Veteran Zohra Sehgal turns 101; last seen in Cheeni Kum, Sawariya

Her vivid expressions, ‘naughty eyes’ and infectious voice creates such a charming impact on-screen, leaving the audience thoroughly spell-bound.

And, celebrating 101 years of her life is veteran movie actress and theatre doyenne Zohra Sehgal.

In a career spanning over eight decades, she has acted in a number of Bollywood and British crossover films, and was last seen in films like ‘Cheeni Kum’ and ‘Saawariya’. 

After she was titled the 'Laadli of the Century'  by the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF)-Laadli Media Awards in 2008, the name stuck, and she is fondly referred to as Bollywood’s laadli (darling). 

Last year, the iconic artiste celebrated her 100th birthday by launching her official biography "Zohra Segal: Fatty".

Actress Divya Dutta tweeted her birthday wishes for the iconic star. 

"Happy birthday the ever graceful Zohra Sehgal. I had the honour of working with her in Veer-Zaara. Those naughty eyes! Big hug and respects," she wrote.

Actor Viveck Vaswani tweeted, “Happy 101st birthday Zohra Sehgal! The only actress who has worked with Prithviraj and Ranbir Kapoor!”

According to the IMBD website, Sahibzadi Zohra Begum Mumtaz-ullah Khan was born in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, on April 27, 1912.

She was described as a tomboy in her teens, and the turning point was when she saw renowned dancer Uday Shankar perform in Dehradun.

After college, she joined Uday Shankar's dance troupe and traveled to Japan, West Asia, Europe and America for performances.

It was during this time that she married Kameshwar Sehgal, with whom she worked in Uday Shankar's dance institute at Almora.

When it closed down, they moved to Lahore and founded their own dance institute titled Zohresh. Later, they moved to Mumbai (then Bombay).

Zohra joined Prithviraj Kapoor's theater as a stage actress and worked there for 14 years.

They have two children – Kiran and Pavan. After her husband’s death in 1959, Zohra moved to Delhi, and then to London.

Her first initiation into British television was for the BBC adaptation of a Kipling story titled ‘The Rescue of Pluffles’ in 1964.

She also anchored 26 episodes of BBC TV series ‘Padosi’  (Neighbours; 1976–77).

It was in London that Zohra got her first break in the movies, when she was signed by Merchant Ivory Productions. She won a part in James Ivory’s ‘The Courtesans of Bombay’ in 1982

Sehgal’s cinematic and telly appearances have remained sporadic since then.

She also appeared in a number of TV programmes from the 1960s to the '90s, including ‘It Ain't Half Hot Mum’, ‘Mind Your Language’, ‘The Bill’ and ‘Doctor Who’.

In India, she hit the big league through the TV series ‘Mullah Naseeruddin’. She has since appeared in many Bollywood as well as British movies.

Zohra has been honoured with the Padma Shri in 1998 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2010.

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