The 70-year-old actress had been suffering from kidney complications for a long time
Iconic actor and former lawmaker Sarah Begum Kabori, immortalized as the sweet Bengali girl image on the silver screen, lost her battle to Covid-19 on Friday.
With her lush hair and radiant smile, she became the definition of Bengali beauty in the Bangladeshi film industry. Her spellbinding acting skills turned her into a household name since she made her way into movies in the early 1960s.
She was buried at the Banani Graveyard in Dhaka on Saturday, after her namaz-e-janaza, her son Shaker Chishty told the media.
Chishty said: “My mother was kept at Lake Road in Gulshan 2 house for a while. She then was taken to the Banani Graveyard before Zohr prayers…She was buried at the graveyard in the capital after a namaz-e-janaza and a guard of honour.”
On April 8, Kabori was moved to the intensive care unit (ICU) of Sheikh Russel National Gastroliver Institute and Hospital from Kurmitola General Hospital, where she was being treated for Covid-19.
The 70-year-old had been on life support since Thursday as her health steadily deteriorated.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed deep shock and condolences over the actor’s demise.
In a condolence message, the president said that Kabori was a shining star of Bangla cinema. Her death was an irreparable loss for the country's film industry. People would always remember her contributions to Bengali cinema with reverence.
In her condolence message, Sheikh Hasina, echoing the president's sentiments, said: “Kabori was a bright star of the film industry in this country. Besides acting, her contribution in the field of politics and culture will forever be remembered.”
‘She was an institution’
Actor Ferdous Ahmed, who worked as the leading character in Kabori’s first film as director, told Dhaka Tribune that the legendary actress had become an institution in the Bangladeshi film industry.
“Kabori Apa was not just an actor, she was an institution.” he told Dhaka Tribune. Apart from her film career, she was a brave soul, said Ferdous.
“She never hesitated to take a stand against injustice. As far as I remember, she was always vocal against injustice, discrimination and inequality,” he said.
He said that now he felt as if the coronavirus had taken away someone from his family.
“Like everybody else, the entertainment industry is affected by the global health crisis. Kabori Apa’s untimely demise is a reminder of the stark reality that no one is safe in these trying times,” he told Dhaka Tribune.
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Actress Joya Ahsan posted on her Facebook page: “Bangladeshi film industry was a rocky road for us to begin with. Yet, those of us who decided to wade through the path, are grateful to Kabori who paved the way for us.
"She came and conquered at a time when Urdu films were immensely popular in Bengal. She and Razzak made Bengali films popular back then. Kabori is the big star of that era. She will shine in the sky forever like a star.”
Kabori made her big screen debut when she was only 13 years old, and garnered immense popularity for her portrayals of various roles. Born Meena Pal, she adopted the name Kabori in the film industry.
She was born in 1950 to Krishna Das Pal and Labonno Prova Pal and raised in Firingibazar of Chittagong. In the course of her film career, she paired up with the biggest names of the Bangladeshi film industry, notably Razzak, Farooque, Bulbul Ahmed, Alamgir, Sohel Rana and Ujjal.
Kabori made her directorial debut in 2006 with the film "Aina." She later began working on her second film "Ei Tumi Se Tumi" as director , with a grant from the government in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, but the project remained unfinished.
The two-time National Film Award winner bagged the first for her role in "Sareng Bou" in 1978 and later earned a Lifetime Achievement award in 2013.
She was elected a member of parliament in 2008 from the Narayanganj 4 constituency on the Awami League ticket but continued her work in the film industry.