As the legendary actor passes away at the age of 102, we take a look at some lesser known facts about her
Zohra Sehgal, a quintessential Bollywood diva who played character roles with aplomb in a career spanning over seven decades in both theatre and cinema, left for her heavenly abode yesterday (June 10) at the age of 102. So as the world of acting mourns the death of this Padma Vibhushan awardee, we at BollywoodLife tell you 7 lesser known facts about this woman who lived a full life on her own terms…
Born Sahibzadi Zohra Begum Mumtaz-ullah Khan on April 27, 1912, Sehgal was the third child among the seven siblings and grew up near Dehradun.
Zohra had lost vision in her left eye when she was just a year old due to glaucoma but this was soon treated.
During her childhood days, Zohra was more of a tomboy. Instead of playing with dolls, like most of the girls at her age, she used to enjoy climbing trees and playing outside.
Young Zohra‘s uncle in Edinburgh arranged an apprenticeship under a British actor. Ms Sehgal made it from Lahore to Europe by car and boat, crossing Iran, Syria, Damascus and Egypt.
In Europe, she was admitted to a ballet school in Dresden despite never having danced before. She was the first Indian at the school. It was in Dresden, where she lived for the next three years, that she saw a performance by Uday Shankar’s dance troupe and this was the turning point of her life.
After graduation, Zohra joined Uday Shankar’s dance troupe and traveled from all around the world. From 1935 to 1940, she performed with Uday Shankar in Japan, Egypt, Europe and the US. Later, Zohra also became a teacher at Uday Shankar’s troupe. It was here that she met Kameshwar Sehgal and fell in love.
Her parents objected but ultimately gave the couple their blessings and they were married in 1942. Even after marriage, Zohra and Kameshwar continued to be a part of Uday Shankar’s dance troupe. It was only after the troupe was finally shut down that they moved back to Lahore.