Mumbai, September 29: Remembering iconic Indian actress and dancer Zohra Segal, search engine giant Google celebrated the anniversary of the release of her 1946 film, Neecha Nagar, with a beautiful doodle of Zohra Sehgal.
On this day, the film was released at the Cannes International Film Festival. Neecha Nagar won the festival’s highest honor – the Palme d’Or – that year. It was also considered India's first international critical success. The doodle showed the legendary actress in a classical dance posture. The special doodle on Zohra Segal is designed by artist Parvati Pillai.She was one of the country’s first actresses to be truly recognized on the international stage.
Sahibzadi Zohra Begum Mumtaz-ullah Khan was born on April 27, 1912, in Saharanpur, British India. She attended a prestigious ballet school in Dresden, Germany in her early 20s and later toured internationally with the Indian dance pioneer Uday Shankar. After she returned to India, she transitioned to acting, joining the Indian People’s Theatre Association in 1945.
Segal moved to London, England in 1962 and built an international profile over the following decades with roles in British television classics like “Doctor Who“ and the 1984 miniseries “The Jewel in the Crown.” In the mid-1990s, she returned to India, where she continued acting on the stage and in Bollywood films.
In 2002, the year of her 90th birthday, Segal appeared in her memorable role in the film ”Bend it Like Beckham,” and continued to act well into her 90s. Zohra was 102 when she passed away on 10th July 2014 due to cardiac arrest. Her daughter had revealed that even during her last days, she was full of life. Recognising her contribution to the world of arts, Zohra had been honored with the Padma Shri (1998), the Kalidas Samman (2001), and the Padma Vibhushan (2010).
Taking about the doodle Parvati Pillai said, "Zohra Segal is admired across generations for her acting and loveable personality. She overcame social and cultural stereotypes with her sheer tenacity and infectious passion from a very young age. She is an inspiration not just for women everywhere, but for anyone who wants to follow their own path! I grew up watching her as the evergreen granny and have been enthralled by her love for acting and dancing, especially in her twilight years. She taught me what it meant to be passionate about my work and to never be afraid of new challenges."
She also added that 'Zohra Segal lived her life to the fullest. In today’s challenging times, it is important to be optimistic and keep smiling!'