Bengali actress Debashree Roy is a widely known as powerhouse of multiple talents from dancing, acting, and choreographing to being an active animal rights activist and politician, turns 60 today.
Her acting career began at a very early age when she was cast as an infant in Hiranmoy Sen’s Bengali devotional film Pagal Thakur (1966). Later after 12 years, she got her first leading role in Arabinda Mukhopadhyay’s film Nadi Theke Sagare (1978). And since then, she has done more than 100 films.
Apart from being a star in the Bengali film industry, Debashree has worked in the Hindi, Odisa, Malayalam, and Tamil film industries as well.
Roy won many awards including the National Film Award (Best Actress) in 1995 for her role in Unishe April, and Banga Bibhushan in 2014 for Contribution in Cinema.
Acting was not Debashree Roy’s first love as she initially wanted to be a stage performer. After taking proper training in folk dance, in 1991, she formed her troupe called Natraj. In 1991, she was highly praised for Vasavdatta, a dance drama where she translated classical Indian dance forms into contemporary dance movements. Vasavadatta was performed by the Natraj troupe, based on Rabindranath Tagore’s poem, Abhisar.
Debashree is also an animal activist. In 2009, she started a foundation for stray animal welfare. The foundation was named Debashree Roy Foundation and was a non-governmental and non-profitable organisation. The main object of the NGO was to bridge the gap between animals and mankind to prevent animal cruelty. Under this objective, many free vaccination camps were set up at different locations in Kolkata with veterinary professionals. The foundation works on the principle of “one animal homed is one animal off the streets”.
Debashree Roy’s political career was very short-lived. She became a two-time Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the year 2011 and 2016 respectively, in West Bengal Assembly Elections. She left the political party in 2021 when denied the ticket for the upcoming elections.