Sharmila Tagore

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Sharmila Tagore
Sharmila Tagore in 2011
Born Sharmila Tagore
(1944-12-08) 8 December 1944 (age 70)
Hyderabad, India
Other names Begum Ayesha Sultana
Ethnicity Bengali
Occupation Model, Actress
Years active 1959–1984
Religion Islam
Spouse(s) Mansoor Ali Khan (1969–2011, his death)
Children Saif Ali Khan
Saba Ali Khan
Soha Ali Khan
Relatives Kareena Kapoor Khan (Daughter-in-law)
Kunal Khemu (Son-in-law)

Sharmila Tagore (also known as Begum Ayesha Sultana) (born 8 December 1944) is an Indian film actress known for her works predominantly in Hindi cinema. She has received two National Film Awards and two Filmfare Awards for her performances.

She has led the Indian Film Censor Board from October 2004 till March 2011. In December 2005 she was chosen as an UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.[1] She was one of the International Competition's Jury Members at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. In 2013, she was awarded Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.[2]

Early life[edit]

Tagore was born in Hyderabad State to Ira Baruah, an Assamese and Gitindranath Tagore, a Bengali.

Tagore's mother, Ira Baruah, was the daughter of J Baruah, the founder Principal of Earl Law College (now Government Law College) in Guwahati and her grandfather Gunabhiram Baruah led the fight against the tradition of child marriage and worked for promotion of widow marriage and women education in Assam.[3][4] Tagore's paternal grandmother Latika Tagore was the granddaughter of Rabindranath Tagore's brother, Dwijendranath Tagore.[5][6]

Tagore's father Gitindranath Tagore, was then deputy general manager of the East India Company owner of Elgin Mills.[7] Her father was the son of Kanakendranath Tagore.[7] Her great grand father was the actor and artist Gaganendranath Tagore [7] and great grand uncle the painter Abanindranath Tagore.[7] One of Tagore's very early paternal ancestors was an uncle to the poet and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore.[7]

Tagore was the eldest child and had two sisters, late Oindrila Kunda [Tinku Tagore] and Romila Tagore [Chinky]. Tinku was an international bridge player and also acted in the role of Mini, the child star in Tapan Sinha's cinema Kabuliwala of 1957.[7][8]

Tagore attended St. John's Diocesan Girls' Higher Secondary School and Loreto Convent, Asansol.[9] Tagore did not continue her education and quit studies due to attendance requirements at the college.[10]


Sharmila Tagore was one of the International Competition's Jury Member at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival

Tagore began her career as an actress in Satyajit Ray's 1959 Bengali film Apur Sansar (The World of Apu), as the ill-fated bride of the title character. She later appeared in Shakti Samanta's Kashmir Ki Kali in 1964. Samanta again cast her in many more films, including An Evening in Paris (1967), in which she became the first Indian actress to appear in a bikini ,[11][12][13][14][15][16]), which established Tagore as somewhat of a sex symbol in Hindi films.[17][18] She also posed in a bikini for the glossy Filmfare magazine in 1968.[14][19][20][21] But, when Tagore was the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification, she expressed concerns about the increased use of bikini in Indian films.[22]

Samanta later teamed up Tagore with Rajesh Khanna for movies such as Aradhana (1969) and Amar Prem (1972). Other directors paired them together in Safar (1970), Daag (1973), Maalik (1972). The pair of Khanna- Sharmila gave 6 box office hits[23] – Aradhana, Safar, Amar Prem, Chhoti Bahu, Daag and Avishkaar. She starred in Gulzar's 1975 film, Mausam and won the National Film Award for Best Actress. She also played a supporting role in Mira Nair's 1991 film Mississippi Masala. She was the highest paid Bollywood actress from 1970-76 along with Mumtaz. She starred opposite Sanjeev Kumar in Mausam (1975), Amitabh Bachchan in Faraar (1975) and Besharam (1978); Naseeruddin Shah in Bengali film "Mangaldeep" (1991).

In Bengali, Sharmila was the best actress after Suchitra Sen. She starred in 1959 Satyajit Ray directed film World of Apu opposite Soumitra Chatterjee, which was a great commercial and critical success. She also acted in another five great films of Ray namely Devi (1960)

She also appeared in Marathi film Samaantar by Amol Palekar. Her earlier release was Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Eklavya: The Royal Guard, which also starred her son Saif Ali Khan. They had appeared together earlier in Aashiq Awara (1993).

Personal life[edit]

Tagore with her daughter Soha at the premiere of Khoya Khoya Chand

She married Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, the Nawab of Pataudi and former captain of the Indian cricket team, in a Nikkah ceremony held on 27 December 1969. She converted to Islam and took on the name Ayesha Sultana. They had three children: Saif Ali Khan (b. 1970), Saba Ali Khan (b. 1976),[24] a jewellery designer, and Soha Ali Khan (b. 1978), a Bollywood actress and TV personality. Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi died, at age 70, on 22 September 2011.[25] In November 2012 she wrote to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) asking for the upcoming series between India and England to be recognised as the Pataudi Trophy which was commissioned by the MCC in 2007. The Indian board responded saying that England's Test series in India are contested for the Anthony de Mello Trophy, in honour of the cricket administrator and co-founder of the BCCI.[26]


Civilian honors
International honors
National Film Awards (India)
Filmfare Awards
Screen Awards
Other honors
  • 2007 – Lifetime Achievement National Award (Actress) — Journalist Association of India
  • 2010 - Lifetime Achievement Award - Anandalok Puraskar
  • 2013 – Delhi Women of the Decade Achievers Award, ASSOCHAM Ladies League Awarded by Smt.Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister, New Delhi
  • 2013 - Honoured by Walk of the Stars as her hand print was preserved for posterity at Bandra Bandstand in Mumbai.


Year Film Director Role Language
1959 Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) Satyajit Ray Aparna Bengali
1960 Devi / The Goddess Satyajit Ray Doyamoyee Bengali
1963 Shesh Anka Haridas Bhattacharya Mala Bengali
1963 Nirjan Saikate Tapan Sinha Renu Bengali
1963 Chhaya Shurjo Partha Pratim Chowdhury Ghentoo Bengali
1964 Kashmir Ki Kali Shakti Samanta Champa
1965 Waqt Yash Chopra Renu Khanna
1966 Anupama Hrishikesh Mukherjee Uma Sharma
1966 Devar Mohan Sehgal Madhumati / Banwariya
1966 Savan ki ghata Shakti samanta Seema
1966 Nayak Satyajit Ray Aditi
1966 Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi Brij Kiran / Kiranmai
1967 An Evening in Paris Shakti Samanta Deepa Malik/Roopa Malik (Suzy)
1967 Aamne Saamne Suraj Prakash Sapna Mathur / Sapna G. Mittal
1968 Mere Hamdam Mere Dost (1968 film) Amar Kumar Anita
1968 Humsaya Joy Mukherjee Leena Sen
1969 Yakeen Brij Rita
1969 Satyakam Hrishikesh Mukherjee Ranjana
1969 Talash O. P. Ralhan Madhu / Gauri
1969 Aradhana Shakti Samanta Vandhana Tripathi
1970 Aranyer Din Ratri (Days and Nights in the Forest) Satyajit Ray Aparna Bengali
1970 Safar Asit Sen Neela Kapoor
1971 Seemabaddha Satyajit Ray Tutul Bengali
1971 Chhoti Bahu K.B. Tilak Radha
1972 Amar Prem Shakti Samanta Pushpa
1972 Dastaan B.R.Chopra Meena
1972 Yeh Gulistan Hamara Atma Ram Soo Reni
1973 Raja Rani Sachin Bhowmick Nirmala / Rani
1973 Daag Yash Chopra Sonia Kohli
1973 Aa Gale Lag Jaa Manmohan Desai Preeti
1975 Mausam Gulzar Chanda/Kajli
1975 Chupke Chupke Hrishikesh Mukherjee Sulekha Chaturvedi
1975 Faraar Shanker Mukherjee Mala/Asha
1977 Amanush Shakti Samanta Rekha
1978 Besharam Deven Verma Rinku/Monica
1979 Dooriyaan Bhimsain Khurana
1982 Namkeen Gulzar Nimki
1982 Desh Premee Manmohan Desai Bharti
1984 Sunny Raj Khosla Sunny's mother
1991 Mississippi Masala Mira Nair Kinnu
1993 Aashiq Awara Umesh Mehra Mrs. Singh
1999 Mann Indra Kumar Dev's grandmother
2000 Dhadkan Dharmesh Darshan Dev's mother
2003 Shubho Mahurat Rituparno Ghosh Padmini Chowdhury Bengali
2005 Viruddh... Family Comes First Mahesh Manjrekar Sumitra Patwardhan
2006 Eklavya: The Royal Guard Vidhu Vinod Chopra Suhasinidevi
2007 Fool and Final Ahmed Khan Bhabi
2008 Tasveer 8*10 Nagesh Kukunoor Savithri Puri
2009 Antaheen Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury Pishima Bengali
2009 Morning Walk Arup Dutta Neelima
2009 Samaantar Amol Palekar Shama Vaze Marathi
2010 Break Ke Baad Danish Aslam Ayesha Khan

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sharmila Tagore, for UNICEF". 8 December 2005. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "President confers top honours Pranab urges people to reset moral compass.". Telegraph India. 
  4. ^ Anurag, K. "Assam: ULFA opposes award to Sharmila Tagore". Rediff. 
  5. ^ "The Tagore connection!". The Times of India. 
  6. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (9 November 1990). "At the Movies". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f "TAGORE". 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Zaman, Rana Siddiqui (7 August 2009). "My First Break – Sharmila Tagore". Friday Review Delhi (Chennai, India: The Hindu). Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  10. ^ "Was considered a bad influence on girls: Sharmila Tagore". Indian Expres6 May 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  11. ^ "Soha Ali Khan wears a bikini for 'Mr Joe B Carvalho'". November 16, 2013. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 
  12. ^ Stuff Reporter, "Being Sharmila, all through life", The Hindu, 2006-04-03
  13. ^ Lalit Mohan Joshi & Gulzar, Derek Malcolm, Bollywood, page 20, Lucky Dissanayake, 2002, ISBN 0-9537032-2-3
  14. ^ a b Various writers, Rashtriya Sahara, page 28, Sahara India Mass Communication, 2002
  15. ^ Manjima Bhattacharjya, "Why the bikini is badnaam", Times of India, 2007-11-25
  16. ^ Avijit Ghosh, "Bollywood's unfinished revolution", The Times of India, 2006-07-02
  17. ^ Subhash K Jha, "Bollywood's 10 hottest actresses of all time, Times of India, 2003-01-19
  18. ^ B. K. Karanjia, Blundering in Wonderland, page 18, Vikas Publishing House, 1990, ISBN 0-7069-4961-7
  19. ^ "Like mom Sharmila Tagore, Soha Ali Khan dons a bikini in Mr Joe B Carvalho". India Today. November 19, 2013. Retrieved November 19, 2013. 
  20. ^ B. K. Karanjia, Blundering in Wonderland, page 18, Vikas Publishing House, 1990, ISBN 0-7069-4961-7
  21. ^ Sumita S. Chakravarty, National Identity in Indian Popular Cinema, 1947–1987, page 321, University of Texas Press, 1993, ISBN 0-292-75551-1
  22. ^ Preeti Mudliar, "Without Cuts", Pune Newsline, 2005-04-11
  23. ^
  24. ^ "To Saif with love: Soha & Saba". 
  25. ^ "India's legendary cricketer Tiger Pataudi passes away at 70". Retrieved 2011-09-22. 
  26. ^ ESPNcricinfo staff (November 6, 2012). "'Recognise India-England series as Pataudi Trophy'". Cricinfo. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 

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