We must not mourn. ‘We must celebrate Zohra Sehgal's life which she lived on her own terms. She was an institution and a towering personality of theatre’ said senior actor Shabana Azmi who rendered, ‘My Mother Shaukat Kaifi was her junior at Prithvi Theatres and was greatly inspired by her. I did a play with her in 2003 by Roysten Able. She would reach rehearsals on the dot. She never showed any fuss. She was a thorough professional who knew all her lines and would keep everyone in splits with her near-ribald jokes.’ Amzi also saluted Sehgal and said, ‘My thoughts are with her daughter Kiran.’
She wasn’t the only one to mourn the loss of the 102-year-old doyenne of theatre. Amitabh Bachchan, who she played a mother to in the 2007 movie Cheeni Kum, her last outing on the silver screen called her ‘An immensely loveable co-star," in his tweet on Sehgal.
Born in 1912, her graceful dance and stage presence led her to join the late legend Uday Shankar’s dance troupe in 1935. She travelled the world with the troupe a decade before joining Prithviraj Kapoor’s theatre group for a princely salary of Rs 400 per month.
Apart from theatre she also acted in films. Her recent films include Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), Dil Se (1998) and Saawariya (2007).
Other theatre veterans expressed profound sorrow at the passing away of Sehgal, who they called, ‘One of the brightest stars of theatre.’ Senior TV, film and theatre actor Sarita Joshi said, ‘This is a big blow. She has and will always remain a inspiration.’ Om Katare of Yatri group lamented Sehgal’s passing away. ‘I have watched her perform at a festival in Prithvi theatre. She a truly amazing actor.’