• Sunday, April 20, 2014

LIVING WITH THE STARS

In the end, I could only hear her voice

Rafi Hossain

When my mother accompanied me for the first time to Kolkata, one of the things on her 'to-do list' was to meet Suchitra Sen! As if the iconic actor had her doors open for fans to just drop by! When we used to roam the city, from within taxis that hauled us, she would get excited when passing spots she would recognize from Uttam-Suchitra films. To her, Kolkata was a land of fairytale romance where Uttam and Suchitra fell in love again and again. Needless to say, the 'Queen of Hearts' does not meet anybody! Not fans, not journalists. And attempting to meet would be a fool's pursuit. But knowing what it meant to my mother, I gave it a go regardless, and contacted the people I knew in the media trying to find any possible means to get an audience with the icon of Bangla cinema.
I found out that an acquaintance of mine, Kona Bashu Mishra, a career writer and a cine journalist for a short time, knows Suchitra Sen personally. Seeing a small hope of light, I called Konadi. After listening to my request, Konadi apologized saying that she receives such requests daily, and the reason she is still in good terms with Suchitra Sen is because she keeps their interaction private and doesn't entertain such requests from fans. But my mother was relentless. We went to dinner at Konadi's house, and my mother would not stop talking about Suchitra Sen. Seeing my mother's desperation, Konadi could no longer completely dismiss our requests, and said she will let us know if anything can be done.
Konadi's first call to the leading lady wasn't fruitful, as expected! But Konadi thought up a creative story about how we had information about Suchitra Sen's birthplace in Pabna, and this helped generate a bit of an interest. She asked to speak to me over phone. Her voice made me nostalgic; I grew reminiscent of the Golden Age of Bangla cinema. Although she didn't agree to meet me, she asked me call her back and seek an appropriate time another day. When I called her back, someone who had exactly her voice but claimed to be her maid (I believe it really was her pretending to be someone else!) asked me to leave a message. In the end, I could only hear her voice! Every time I have been to Kolkata since, I've thought of making a second attempt to meet her! But alas, Suchitra Sen is no more, and I've missed the opportunity to try to meet her…

 

Published: 12:00 am Saturday, January 25, 2014

Last modified: 9:55 pm Saturday, January 25, 2014

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