Sharmila Tagore

Sharmila Tagore (born 8 December 1944), also known as Begum Ayesha Sultana Khan, is a retired Indian actress. Primarily known for her work in Hindi and Bengali cinema, Tagore is the recipient of two National Film Awards, a Filmfare Award, and the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to Hindi cinema. In 2013, the Government of India, honoured her with Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian honour for her contributions to the Indian culture through performing arts.[1]

Sharmila Tagore
Sharmila T Lux-Award 2016.jpg
Tagore at an event for Lux in 2016
Born (1944-12-08) 8 December 1944 (age 76)
Other namesAyesha Begum
Begum Ayesha Sultana Khan
Years active1959–1984
(m. 1968; died 2011)
ChildrenSaif Ali Khan (son)
Saba Ali Khan (daughter)
Soha Ali Khan (daughter)

Born into the prominent Tagore family, one of the leading families of Calcutta and a key influence during the Bengali Renaissance, Tagore made her acting debut at age 14 with Satyajit Ray's acclaimed Bengali drama The World of Apu (1959). She went on to collaborate with Ray on numerous other films, including; Devi (1960), Nayak (1966), Aranyer Din Ratri (1970), and Seemabaddha (1971); thus, establishing herself as one of the most prominent figures in Bengali cinema. Tagore's career further expanded when she ventured into Hindi films, making her debut with Shakti Samanta's romantic drama Kashmir Ki Kali (1964). She went on to establish herself as one of the leading actresses of Hindi cinema with films like; Waqt (1965), Anupama (1966), An Evening in Paris (1967), Aamne Saamne (1967), Satyakam (1969), Aradhana (1969), Safar (1970), Amar Prem (1972), Daag (1973), Avishkaar (1974), Mausam (1975), Chupke Chupke (1975), and Namkeen (1982). This was followed by a decade of intermittent film appearances including; Mira Nair's Mississippi Masala (1991), Goutam Ghose's Abar Aranye (2002), and the Hindi films; Aashik Awara (1993), Mann (1999), Viruddh... Family Comes First (2005), Eklavya: The Royal Guard (2006), and finally retiring from acting with her final film appearance Break Ke Baad (2010).

Apart from acting, Tagore has also served as the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification from October 2004 to March 2011. In December 2005, she was chosen as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.[2] She was married to cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi with whom she had three children; actors Saif, Soha, and designer Saba.

Early lifeEdit

Sharmila Tagore was born on 8 December 1944 in Hyderabad, India to Gitindranath Tagore, a general manager in the British India Corporation, and his wife Ira Tagore.[3] Tagore's father belonged to an aristocratic Bengali Hindu family, and were distantly related to the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.[4][5] Gitindranath was the grandson of the noted painter Gaganendranath Tagore, whose own father Gunendranath had been a first cousin of the laureate.[6] In fact, Tagore is more closely related to Rabindranath Tagore through her mother: her maternal grandmother, Latika Barua (née Tagore), was the granddaughter of Rabindranath Tagore's brother, Dwijendranath Tagore.[6] Tagore's maternal grandfather (husband of Latika Barua née Tagore) was Jnanadabhiram Barua, the first Principal of Earl Law College in Guwahati (now known as Government Law College), himself the son of the noted social worker Gunabhiram Barua.[7][8] As a member of the Tagore family, she is also a distant relative of the actress Devika Rani and the painter Abanindranath Tagore (brother of Gaganendranath Tagore).

Tagore was the eldest of three children and had two younger sisters, the late Oindrila Kunda [Tinku Tagore] and Romila Sen [Chinky]. Oindrila was the first in the family to act in a film, and the only role she ever played was that of Mini, the child character (but a central character) in Tapan Sinha's film Kabuliwala (1957).[6][9] In adulthood, she became an international bridge player. Her other sister, Romila Sen, married to Nikhil Sen, a businessman who served as Chief Operating Officer of Britannia Industries for several years, died as the founder and managing director of Unibic Foods in November 2019.[10]

Tagore attended St. John's Diocesan Girls' Higher Secondary School and Loreto Convent, Asansol.[11] She made her film debut when she was a 13-year-old schoolgirl, after which her studies lost priority. Within a short while, her attendance and performance at school suffered, she came to be regarded as a bad influence on her classmates, and was faced with a choice of either doing films or studying further.[12] At that point, her father advised her to move ahead in life, commit herself to a film career and 'give it her all' in order to become successful.[12] She did as her father advised, and credits her parents for having supported her at every point in her life.


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.[13] In 1959, Ray cast her in Devi, a film set in 1860 on Hindu orthodoxy and rational reforms. She considers it as her favourite film and performance.[14]

She later appeared in Shakti Samanta's Kashmir Ki Kali in 1964. Samanta 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,[15][13][16][17][18][19] which established Tagore as somewhat of a sex symbol in Hindi films.[20][21] She also posed in a bikini for the glossy Filmfare magazine in 1966.[22][17][23][24][25] But, when she was the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification 36 years later, she expressed concerns about the increased use of bikinis in Indian films.[26]

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) and Maalik (1972). The Khanna-Tagore pair yielded 7 box office hits[27]Aradhana, Safar, Amar Prem, Chhoti Bahu, Daag, Raja Rani and Avishkaar. As per the review of the film Raja Rani made in 2014 by the Hindu newspaper, the film did well at the box office and taking into consideration, the inflation, as of 2014, the film would have grossed more than 1 billion.[28] 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 to 1976 along with Sadhana & Mumtaz. She had a very successful pairing opposite Dharmendra, along with whom she starred in seven movies - Devar (1966), Anupama (1966), Mere Hamdam Mere Dost (1968), Satyakam (1969), Yakeen (1969), Chupke Chupke (1975), Ek Mahal Ho Sapno Ka (1975) and Sunny (1984). Her filmography also include Faraar (1975) and Besharam (1978)[29] opposite Amitabh Bachchan; Mausam (1975) opposite Sanjeev Kumar; and Bengali film Mangaldeep (1991) opposite Naseeruddin Shah.

Personal lifeEdit

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

Tagore married Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, the titular Nawab of Pataudi and Bhopal and former captain of the Indian cricket team, on 27 December 1968. She converted to Islam before marrying him, and became begum Begum Ayesha Sultana Khan. They had three children: Saif Ali Khan (b. 1970), a Bollywood actor, Saba Ali Khan (b. 1976),[30] 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.[31] 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.[32]


Civilian honors
National Film Awards
Filmfare Awards
Anandalok Awards
Screen Awards


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 Shes Anko Haridas Bhattacharya Mala Bengali
Nirjan Saikate Tapan Sinha Renu Bengali
Barnali Ajoy Kar Aloka Choudhury Bengali
Chhaya Shurjo Partha Pratim Chowdhury Ghentoo Bengali
1964 Kashmir Ki Kali Shakti Samanta Champa Hindi
1965 Waqt Yash Chopra Renu Khanna Hindi
Dak Ghar Zul Vellani guest appearance Hindi
1966 Anupama Hrishikesh Mukherjee Uma Sharma Hindi
Devar Mohan Sehgal Madhumati / Banwariya Hindi
Sawan Ki Ghata Shakti Samanta Seema Hindi
Nayak Satyajit Ray Aditi Bengali
Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi Brij Kiran / Kiranmai Hindi
1967 Milan Ki Raat R.Bhattacharya Aarti Hindi
An Evening in Paris Shakti Samanta Deepa Malik / Roopa Malik (Suzy) Hindi
Aamne Saamne Suraj Prakash Sapna Mathur / Sapna G. Mittal Hindi
1968 Mere Hamdam Mere Dost Amar Kumar Anita Hindi
Humsaya Joy Mukherjee Leena Sen Hindi
Dil Aur Mohabbat Anand Dutta Anuradha Verma Hindi
1969 Yakeen Brij Rita Hindi
Satyakam Hrishikesh Mukherjee Ranjana Hindi
Talash O. P. Ralhan Madhu / Gauri Hindi
Aradhana Shakti Samanta Vandhana Tripathi Hindi
Pyasi Sham Amar Kumar Madhu Hindi
1970 Aranyer Din Ratri (Days and Nights in the Forest) Satyajit Ray Aparna Bengali
Suhana Safar Vijay Sapna Hindi
Mere Humsafar Dulal Guha Taruna / Meenakshi Hindi
My Love S. Sukhdev Sangeeta Thakur Hindi
Safar Asit Sen Neela Kapoor Hindi
1971 Seemabaddha Satyajit Ray Tutul Bengali
Chhoti Bahu K.B. Tilak Radha Hindi
1972 Amar Prem Shakti Samanta Pushpa Hindi
Dastaan B.R.Chopra Meena Hindi
Yeh Gulistan Hamara Atma Ram Soo Reni Hindi
Maalik A. Bhimsingh Savitri Hindi
1973 Raja Rani Sachin Bhowmick Nirmala / Rani Hindi
Daag Yash Chopra Sonia Kohli Hindi
Aa Gale Lag Jaa Manmohan Desai Preeti Hindi
1974 Shaandaar Krishnan–Panju Pratima Hindi
Avishkaar Basu Bhattacharya Mansi Hindi
Paap Aur Punya Prayag Raj Jugni Hindi
Charitraheen Shakti Samanta Rama Chaudhary Hindi
Shaitaan Firoze Chinoy Nisha Hindi
1975 Mausam Gulzar Chanda / Kajli Hindi
Anari Asit Sen Poonam Hindi
Chupke Chupke Hrishikesh Mukherjee Sulekha Chaturvedi Hindi
Faraar Shanker Mukherjee Mala / Asha Hindi
Ek Mahal Ho Sapno Ka Devendra Goel Aruna Hindi
Amanush Shakti Samanta Lekha Bengali
1976 Ek Se Badhkar Ek Brij Rekha Hindi
1977 Anand Ashram Shakti Samanta Asha Bengali
Tyaag Din Dayal Sharma Sunita Hindi
1978 Besharam Deven Verma Rinku / Monica Hindi
1979 Chuvanna Chirakukal N. Sankaran Nair Savitri Malayalam
Dooriyaan Bhimsain Khurana Lalita Hindi
Griha Pravesh Basu Bhattacharya Mansi Hindi
1981 Kalankini Kankabati Uttam Kumar Aparna / Kanka Bengali
1982 Namkeen Gulzar Nimki Hindi
Desh Premee Manmohan Desai Bharti Hindi
1983 Protidan Prabhat Roy Gouri Bengali
Gehri Chot - Urf: Durdesh Ambrish Sangal–Ehtesham Shobha Bengali
1984 Sunny Raj Khosla Sitara Hindi
1986 New Delhi Times Ramesh Sharma Nisha Hindi
1988 Anurodh Jayanta Bhattarcharya Jaya / Maya Bengali
1991 Mississippi Masala Mira Nair Kinnu English
1993 Aashiq Awara Umesh Mehra Mrs. Singh Hindi
1998 Ghar Bazar D.S. Azad Hindi
1999 Mann Indra Kumar Suhana Devi Singh Hindi
2000 Dhadkan Dharmesh Darshan Jhanvi Ranjan Chopra Hindi
2002 Abar Aranye Goutam Ghose Aprana Bengali
2003 Shubho Mahurat Rituparno Ghosh Padmini Chowdhury Bengali
2005 Viruddh... Family Comes First Mahesh Manjrekar Sumitra Patwardhan Hindi
2006 Eklavya: The Royal Guard Vidhu Vinod Chopra Suhasinidevi Hindi
2007 Fool and Final Ahmed Khan Bhabi Hindi
2008 Tasveer 8*10 Nagesh Kukunoor Savithri Puri Hindi
2009 Antaheen Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury Pishima Bengali
Morning Walk Arup Dutta Neelima Hindi
Samaantar Amol Palekar Shama Vaze Marathi
2010 Break Ke Baad Danish Aslam Ayesha Khan Hindi

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Sharmila Tagore, India's emblem at Cannes – Times of India".
  2. ^ "Sharmila Tagore, for UNICEF". 8 December 2005.
  3. ^ "Sharmila Tagore, Elegant and Graceful at 70". Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  4. ^ "The Tagore connection!". The Times of India.
  5. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (9 November 1990). "At the Movies". The New York Times.
  6. ^ a b c "TAGORE".
  7. ^ "President confers top honours Pranab urges people to reset moral compass". Telegraph India.
  8. ^ Anurag, K. "Assam: ULFA opposes award to Sharmila Tagore". Rediff.
  9. ^ "The telegraph" (PDF). 1 December 1991.
  10. ^ "Nikhil Sen, Founder & MD of Unibic Foods, passes away - Exchange4media". Indian Advertising Media & Marketing News – exchange4media. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  11. ^ Zaman, Rana Siddiqui (7 August 2009). "My First Break – Sharmila Tagore". Friday Review Delhi. The Hindu. Chennai, India. Archived from the original on 24 December 2010. Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  12. ^ a b "Was considered a bad influence on girls: Sharmila Tagore". Indian Express. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  13. ^ a b Stuff Reporter, "Being Sharmila, all through life", The Hindu, 2006-04-03
  14. ^ "Satyajit Ray at 100: Why Sharmila Tagore considers 'Devi' her best collaboration with the master". 27 January 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  15. ^ "Soha Ali Khan wears a bikini for 'Mr Joe B Carvalho'". 16 November 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  16. ^ Lalit Mohan Joshi & Gulzar, Derek Malcolm, Bollywood, page 20, Lucky Dissanayake, 2002, ISBN 0-9537032-2-3
  17. ^ a b Various writers, Rashtriya Sahara, page 28, Sahara India Mass Communication, 2002
  18. ^ Manjima Bhattacharjya, "Why the bikini is badnaam", Times of India, 2007-11-25
  19. ^ Avijit Ghosh, "Bollywood's unfinished revolution", The Times of India, 2006-07-02
  20. ^ Subhash K Jha, "Bollywood's 10 hottest actresses of all time, Times of India, 2003-01-19
  21. ^ B. K. Karanjia, Blundering in Wonderland, page 18, Vikas Publishing House, 1990, ISBN 0-7069-4961-7
  22. ^ "The first bikini cover". Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  23. ^ "Like mom Sharmila Tagore, Soha Ali Khan dons a bikini in Mr Joe B Carvalho". India Today. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
  24. ^ B. K. Karanjia, Blundering in Wonderland, page 18, Vikas Publishing House, 1990, ISBN 0-7069-4961-7
  25. ^ Sumita S. Chakravarty, National Identity in Indian Popular Cinema, 1947–1987, page 321, University of Texas Press, 1993, ISBN 0-292-75551-1
  26. ^ Preeti Mudliar, "Without Cuts Archived 13 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine", Pune Newsline, 2005-04-11
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ Malhotra, A. P. S. (8 August 2013). "Raja Rani (1973)". The Hindu – via
  29. ^ "Besharam (1978) - IMDb".
  30. ^ "To Saif with love: Soha & Saba".
  31. ^ "India's legendary cricketer Tiger Pataudi passes away at 70". Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  32. ^ ESPNcricinfo staff (6 November 2012). "Recognise India-England series as Pataudi Trophy". Cricinfo. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  33. ^ "Padma Awards Announced". Government of India. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  34. ^ a b c d Sharmila Tagore at IMDb

External linksEdit