This is how I first came to know of her:
She was Lady Lili Chatterjee of the MacGregor house in The Jewel in the Crown, the wonderful Granada TV serial adaptation of Paul Scott’s Raj Quartet. In that role, Zohra Sehgal was elegant and knowing, the very person you would want to live with on your first outing to a country you’d never visited before.
She left a lasting impression on me back then, as did the entire series and its stellar cast.
I was thrilled to see her again about 10 years later here:
This time, Zohra was one member of the Saheli women’s group heading to Blackpool for the day in Gurinder Chadha’s feature film debut Bhaji on the Beach.
And here’s one place where I wished I had seen Zohra, in Tamasha Theater‘s A Yearning, their British Punjabi retelling of Garcia Lorca’s Yerma.
I’ve not yet had the opportunity to meet Zohra Sehgal, but in anticipation of her 100th birthday today, I was so very pleased to be able to reach out to those actors and directors she had worked with over the years and hear what memories they wanted to share, including Susan Wooldridge and Tim Pigott-Smith from The Jewel in the Crown, James Ivory, Aasif Mandvi, Gurinder Chadha, Sakina Jaffrey, Sudha Bhuchar and Kristine Landon-Smith. You can read the story here.
Happy 100th Birthday, Zohra-ji. Thank you for so many years of so many great performances.
Once again, we lucky New Yorkers, spoiled for choice, have a chance to enjoy a special treat from India.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center is collaborating with Columbia University to present Long Shadows: The Late Work of Satyajit Ray, starting today, April 19th, and running for one week, through to April 26th.
What’s unique about this collection of films is that they were all made during the final two decades of the maestro’s life. The line-up includes: The Home and the World, Distant Thunder, The Elephant God, The Chess Players and Sikkim, among others. It also includes Ray’s final film, The Stranger, which stars Utpal Dutt, and was filmed in 1991, the year before Ray died.
Details on tonight’s event here.
And come back soon for an in-depth interview with DJ Tigerstyle about this unique project.
PS – if you can’t make it to the show, you can download the music from the Kala Phool website. I did, for 8 pounds 50 pence, and it downloaded without a hitch.
Am very happy today for these two Southern film luminaries as they receive their National Awards for Kanchivaram. So, so well deserved.
I just hope now the film will get a new breath of life and make it to more screens than just on the festival circuit (where we were fortunate enough to see it in the NY area a while back), and eventually then be released as a DVD, with a really good “making of” feature and (hopefully) a commentary by both gents. A girl can dream…