Kolkata’s first cabaret dancer Arati Das popularly known by her stage name Miss Shefali passed away this morning. She was 77.
Miss Shefali, fondly called ‘Queen of Cabaret’, breathed her last at her Sodepur residence around 6 a.m. on Thursday. She was undergoing treatment for kidney-related ailments.
Miss Shefali was synonymous with cabaret dance in Kolkata and was the star attraction of the city’s night life in the 1960s and ’70s. From Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan to Tollywood superstar Uttam Kumar, everyone would be left spellbound by her sensuous performances.
Miss Shefali had also appeared in a couple of Bengali movies such as “Seemabaddha” and “Pratidwandi”, both directed by the legendary Satyajit Ray.
Last year, Konkona Sen Sharma had announced that she plans to helm a web series based on Miss Shefali’s life. The series will chronicle her life, as well as the political environment of West Bengal in the sixties and seventies through her life’s journey.
Arati Das was the youngest of three sisters hailing from a refugee family of East Bengal (now Bangladesh). It is said that she started performing cabaret at the age of 12 at Firpo’s hotel to earn for her family and then there was no looking back. However, she suffered from monetary crisis in her old age.
She had also penned her autobiography, which is titled “Sandhya Raater Shefali (Shefali of the Evenings and Nights)”.