Kolkata’s first cabaret dancer Arati Das, popularly known by her stage name Miss Shefali, passed away on Thursday morning (February 6). Arati was 77-years-old. She was reportedly undergoing treatment for kidney-related ailments. She breathed her last at her Sodepur residence at around 6:00 am.
Miss Shefali was fondly referred to as the ‘Queen and Cabaret’ and was synonymous with cabaret dance in Kolkata. According to numerous reports, she was the star attraction of the city’s nightlife in the 1960s and 70s. She has mesmerised many celebrities, right from Tollywood star Uttam Kumar to Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan with her performance.
It has been reported that she belonged to a very financially weak family. She reportedly started dancing at Firpo’s hotel at the age of 12 to support her family financially. Miss Shefali in late years appeared in a few Bengali movies. She was a part of Satyajit Ray directed films Seemabaddha and Pratidwandi.
Last year, Bollywood actor Konkona Sen Sharma had announced that she plans to direct a web series based on the life of the legendary dancer Miss Shefali. The web series will not only depict her life but will also talk about the political environment in West Bengal in the 60s as well as the 70s. Miss Shefali in her old age suffered a monetary crisis. Arati Das hails from East Bengal which is now Bangladesh. She was the youngest amongst three sisters and was from a refugee family. She has penned down an autobiography, which was titled Sandhya Raater Shefali, which means Shefali of the Evenings and Nights.
Miss Shefali's fans have claimed that the news has left them in a state of shock. Many said that her work will not be forgotten and that she leaves behind a great legacy. Fans took to social media and stated that she used to set the stage on fire with her performance and that they will miss her.
Miss Shefali was not just the first cabaret dancer of Kolkata who set the party stage on fire but was also a performer, who fought poverty as a refugee and established herself. She died this morning, leaving behind a legacy of a woman who fought her way through #missshefali— indrajitsen (@indrasenspeaks) February 6, 2020
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