Who Was Swatilekha Sengupta? Bengali Actor Returns In Belashuru In Spirit

The Shiboprosad Mukherjee and Nandita Roy duo directed Belashuru, which was released after their deaths.

Chokita Paul
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Swatilekha Sengupta Belashuru, Remembering Swatilekha Sengupta, Swatilekha Sengupta Death
Swatilekha Sengupta was a Bengali actor and a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the highest recognition for practising artists. Her contribution to Indian theatre as an actor was notable. 

Starting her career in theatre in the 1970s Allahabad Swatilekha acted in productions under the direction of A.C. Banerjee. She also received guidance from B.V. Karanth, Indian stage lighting designer Tapas Sen, and Khaled Chowdhury. Subsequently, she moved to Kolkata and joined the theatre group Nandikar in 1978. In Nandikar she worked under the direction of Bengali director and cultural critic Rudraprasad Sengupta. 

Suggested Reading: End Of An Era: Co-Actresses Mourn The Death Of Acting Legend Soumitra Chatterjee

Swatilekha Sengupta Belashuru

In Satyajit Ray’s 1984 film Ghare Baire, a Bengali-language romantic drama film, Swatilekha played the role of Bimala. Based on Rabindranath Tagore's novel of the same name, the film dealt with the subject of the emancipation of women. The film was in the contest for the Palme d'Or at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival. At the 32nd National Film Awards, it won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali.


Swatilekha Sengupta also acted in Belaseshe, another Bengali-language family drama film directed by the Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee duo. Produced by Windows and distributed by Eros International and starring veteran actors, Soumitra Chatterjee and Swatilekha Sengupta who played the lead roles in this film. Decades later Satyajit Ray’s Ghare Baire, the duo was again seen acting in this film. Revolving around five persons namely Ammi, Munni, Raghav, Shabnam and Jabbar, against the backdrop of a sudden riot in the border area between a Hindu and Muslim community, Swatilekha Sengupta also acted in Raj Chakroborty’s Dharmajuddha 2021.

According to reports, veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee passed away on November 15 last year at 85 after battling with Covid while his Belaseshe co-star Swatilekha died on June 16.  The Shiboprosad Mukherjee and Nandita Roy duo directed Belashuru, which was released after their deaths. The film, however, is not a sequel to Belaseshe

Amul shared an illustration featuring the animated versions of the actors reimagining a scene from the film. “Belashuru, the film stages the comeback of Shri Soumitra Chattopadhyay and Smt Swatilekha Sengupta- the first time in Indian cinema that both lead actors of a film have passed away,” the post caption read.

Bengali cinema