On 29 September 2020 to honour Indian actress and dancer Zohra Sehgal search Giant Google has changed its doodle. She is India's first female actress to get worldwide recognition. The beautiful doodle depicts an animated image of Zohara Sehgal, designed by an artist named Parvati Pillai. The doodle shows Zohra Sehgal in a classical dance posture.
The Google Doodle included a message that reads, "Today's Doodle, illustrated by guest artist Parvati Pillai, celebrates iconic Indian actress and dancer Zohra Segal, one of the country's first female actors to truly achieve recognition on the international stage. Among Segal's notable early work was a role in the film "Neecha Nagar" ("Lowly City"), which was released on this day in 1946 at the Cannes Film Festival. Widely considered Indian cinema's first international critical success, "Neecha Nagar" won the festival's highest honour: the Palme d'Or prize."
Scroll down the article to know more about Zohra Sehgal.
1. Zohra Sehgal was born on 27 April 1912 as Sahibzadi Zohra Mumtazullah Khan Begum in Saharanpur, then Rampur in British India. Her parents were Mumtazullah Khan and Natiqua Begum.
2. Sehgal was the third of the seven children of the couple. She was a tomboy and loved climbing trees and playing outdoor games.
3. She lost her left eye vision after suffering from glaucoma at a tender age of one.
4. After her mother's demise, Sehgal along with her sisters was enrolled in Queens Mary College, Lahore where a strict purdah system was followed. The male teachers used to teach the girls students from behind a veil or curtain.
5. After seeing her sister's failed marriage, she decided not to marry and focus on being independent.
6. After completing her graduation, she went to Edinburg with her maternal uncle who encouraged her to work under an actor. This is when Sehgal's aunt encouraged her to enrol in Mary Wingman's ballet school.
7. Sehgal sat in the entrance exam of the school without any prior knowledge of dancing and successfully cleared the exam. Eventually, Sehgal became the first Indian to enroll in that school.
8. Her life took a turning point when she met Uday Shankar at a ballet performance. Shankar promised to help Sehgal in getting a job after the completion of her course at the ballet school.
9. Soon Shankar sent her an invitation via telegram saying, "Leaving for Japan tour. Can you join immediately?" After which Sehgal agreed and joined the troupe. The troupe toured Egypt, Japan and many other countries of Europe.
10. Eventually, Sehgal established herself as a lead dancer of the troupe.
11. Upon returning to India in 1940, she joined as a teacher at the Uday Shankar India Cultural Centre at Almora. This is when she met Kameshwar Sehgal, a young painter, scientist and dancer from Indore who later became her husband. Kameshwar Sehgal was 8 years younger to Zohra Sehgal.
12. Zohra and Kameshwar Sehgal both started working together and soon married after falling in love with each other. Soon they became lead choreographers. The couple later became proud parents of two children namely, Kiran Sehgal and Pawan Sehgal.
13. The couple then migrated to Lahore and established their own dancing academy named Zohresh Dance Institute. But during the Indian Pakistan partition in 1947, they migrated to Bombay with their one year old daughter Kiran.
14. After settling in Bombay, Sehgal joined the Prithvi Theatre as an actress and was paid 400 INR. She got an opportunity to travel across the country.
15. While she stayed in Bombay, she became friends with many Bollywood personalities and theatre artists. She got several opportunities to choreograph in several Hindi movies including Baazi and Awara.
16. After her husband's demise in 1959, she soon moved to Delhi and worked as the director of the newly founded Natya Academy.
17. In 1962, she was awarded the Drama Scholarship at London, United Kingdom. In 1964, she made her first television debut with The Rescue of Ruffles, an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's story.
18. She also starred in one of the episodes of the science fiction television series Doctor Who (1965). However, the episode in which Sehgal starred is lost. She also anchored the episodes of BBC show Padosi.
19. She also made special appearances in some British films such as Tandoori Nights, The Raj Quartet, The Jewel In The Crown and My Beautiful Launderette.
20. Sehgal then returned to India in the 1900s and lived for a few months in Bardhaman. During this time, she acted in many plays, TV series and films. She also performed poetry at the memorial of Uday Shankar, organised by his brother Ravi Shankar in 1983.
21. After this, she gave numerous poetry performances in both India and Pakistan. People often requested her to recite Hafeez Jullundhri's creation 'Abhi To Mai Jawan Hoon'.
22. Some of the Bollywood movies, in which she acted are: Ishq Ladaaye, Dil Se, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Veer Zara, Cheeni Kum and Saawariya. She has acted with some renowned actors such as Dev Anand, Prithviraj Kapoor, Ashok Kumar, Govinda, Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bacchan and Ranbir Kapoor.
23. She was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1998, Kalidas Samman in 2001 and with the Sangeet Natak Academy Award in 2004.
24. In the year 2009, she was honoured with the title 'Laadli of the Century' at the United Nations Population Fund- Laadli Media Awards, in Delhi.
25. She died on 10 July 2014, aged 102 in Delhi. She reportedly suffered cardiac arrest. However, she was already admitted in Max Hospital due to pneumonia.