I like new experiences. When I first joined films, some said I was no actress. So they gave me small, insignificant roles.

I played them honestly because I wanted to have the experience. Gaining experience, I proved that I was, after all, an actress, and in a big way, too!

I don’t know if I am the highest-paid artist in Bengal today, but I am certainly the most sought after.

Being sought after is an experience I like. Trying my hand at writing an article is a new experience for me.

So I am writing this one. But my competence is limited, and this admission should serve as a warning to readers who may expect something outstanding from this venture.

I sometimes feel I am two women, both of whom want to be loved: Mrs. Roma Sen by her family and Miss Suchitra Sen by her fans.

But their likes and dislikes are so different! Roma Sen is shy, hesitant, and reserved.

She likes press photographers to take pictures of her when she is with her family; Suchitra Sen likes (actually enjoys) being mentioned in film magazines with her pictures on the covers.

While Roma Sen has no other ambition in life, Suchitra Sen is keen on going higher and higher in her career.

She likes to have more money and greater fame. Her life is a constant struggle for achievements, for betterment.

I like the feeling of being two persons at the same time. Roma Sen is obliged to Suchitra Sen for the comforts she gives her.

But Suchitra Sen has no such obligation. My home bespeaks comfort, warmth, and love.

I like to have them around me on a rainy day to talk about everything except films.

I have seen bad days and harsh things have been said of me. I wouldn’t like to have the same experience again.

Acting is my profession, and I take it as a serious business. Seriousness mars the spirit of relaxation.

Away from the studios, I cease to be Suchitra Sen and I don’t like talking about her.

I immensely dislike age. By age, I don’t mean the years but one’s character moulded by them.

We cannot escape being old in years, but we can escape being old in mind. The mind should remain young, as young as nature.

If the mind remains youthful and one’s character is not smashed by the years, one can steal a march overage.

Where did I learn this? At Santiniketan, where I studied. Rabindranath Tagore never grew old in mind or character, and therefore, the Rabindranath legend remains green.

Legend keeps one young and alive. Greta Garbo must be in her fifties today, but what is the picture that is still fresh in the minds of millions of people?

That of an elderly woman? No! It is that of the young, beautiful, and mysterious Garbo.

The Garbo legend will keep her young. I, too like to have a legend, the legend of Suchitra Sen, the legend of the beautiful young girl whom they glamorized.

Even though my performances in “Saajghar”, in which I was the pinning mother of a grown-up boy, and “Griha Prabesh”, in which my role was not very glamorous, are the best of my career according to many, I like the youthful parts I often play.

These roles have created phenomenal box-office records and success will help the legend to gain further strength.

In the past, they say, legend has robbed artists of their friends, love, and peace of mind.

But this is not the past, and I am different. In my case, there will be no clash between the artist and her legend.

Even if there should be, it won’t be a struggle to the death of one of them. Both will survive, the artist and her legend.

Moods? I like them. Without moods, your raison d’etre loses its value. But the mood is not mannerism. I dislike mannerisms.

Mannerism is a camouflage. It kills personality and creates misunderstanding. People often mistake mood for mannerism.

I have my moods, certainly who hasn’t? But I have no mannerism. Nature has its moods.

Man, too, should have his. Mood is character. Needless to say, I like character.

Films are a world of make-believe in which we do unreal things realistically. I am not the poor or rich girl whose sighs and smiles on the screen for Uttam Kumar sway millions of cinemagoers.

On the contrary, I am a very successful artist with an air-conditioned car, an air-conditioned house, and more smiles than sighs.

If doing unreal things realistically is realism, or neo-realism, the less we talk about it better.

Realism is a deception of fact, and the fact is censorable. Moreover, real-life s dull and hard.

That is why cinema, the world of make-believe, is so popular. It takes people away from the real, and this is the reason for the failure of a “realistic” picture.

So, while I like to be as realistic as possible in portraying unreal characters, I dislike talking about “realism”.

Realism can never be made up, but everything we do on the screen is made up.

My likes and dislikes are my own, but my talent is meant for others. Talent reflects the world in one way or other.

It is not easy to confine my talent within me, for it is as much other as it is mine. But likes and dislikes? They are relative.

My life has been a wonderful experience of pleasant and unpleasant things. Pleasant things have built up my likes; unpleasant things my dislikes. – Filmfare 1958

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