Suchitra Sen’s fans, who had thronged the hospital where she was under treatment, her Ballygunge Circular Road residence where her body was taken for some time, and the Keoratala crematorium where she was finally put to rest, remained disappointed.
Much like her life after movies, Suchitra was not seen even in her death.
She died Friday around 8.25 am of cardiac arrest at Belle Vue Clinic, a private nursing home, where she was admitted on December 24 last year for fatal chest infection. She was 83 and survived by her daughter Moon Moon Sen and two granddaughters Riya and Raima Sen.
Gautam Biswas, a 54-year-old from Tollygunge, wanted to place flowers at the screen goddess’s feet. “I am her ardent fan. I wish I could see her. I waited for over two hours but police didn’t allow me to advance beyond a point,” he said.
Pom Mukherjee, a private firm employee in her 20s, had sought leave from office for the funeral. “She had been adored by my parents and us as well. It is a pity we did not see her in films during our times but her work would be there for generations,” she said as she jostled with the police and mediamen to capture the gun salute on her mobile phone.
Suchitra’s body, covered with floral wreaths and kept in a tinted glass coffin, was carried in a hearse van to the crematorium. There, she was given a gun salute.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was monitoring Suchitra’s treatment and visited her at least six times in the past three weeks, was one of the first to arrive at the nursing home where she told the media to respect the privacy that the actor wanted.
“She died of cardiac arrest. It is a loss for world cinema. No one can replace anyone else. She had been away from public eye and now her family has decided to conclude the last rites in a peaceful manner. She wanted to be in peace and it looked like she was resting in peace,” Mamata said.
The Chief Minister was one among the very few persons outside the Sen family who could meet Suchitra who kept herself away from public eye for more than 35 years.
“On the second day when I met her, she asked, ‘tumi amar ke hao?’ (How are you related to me?). Even yesterday she recognized all her family members,” Mamata said.
Moon Moon Sen appeared for a brief moment and said “Apnader shokolke amar maa er torof theke namaskar (My respect to all of you on behalf of my mother)”.
Ministers Arup Biswas, Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee were also present at the hospital and accompanied the body to the crematorium.
CPM leaders Surya Kanta Mishra and Rabin Deb, too, came to the hospital and paid homage to the actor.