The 89th birth anniversary of legendary film actress Suchitra Sen passed in silence yesterday as there is strict restriction on public gatherings to check the spread of global pandemic Covid-19.
Ironically, people in general are having an experience, at least for the time being, somewhat similar to that the Pabna-origin great actress had during the later part of her life, spending in mysterious quiet seclusion at home for decades.
Programmes marking the birth anniversary of Suchitra Sen have been cancelled this year due to the spread of Covid-19, Marufa Monjury Khan Soumee, district cultural officer of Pabna, told The Daily Star.
"People love Suchitra Sen and her film. Now is the time to follow, at least for the time being, her living pattern in later part of life, as people need to remain at home for evading the spread of the highly contagious viral disease," she said.
Born on April 6 in 1931 at her maternal grandfather's residence at Bhangabari village in Belkuchi upazila under greater Pabna region, Suchitra Sen grew up in her ancestral house at Gopalpur Hem Sagor Lane in Pabna town, where a memorial museum named 'Suchitra Sen Smriti Sangrahashala' has been set up.
She along with her family members migrated to Kolkata a few months before the partition of India in 1947.
There she was married with Dibanath Sen, son of an wealthy industrialist.
Inspired by her husband and father-in-law, Suchitra Sen joined the film world and made her debut as an actress in Bengali film 'Shesh Kothai' in 1952. Later she performed in at least 63 films including 7 Hindi films till 1978.
With her elegant beauty with enchanting smile and vibrant performance, Suchitra won the hearts of hundreds of thousands of film viewers.
She lost her husband in a road accident in 1969.
From 1978, Suchitra Sen kept herself detached from all the public appearances and contacts. Consequently, the film fraternity and media started comparing her with Greta Garbo, the mysterious Hollywood star.
In 2005, Suchitra Sen was offered India's prestigious cinematic prize Dadasaheb Phalke Award but she refused it, apparently to avoid public appearance.
On January 17 in 2014, Suchitra Sen died of old age complications at a hospital in Kolkata.
After her death, the Pabna district administration set up a memorial museum at her ancestral house in the town.
"Every year we organize programmes here in memory of the evergreen actress, a pride of the people of Pabna," said Jakir Hossain, president of Suchitra Sen Chalachitra Sangsad.
But the historic house remains closed to public now as no programme has been arranged on the occasion of her birth anniversary this year due to the global spread of Covid-19, he said.