'Mahanayika' Who Quit Acting At Career's Peak, 36 Years Of Anonymity, Joined Ramakrishna Mission

Meet one of the greatest actresses of Indian cinema, Suchitra Sen, who ruled Bengali and Hindi cinema. However, she quit acting and became a recluse after her husband's death. Here's her story!


By Rishabh Naudiyal Last Updated:


'Mahanayika' Who Quit Acting At Career's Peak, 36 Years Of Anonymity, Joined Ramakrishna Mission

Suchitra Sen was born on April 6, 1931, in Bhanga Bari village of Sirajganj District, Bengal (now in Bangladesh). At the time of her birth, she was given the name Roma Dasgupta by her parents, Korunamoy Dasgupta and Indira Devi. Not everyone is aware of the fact that she was the granddaughter of iconic Bengali poet, Rajanikanta Sen. However, despite not getting any formal training in acting, it's incredible the way she went on to become one of the greatest actresses in the history of Indian cinema.

Suchitra Sen got married at the age of 15 to Dibanath Sen, who was the son of a wealthy industrialist, Adinath Sen

Suchitra Sen completed her schooling at Pabna Government Girls High School, which is one of the oldest schools in the Pabna district in Bangladesh. However, during the partition, Suchitra's family shifted to West Bengal, which was a safe zone for the Hindu community. At the age of 15, she got married to Debanath Sen, who was the son of renowned industrialist, Adinath Sen. The couple tied the knot in 1947, and almost seven years after their wedding, they embraced their first child on March 28, 1954.

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Suchitra Sen and Dibanath Sen's daughter, Moon Moon Sen

At the time of her birth, Suchitra Sen and Dibanath Sen gave the name, Srimati Sen to their daughter. However, later in her life, she took the name, Moon Moon Sen, and due to her illustrious career in Indian cinema, she is still known by the same.

Moon Moon Sen, Raima Sen and Riya Sen

For the unversed, Suchitra Sen's daughter, Moon Moon Sen got married to Bharat Dev Varma, who was a descendant of the erstwhile royal family of Tripura. The couple welcomed two daughters, Raima Sen and Riya Sen. Both followed in their mother's footsteps and became actors.

Suchitra Sen's husband, Dibanath Sen encouraged her to work in films, introduced her to Bimal Roy

In the initial years of their happy married life, Dibanath Sen learnt about his wife, Suchitra Sen's acting talent, and he was completely surprised. The doting husband encouraged Suchitra to work in films and immediately made a decision that gave Indian cinema its 'Mahanayika'.

Due to his wealthy status, Dibanath Sen was in close contact with a lot of celebrities, and one of them was legendary filmmaker, Bimal Roy. After Bimal Roy met Dibanath's wife, Suchitra, the former contacted famous director, Sukumar Dasgupta, who launched her in Bengali cinema with the film, Saat Number Kayedi in 1953.

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Sukumar Dasgupta's assistants gave her the name 'Suchitra'

Suchitra Sen worked opposite Samar Roy in her debut film, Saat Number Kayedi, which was directed by Sukumar Dasgupta. According to a report in The Times Of India, it was during the filming of her debut film, that Sukumar's assistants on the set gave the young actress her iconic screen name 'Suchitra'. After her acting debut in Bengali cinema at the age of 22, Suchitra caught the attention of many filmmakers with her acting skills.

After creating a name for herself in Bengali cinema, Suchitra Sen made her acting debut in Hindi cinema with the film, Devdas. In the coming years, she acted in a series of iconic films like Aandhi, Khamoshi, Musafir, Bombai Ka Baboo, and many more. Courtesy of her incredible contribution to Indian cinema, Suchitra Sen was bestowed with the prestigious Padma Shri award in 1972.

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Suchitra Sen's downfall: Husband's death and failure of her film, Pranay Pasha in 1978

Suchitra Sen was riding high on the professional front, but it was in November 1969, when her husband, Dibanath Sen passed away in a car crash in the US. It was a heartbreaking moment for the actress, as it was Dibanath, who encouraged her to pursue a career in acting.

The actress still worked in a series of films after Dibanath Sen's demise, but as per some reports, the spark in Suchitra Sen's work was reportedly missing. Suchitra featured in 11 films after Dibanath's demise but it was her last film, Pranay Pasha in 1978 that convinced her to bid farewell to the world of glam and glitz. The film flopped at the box office and Suchitra left acting forever.

Suchitra Sen reportedly joined Ramakrishna Mission, locked herself in a room, and lived 36 years in anonymity

Suchitra Sen left acting in 1978, and it was also the last time that people had seen her face. As per multiple reports, she reportedly covered her face with a mask for the rest of her life as she had reportedly joined the Ramakrishna Mission. However, it was never confirmed, and some media reports even speculated that Suchitra was suffering from a skin disease and decided not to show her face to the world. Amidst all the rumours and reports, one thing was permanent, which was Suchitra lived in a single room for the rest of her life.

Suchitra Sen lived 36 years in anonymity and never showed her face to the world. It was a shock for her fans and the entire Indian cinema to see a legendary actress like her living the life of a recluse. Unfortunately, on January 17, 2014, she passed away at the age of 83, due to a heart attack. Suchitra Sen's life is often considered as one of the best examples to describe life's uncertainty, as once a Mahanayika lived a life of anonymity for 36 years and never showed her face.

What are your thoughts on Suchitra Sen's journey? Let us know.

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