Bengali actresses have been known both as bold and beautiful. And here is our pick of the top 10 Bong actresses every Bengali should be proud of

Bengalis are very much associated with food, football and of course films. The film industry both in West Bengal and Bangladesh had flourished due to Bong’s love for movies. Talking about films, one can hardly avoid mentioning the contribution of Bengali actresses to the Indian industry. Tagged both as bold and beautiful, they have won many hearts from time immemorial, not just in Bengal but the whole country.

Here is our list of the ten most successful bong actresses of all time, without whom, the ‘Filmi Duniya’ wouldn’t have been the same.

Kanan Devi – Bengal’s Nightingale

Kanan Devi was popularly known as the first star of Bengali Cinema and was also credited as one of the first singing sensations of the Indian Film Industry. Originally from Howrah, West Bengal, Kanan Devi started her career from the age of 10. Post her breakthrough film Mukti, she became popular for her roles in movies like Vidyapati, Lagan, and Jawab. She even had the opportunity to be casted in Devdas, which did not happen after all, a decision she regretted all her life.

Kanan Devi. Source ~
Kanan Devi. Source ~

Suchitra Sen – Every Film Maker’s Muse

Roma Sengupta aka Suchitra Sen, was known for her million dollar smile, acting prowess and endless beauty. She was probably the most successful actress of Bengal and was known for her strong persona and brevity. Mrs Sen, the respectful title she is still referred to with, was the first among Bengali actresses to receive the Best Actress award in the Moscow Film Festival for her role in Saat Pake Badha. She was brave enough to reject Satyajit Ray’s films since she didn’t want to hurt her other directors who made her a star. She gave her best performance in cinemas like Devdas, Harano Sur, Saptapadi, Uttar Falguni and Andhi. Now, who can forget her classics with Uttam Kumar? Suchitra Sen known for her strong personality and of course an adamant attitude, so much so that after retiring from the screen, she not even once appeared in public again.

Suchitra Sen. Source ~
Suchitra Sen. Source ~

Madhabi Mukherjee – The Powerful Performer

Madhabi Mukherjee was not a core commercial actress, but she did garner critical acclaim for her roles in classic Bengali films. She made a great impact in the Bengali film industry through Tapan Sinha’s Tonsil, Mrinal Sen’s Baishey Sravan, Ritwik Ghatak’s Subarnorekha and Satyajit Ray’s Mahanagar. Till this day, she is well known for playing the protagonist in the film Charulata by Satyajit Ray. A timeless actress, Madhabi Mukherjee, has been one of the most influential, strong and brave Bong Actors of all time because of her acting prowess, choice of films and personality, which sets her apart from her contemporaries.

Madhabi Mukherjee. Source ~
Madhabi Mukherjee.

Sabitri Chatterjee – The Amusing Actress

Sabitri had a 50 years long career in the Bengali Film industry and was well known for adding comic elements to her characters which was rare among actresses. She was probably the first Bengali actress to don a comical avatar on the silver screen. Her most popular movies along with Mahanayak Uttam Kumar include Bhranti Bilas, Mouchak and Dhanni Meye.


Sharmila Tagore – The Thriving Tigress

Hailing from the Tagore family, this actress is considered to be one of the brave pioneers of the Indian Film Industry for donning a swimsuit in the film – An Evening in Paris. Starting her career with the great Satyajit Ray with films like Apur Sansar and Devi, she went onto make become a big name in Bollywood through movies such as Aradhana and Amar Prem. Why do we consider her as a legendary Bong Actress – because she ruled the Bombay film industry for a decade with 57 films in her kitty apart from being the Chairperson of Central Board of Film Certification.

Sharmila Tagore. Source ~
Sharmila Tagore. Source ~

Aparna Sen – Beauty with Brains

Apart from having the privilege to work with the likes of Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen, Aparna Sen, Bengal’s diva, went on to become the first female Bengali film director. She acted in numerous films, starting with Ray’s Teen Kanya and paired up with Soumitra to give timeless hits like – Basanta Bilap and Baksa Badal. Her first directorial debut won her the award for the Best Director in Indian National Film Awards. Her notable films as a director include – Mr. & Mrs. IyerParomitar Ek Din, and The Japanese Wife.

Aparna Sen
Aparna Sen

Bobita – Beloved Bangldeshi

Farida Akhtar Poppy, better known as Bobita is considered as one of the most successful Bangladeshi actresses. Her acting skills drew the attention of Satyajit Ray and thus she was casted in Ashoni Sanket in1973, a timeless classic, for which she won the Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival. Today, she owns her own production company in Bangladesh.

Bobita in Ashoni Sanketh. Source ~
Bobita in Ashoni Sanket. Source ~

Mousumi Chaterjee – The Bubbly ‘Badhu’

Mousumi was known as the ‘Chulbuli’ of the Indian Film Industry and was celebrated for her on screen charisma and pomp. She started her career at the age of 15 with ‘Balika Badhu’, got married while studying in class 10 and then made a breakthrough with the Hindi film Anuraag. After that there was no looking back. She acted in numerous successful hindi movies, starring opposite superstars like Vinod Khanna, Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, and Vinod Mehra. Her well known Bengali films include –Anindita, Ogo Bodhu Sundori, The Japanese Wife and Goynar Baksho. She recently made everyone understand that her acting skills are evergreen through her magnetic performance in Piku.

Moushumi Chatterjee. Source ~
Moushumi Chatterjee. Source ~

Debashree Roy – Dancing Diva

Debashree started her career as child artist Kumari Chumki and went on to win a National Film Award for Best Actress for her role in Unishe April. She is an aclaimed Odissi dancer and has her own dancing school – Nataraj. Debashree is a prolific actress, both in parallel & commercial films. She even acted in the epic Mahabharata by B.R Chopra. She has more than 100 Bengali films to her name , received more than 40 awards and even acted in a number of Tamil movies. Apart from being an actress, she is also an MLA now.

Debashree Roy
Debashree Roy

Rituparna Sengupta – Bold and Beautiful

Rituparna’s success in both commercial and parallel films has set her miles apart from her contemporaries. Rituparna is known for portraying bold & sensuous characters, an attempt many contemporary actresses have avoided. Her acting skills have won her the Best Actress National award for Dahan. She also won the FIlmfare critics’ choice award for Best Actress for Alikh Sukh.

Rituparna Sengupta. Source ~
Rituparna Sengupta.

Now, that you have met the most successful Bengali actresses of all time, you can either try watching their films in the chilly wintery evenings with a ‘gorom chaa’ or can just dream about these beauties with your eyes open. And do let us know if we missed one of your favorite stars.

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Indrani aka Munna is an independent Bengali woman and she's pursuing Masters in Mass Communication from Visva- Bharati. She loves eating, sleeping, cooking, gossiping, writing, blogging, reading, watching movies and all that! And most importantly she loves everything Bengali! Follow her blog at - and