We recently lost one of the most celebrated actors of the country with the demise of Sarah Begum Kabori. Born on July 19, 1950, she started acting in films from the age of thirteen, with the Subhash Dutta directorial, "Sutorang". The film was a blockbuster hit, and won accolades at the Frankfurt Asian Film Festival in 1964. Over the years, the actor played an array of memorable roles on the silver screen. Although Kabori's importance in the world of Bangla cinema can be talked about for days on end, her greater legacy is that of a graceful artiste, whose passion for her craft was unparalleled. That being said, let us take a look at some of the notable movies that Kabori was a part of, and which have been crowd favourites for decades.
Known as the 'mishti meye' (sweet girl) of Bangla cinema, the National Film Award-winning actor was featured in hits like "Moynamoti", "Nil Akasher Niche", "Sujon Shokhi", "Sritituku Thak", "Sareng Bou", "Bodhu Biday", "Motimohol" "Rongbaaz" and "Shat Bhai Champa" among others.
Kabori played a key role in "Titas Ekti Nodir Naam", directed by Indian filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak. The World Cinema Project (WCP) took the initiative to preserve and restore this film with great effort from Ritwik Memorial Trust and National Film Archive of India. However, the WCP had said that the original negative was incomplete and few reels were severely damaged. The film explores the lives of the Malo community, whose existence is intertwined with the Titas River, in Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh.
"Sujon Shokhi", directed by Khan Ataur Rahman, is a trendsetting romantic film, starring Farooque and Kabori. It received critical acclaim, particularly for Kabori's performance. The chemistry between her and Farooque in the film is brilliant. "Sareng Bou", another movie starring the pair, was also well received by cinemagoers. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Shahidullah Kaiser. Furthermore, Kabori played the character of Parvati beautifully in "Devdas" (1982), opposite Bulbul Ahmed.
"Rongbaaz", starring Nayak Raj Razzak and Kabori, is considered one of the most successful Bangla films till date. Razzak and Kabori were seen together in more than twenty films, including "Abirbhab", "Je Agune Puri", "Dip Nibhe Nai", and "Nil Akasher Niche", among others. "Tumi Je Amar Kobita", a romantic track from the film, "Dorpochurno", featuring the two actors, is popular among listeners even today. In 2019, Kabori was honoured with the Nayak Raj Razzak Award from the Bengal Film and Television Chamber of Commerce, in Kolkata. Her on-screen chemistry with him made them one of the most beloved duos, during the 1970s. "At times, Razzak improvised a dialogue and I responded in a way as if I knew what he was going to convey, and it was all on-the-spot and instantaneous," she had said in a 2018 interview with TheDailyStar.
Kabori's films truly resonated with the masses, and showcased how effortlessly she could portray different characters.