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    Suchitra Sen, 82, leading actress in Bengali films

    Ms. Sen acted in 57 Bengali and seven Hindi films.
    Associated Press
    Ms. Sen acted in 57 Bengali and seven Hindi films.

    CALCUTTA — Suchitra Sen, a legendary Indian actress known for her memorable roles in both Bengali-language and Hindi Bollywood films, died Friday at 82 of heart failure.

    Ms. Sen was hospitalized three weeks ago for treatment of a respiratory infection and died following cardiac arrest, said her daughter, Moon Moon Sen, who is also an actress.

    Ms. Sen started acting in 1952 and reigned supreme for 26 years. She won fame in Bengali films, especially costarring with Uttam Kumar. The two become icons for melodramas and romantic movies through the 1960s and the 1970s. Her most memorable Bengali films included ‘‘Agnipariksha,’’ “Devdas,’’ and ‘‘Saat Paake Bandha.’’


    The doe-eyed beauty acted in 57 Bengali and seven Hindi films. She shunned public appearances after her retirement from movies in 1978.

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    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Ms. Sen had carved a special niche in the hearts of millions of Indians through her graceful cinematic presence. ‘‘Her versatility and range of performances mark a unique contribution to Indian cinema.”

    Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan said she ‘‘adorned the film world of Bengal with exquisite performances. . . . She graced Hindi films, too!”

    Ms. Sen made her debut in Bollywood with the 1955 film ‘‘Devdas,’’ costarring with Dilip Kumar, another legendary actor, and won the best actress award for the movie. Another big Bollywood hit was ‘‘Aandhi,’’ in which she played the role of a politician inspired by the life of Indira Gandhi .