Older than Indian cinema, Younger than her age – Zohra Sehgal
Zohra Sehgal was born in 1912 in the town of Saharanpur in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
She stepped into the world of acting by joining left-wing political theatre group Indian Peoples’ Theatre Association (IPTA), which dominated the Indian cultural scene in the 1940s.
She began her career with well-known dancer Uday Shankar in 1935 and later performed in the theatre. She was associated with the doyen of Indian theatre, Prithviraj Kapoor, for more than a decade.
In 1962, Sehgal went to London on a drama scholarship and worked in several English films and popular television productions like My Beautiful Launderette, Tandoori Nights and The Jewel in the Crown.
Sehgal returned to India in the 1990s at the age of 80 and continued acting until the age of 95.
Her most popular Hindi films included Dil Se (From the Heart) and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (I Have Given My Heart, Darling).
The feisty actress was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian award, in 2010 for her work.