Zohra Sehgal: Meet Bollywood’s favourite Dadi from Pathan family

Zohra Sehgal was an artist who always possessed an inexplicable zest for life

Mumbai: Born in a Muslim family on 27 April 1912 in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh, Zohra Sehgal is a well-known name in Indian cinema. She was an artist who always possessed an inexplicable zest for life.

Zohra Sehgal is known for living her life on her own terms, breaking away from the chains which bound the average woman of her time and social position. She was of rebellious temperament since childhood.

Sehgal appeared in several British films, television shows, and Bollywood productions in a career that spanned over six decades.

Zohra Sehgal real name and family background

Although Zohra’s real name was Sahibzadi Zohra Mumtazullah Khan Begum, but after marriage her name became Zohra Sehgal. She was born to Mumtazullah Khan and Natiqua Begum in an aristocratic Rohilla Pathan family and was the seventh child of her parents. Following the death of her mother at an early age, Zohra and her sisters were enrolled at the Queen Mary College, Lahore.

Zohra and Kameshwar Sehgal’s love story

Once in childhood, Zohra Sehgal saw Uday Shankar performing the dance. This was the turning point of her life. After graduation, Zohra participated in Uday Shankar’s dance troupe. She performed the first dance in Japan with the dance troupe of Uday Shankar in 1935. It was there that she met Kameshwar Sehgal. After a few meetings, the two fell in love with each other. Kameshwar was eight years younger than Zohra in age, but his love saw no age limit.

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At first, Zohra’s family refused to marry him, but later they agreed. They were married on 14 August 1942 in Allahabad. Kameshwar and Zohra Sehgal had two children; Kiran Sehgal, who is an Odissi dancer and Pavan Sehgal, who works for the WHO.

Awards and recognitions

Recognising her contribution to the world of arts, the actress had been honoured with the following: Padma Shri (1998), the Kalidas Samman (2001), and the Padma Vibhushan (2010).

When Zohra was diagnosed with cancer…

In 1994, Zohra Sehgal was diagnosed with cancer. She also underwent a knee transplant. After returning to India in the mid 90s, Zohra Seghal acted in several films and TV shows. Her films include Bend it like Beckham, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Dil Se, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Veer Zaara, and Saawariya. Not only this, she even worked in several English films and popular TV productions such as My Beautiful Launderette and Tandoori Nights.

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When she left us..

Zohra Sehgal who is best remembered for her jovial nature passed away, at a ripe old age of 102, in 2014 but her trademark humour was always in place.

Zohra Sehgal loved to be at the centre of attention, and always entertained. She could talk about anything. She was a great storyteller and wrote two memoirs (one with Joan Landy Erdman).

Google Doodle remember Zohra Sehgal

Google dedicated a doodle in memory of veteran actor and dancer Zohra Sehgal on Tuesday on the anniversary of the release of her 1946 film, Neecha Nagar. On this day, the film released at the Cannes International Film Festival.

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