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‘Silent in Sanity, Audible in Madness': Zohra Sehgal Quotes That Will Make You want to Celebrate Life

File image of Zohra Sehgal.

File image of Zohra Sehgal.

A Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awardee, Sehgal acted in several Bollywood films and was a dancer par excellence.

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Buzz Staff

It has been six years since legendary actress Zohra Sehgal passed away. Yet, her voice still resonates through her acting, poetry recitation and of course her story of resilience. A Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awardee, Sehgal acted in several Bollywood films and was a dancer par excellence. She travelled to places like Japan, Egypt, Europe, and the US to perform.

Sehgal featured in Google Doodle on Tuesday. 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. Sehgal moved to London on a drama scholarship in 1962, where she appeared in many TV productions including The Jewel in the Crown, Tandoori Nights, My Beautiful Laundrette and The Raj Quartet.

Sehgal couldn’t see from her left eye since she was just a little over a year old. It was due to glaucoma she got which was treated at a hospital in Birmingham. She was diagnosed with cancer in 1994 and she beat that too with sheer will-power.

Her story of determination and dedication inspired many and her words have been as impactful as her performances on screen. Here are some of her quotes which reflect the kind of life she lived, the things she believed in.

-"Life has been tough, but I've been tougher. I beat life at its own game." This quote can truly come from the lady who defeated cancer, did not let her vision problems hinder her goals and the one who raised her children as a single mother.

-"You are seeing me now, when I am old and ugly. You should have seen me then, when I was young and ugly." Wit, humour, sh had it all.

-"Humour and sex! Sex is very important for life to get going. I still want it."

-"Oh, my burqa was of lovely silk and I was so glad I made lovely petticoats out of it." Questioning norms, breaking stereotypes, that is who Zohra Sehgal was.

-"I am preparing myself for death. When I go to sleep, I try to keep myself smiling. So that when I die I have smile on my lips."

-"Life, this endless conversation with yourself. Silent in sanity, audible in madness."

Meanwhile, the special Google Doodle paid tribute to Sehgal on Tuesday. It showed the legendary actress as dancing, and was made by Google guest artist Parvati Pillai. In a note written on its website, Google described Sehgal as "one of the country's first female actors to truly achieve recognition on the international stage."

Sehgal, a quintessential Bollywood diva who essayed character roles with aplomb in a career spanning over seven decades in both theatre and cinema, died in July 2014. Sehgal 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.


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