Bollywood actor Zohra Sehgal celebrated her 102nd birthday on 27 April, 2014. Born in 1912, Sehgal was born Sahibzadi Zohra Begum Mumtaz-ullah Khan in a Muslim family in Sahranpur, Uttar Pradesh, she was sent to Lahore to pursue her higher education. Her journey from India to Pakistan and back again encapsulated the entire Indian freedom struggle. She was a witness to the partition and it pained her a lot. Sehgal observed strict purdah and had never opted to dance; however, once she started her career with Uday Shankar, there was no looking back. Today, Sehgal is considered the longest-living actor and first centenarian associated with the world of showbiz.
In her career spanning almost eight decades, she has acted in a number of Bollywood and Hollywood films. In 1993, she even performed in theatre in Lahore, alongside her sister Uzra Butt, in a critically acclaimed play, Ek Thi Nani.
Settled now in Delhi, she believes the only tragedy in her life would be that the mystery novels will now have to rest on her shelf (her eyesight is dwindling) and the feet that would once dance across stages and the eyes that could once express any emotion, now move to a different tune. However, she awaits her future with a wide smile.
Zohra Saigol reading Faiz Ahmed Faiz:
The Express Tribune wishes Zohra a very happy birthday.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2014.
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