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Zohra Sehgal Google Doodle: Lesser Known Facts About Late Legendary Actress

Zohra Sehgal

Zohra Sehgal

Google on Tuesday celebrated the work of iconic actress and dancer Zohra Sehgal.

Google on Tuesday celebrated the work of iconic actress and dancer Zohra Sehgal. To commemorate the legendary stage artiste, Google remembered her with a special doodle. The illustration created by Google guest artist Parvati Pillai shows Sehgal dancing. Sehgal was born on April 27, 1912, in Saharanpur. She breathed her last in New Delhi. She was 102 at the time of her death.

Sehgal was bestowed with the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan, in addition to several other honourable accolades. Stating the reason for paying homage to the doyen of Hindi cinema, Pilliai asserted that Sehgal lived her life to the fullest, overcoming every stereotype with her sheer tenacity from a very tender age. Pillai further adds, "In today’s challenging times, it is important to be optimistic and keep smiling.”

To honour Zohra Sehgal, here’s looking at some of the lesser-known facts about her:

- Sehgal during her childhood was an absolute tomboy. She ditched playing with dolls that girls her age would love to. Instead, Sehgal enjoyed activities like climbing trees and outdoor games.

- Sehgal lost her mother at a very young age. She joined the college in Lahore as it was her mother’s last wish before she died. Joining the college meant following the “purdah system,” and Sehgal started wearing a “burqa” just for her mother.

- She completed her graduation from Queen Mary's Girls College. After, that she joined famous dancer and choreographer Uday Shankar’s dance troupe. Shankar had been Sehgal’s childhood inspiration and once he took her as a lead in his troupe, she travelled across Japan, Egypt, Europe, and the US and many other parts of the world.

-Sehgal was married to a scientist and a painter Kameshwar Sehgal. Interestingly, they met after Sehgal joined Shankar’s troupe as Kameshwar was a one of the co-dancers then. They fell in love but faced immense opposition from families on religious grounds. Finally, after much opposition, they tied the knot in August 1942.

- Sehgal was an atheist and Kameshwar was also not a believer of any religion. Therefore, their children never deliberated themselves as Hindu or Muslim.

- Sehgal worked with almost four generations of Bollywood's well known Kapoor clan - from Prithviraj to Raj, and Rishi to Ranbir, she worked with all of them. Also Ranbir Kapoor’s debut film Saawariya marked Sehgal’s last film.

- It is known that Sehgal never denied a single role offered to her. She often said that if she got a bad role, she would take it up and work on it.

- 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 career’s second film brought to her with association with Prithvi theatre was titled Neecha Nagar.” It was the first Indian film to gain international recognition all the way, winning the coveted Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in the year 1946.

- Sehgal featured in an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's The Rescue of Pluffles in the 60s. Sehgal was finally spotted in the 1980s when she signed her first contract with Merchant Ivory Productions. It gave her works like The Jewel in the Crown, My Beautiful Launderette, Tandoori Nights and Never Say Die.


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