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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Expresso Entertainment Update

Your Entertainment Expresso is served! The Indian Express brings to you the latest news updates from the world of Indian and international entertainment, movies, TV and OTT.

Episode 802 April 30, 2022

Expresso Entertainment Feature on Veteran Actor Zohra Sehgal

Here is an feature on veteran actress Zohra Sehgal from the Indian Express at 7:30 pm on the 30th of April

You are listening to the Expresso Entertainment Update. Here is a report on Veteran Actor Zohra Sehgal, brought to you by the Indian Express

Zohra Sehgal taught the world that life isn’t just about breathing, but living it too. The ‘Laadli of the Century‘ as labelled by the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF)-Laadli Media Awards, Sehgal didn’t let age dampen her spirit at all. And the aforementioned documentary tried to dig out the fuel that kept her running even after seven decades in business.

Zohra Sehgal straddled the worlds of theatre, films, television and dance with great success. At an age when girls were married off, Sehgal defied the purdah and chose her passion for dance over settling down in early 1930s.

Having witnessed her sister’s failed marriage, Sehgal decided against getting married herself. Upon graduating, her maternal uncle, Sahebzada Saeeduzzafar Khan, who was based in Edinburgh, arranged for her to apprentice under a British actor. They started from Lahore by car and, en route, crossed Iran and Palestine, before reaching Damascus, Syria, where she met her cousin. Then they travelled into Egypt and caught a boat to Europe in Alexandria.

In Europe, Sehgal’s aunt encouraged her to enrol in Mary Wigman’s ballet school in Dresden, Germany. Sehgal passed the entrance test without much prior experience in the dance form, and became the first Indian to study at the institution. She stayed in Dresden for the next three years studying modern dance, while living in the house of Countess Liebenstein. A significant turning point came in her life when she met Uday Shankar at a performance of the Shiv-Parvati ballet, which he had choreographed. Shankar promised her a job on her return to India at the completion of her course.

Shankar contacted Sehgal through a telegram, saying, “Leaving for Japan tour. Can you join immediately?” Following that, Sehgal joined his troupe in August 1935. The group toured Japan, Egypt, and several parts of Europe and the United States. Sehgal soon established herself as the lead dancer of the troupe, along with Simkin, a French national. On their return to India in 1940, Sehgal became a teacher at the Uday Shankar India Cultural Centre at Almora. It was here that she met her future husband Kameshwar Sehgal, a young scientist, painter and dancer from Indore, eight years her junior.

The two continued to work at the Cultural Centre and established themselves as leading choreographers. During their time in Almora, Kameshwar Sehgal composed a noted ballet for human puppets and choreographed the ballet Lotus Dance. The duo later migrated to Lahore, where they set up their own dance academy, the Zohresh Dance Institute. Following the communal tension preceding the Partition of India, they moved to Bombay, with their one-year-old daughter, Kiran. Sehgal joined the Prithvi Theatre, where her sister, Uzra Butt also worked in 1945, as an actress with a monthly salary of Rs 400, and toured across India with the group.

Also in 1945, Sehgal joined the theatre group, Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA), acted in several plays, and made her film debut in IPTA’s first film production, directed by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, Dharti Ke Lal in 1946; she followed it up with another IPTA-supported film, Neecha Nagar. Directed by Chetan Anand and starring Rafiq Ahmed and Uma Anand, Neecha Nagar was one of the first projects of the parallel cinema movement in the subcontinent. Upon release, the film became a critical success and was screened as such international film festivals as Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Palme d’Or.

She also served as a dance director at Prithvi Theatre from 1945 to 1959.

Sehgal told The Hindu in 2018, “I enjoyed it much. Also I never got the main roles because I wasn’t beautiful and sexy but I hung in there, till in 1962 I got a theatre scholarship to the U.K. I went and never returned for 25 years.”
Yes, she always believed she was “ugly”, a confession she’s made in her interviews time and again. “You are meeting me now, when I’m old and ugly, you should have seen me when I was young and ugly,” she once told the interviewer. Interestingly, Scroll wrote in 2017 that Sehgal envied her sister’s fame and attractiveness. Her daughter and danseuse Kiran Segal in the biography Zohra Sehgal: Fatty wrote due to this complex, Zohra Sehgal “tried very hard to be charming and attract attention.”

Zohra Sehgal never shied away from talking about her flaws and yet finding a way through the audience’s heart. Spending 14 years in theatre, she appeared in nearly 20 movies also. In fact, her longevity can be summed up in the fact that she worked with four generations of Bollywood’s Kapoor family – from Prithviraj Kapoor to Raj Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor to Ranbir Kapoor.
Zohra Sehgal chose roles that were sheer reflection of her real life aura. These include Bhaji on the Beach (1992), Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), Bend It Like Beckham (2002), Dil Se (1998), Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (2001) and Saawariya (2007) and Cheeni Kum (2007).

Sehgal tried her hand at international cinema in the UK and television too. At the age of 92, she performed a play titled Ek Thi Nani which was staged in Lahore for the first time. It featured her and her sister Uzra Butt. Its English version was held at UCLA under the name A Granny for All Seasons in 2001. She also featured in British television classics like Doctor Who and the 1984 miniseries The Jewel in the Crown.
Her life is an open book of breaking stereotypes at every juncture. Even her marriage to painter Kameshwar Sehgal was unconventional. Kameshwar was eight years younger than her and a Hindu. Their union faced considerable opposition in 1942.
Zohra Sehgal kept playing hide-and-seek with age. Her iconic picture cutting her birthday cake, more like butchering it with a huge knife is specimen how she took age in her stride. The recipient of Padma Vibhushan succumbed to age-related problems at 102.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to Sehgal on Twitter, describing her as “prolific & full of life,” and adding that she “made a mark through her acting which is admired across generations.” Also paying tribute, Amitabh Bachchan tweeted that Sehgal was “immensely lovable”.

Sehgal was cremated on 11 July at Lodhi Road crematorium, Delhi. She had dictated that upon her death she wanted to be cremated and buried without fuss or problems, and told her family to flush her ashes down the toilet if the crematorium refused to keep them.

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Expresso Entertainment Feature on Veteran Actor Zohra SehgalHere is an feature on veteran actress Zohra Sehgal from the Indian Express at 7:30 pm on the 30th of April You are listening to the Expresso Entertainment Update. Here is a report on Veteran Actor Zohra Sehgal, brought to you by the Indian Express Zohra Sehgal taught the world that life isn’t just about breathing, but living it too. The ‘Laadli of the Century‘ as labelled by the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF)-Laadli Media Awards, Sehgal didn’t let age dampen her spirit at all. And the aforementioned documentary tried to dig out the fuel that kept her running even after seven decades in business. Zohra Sehgal straddled the worlds of theatre, films, television and dance with great success. At an age when girls were married off, Sehgal defied the purdah and chose her passion for dance over settling down in early 1930s. Having witnessed her sister's failed marriage, Sehgal decided against getting married herself. Upon graduating, her maternal uncle, Sahebzada Saeeduzzafar Khan, who was based in Edinburgh, arranged for her to apprentice under a British actor. They started from Lahore by car and, en route, crossed Iran and Palestine, before reaching Damascus, Syria, where she met her cousin. Then they travelled into Egypt and caught a boat to Europe in Alexandria. In Europe, Sehgal's aunt encouraged her to enrol in Mary Wigman's ballet school in Dresden, Germany. Sehgal passed the entrance test without much prior experience in the dance form, and became the first Indian to study at the institution. She stayed in Dresden for the next three years studying modern dance, while living in the house of Countess Liebenstein. A significant turning point came in her life when she met Uday Shankar at a performance of the Shiv-Parvati ballet, which he had choreographed. Shankar promised her a job on her return to India at the completion of her course. Shankar contacted Sehgal through a telegram, saying, "Leaving for Japan tour. Can you join immediately?" Following that, Sehgal joined his troupe in August 1935. The group toured Japan, Egypt, and several parts of Europe and the United States. Sehgal soon established herself as the lead dancer of the troupe, along with Simkin, a French national. On their return to India in 1940, Sehgal became a teacher at the Uday Shankar India Cultural Centre at Almora. It was here that she met her future husband Kameshwar Sehgal, a young scientist, painter and dancer from Indore, eight years her junior. The two continued to work at the Cultural Centre and established themselves as leading choreographers. During their time in Almora, Kameshwar Sehgal composed a noted ballet for human puppets and choreographed the ballet Lotus Dance. The duo later migrated to Lahore, where they set up their own dance academy, the Zohresh Dance Institute. Following the communal tension preceding the Partition of India, they moved to Bombay, with their one-year-old daughter, Kiran. Sehgal joined the Prithvi Theatre, where her sister, Uzra Butt also worked in 1945, as an actress with a monthly salary of Rs 400, and toured across India with the group. Also in 1945, Sehgal joined the theatre group, Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA), acted in several plays, and made her film debut in IPTA's first film production, directed by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, Dharti Ke Lal in 1946; she followed it up with another IPTA-supported film, Neecha Nagar. Directed by Chetan Anand and starring Rafiq Ahmed and Uma Anand, Neecha Nagar was one of the first projects of the parallel cinema movement in the subcontinent. Upon release, the film became a critical success and was screened as such international film festivals as Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Palme d'Or. She also served as a dance director at Prithvi Theatre from 1945 to 1959. Sehgal told The Hindu in 2018, “I enjoyed it much. Also I never got the main roles because I wasn’t beautiful and sexy but I hung in there, till in 1962 I got a theatre scholarship to the U.K. I went and never returned for 25 years.” Yes, she always believed she was “ugly”, a confession she’s made in her interviews time and again. “You are meeting me now, when I’m old and ugly, you should have seen me when I was young and ugly,” she once told the interviewer. Interestingly, Scroll wrote in 2017 that Sehgal envied her sister’s fame and attractiveness. Her daughter and danseuse Kiran Segal in the biography Zohra Sehgal: Fatty wrote due to this complex, Zohra Sehgal “tried very hard to be charming and attract attention.” Zohra Sehgal never shied away from talking about her flaws and yet finding a way through the audience’s heart. Spending 14 years in theatre, she appeared in nearly 20 movies also. In fact, her longevity can be summed up in the fact that she worked with four generations of Bollywood’s Kapoor family – from Prithviraj Kapoor to Raj Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor to Ranbir Kapoor. Zohra Sehgal chose roles that were sheer reflection of her real life aura. These include Bhaji on the Beach (1992), Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), Bend It Like Beckham (2002), Dil Se (1998), Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (2001) and Saawariya (2007) and Cheeni Kum (2007). Sehgal tried her hand at international cinema in the UK and television too. At the age of 92, she performed a play titled Ek Thi Nani which was staged in Lahore for the first time. It featured her and her sister Uzra Butt. Its English version was held at UCLA under the name A Granny for All Seasons in 2001. She also featured in British television classics like Doctor Who and the 1984 miniseries The Jewel in the Crown. Her life is an open book of breaking stereotypes at every juncture. Even her marriage to painter Kameshwar Sehgal was unconventional. Kameshwar was eight years younger than her and a Hindu. Their union faced considerable opposition in 1942. Zohra Sehgal kept playing hide-and-seek with age. Her iconic picture cutting her birthday cake, more like butchering it with a huge knife is specimen how she took age in her stride. The recipient of Padma Vibhushan succumbed to age-related problems at 102. Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to Sehgal on Twitter, describing her as "prolific & full of life," and adding that she "made a mark through her acting which is admired across generations." Also paying tribute, Amitabh Bachchan tweeted that Sehgal was "immensely lovable". Sehgal was cremated on 11 July at Lodhi Road crematorium, Delhi. She had dictated that upon her death she wanted to be cremated and buried without fuss or problems, and told her family to flush her ashes down the toilet if the crematorium refused to keep them. You were listening to the Expresso Entertainment Update by The Indian Express. Ask your digital assistant device to play the latest entertainment news from the Indian Express to stay up to date with the most accurate and reliable updates in the Entertainment world.
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