. There must have been greater reasons than we are able to think of. Ordinary aberrations as greed or temptation are very difficult to withstand. Suchitra was beyond those. So, let her be.