The screen icon remained an enigma even in her death as the hearse carrying her body was covered with white flowers and black-tinted glass making it difficult for fans to catch a glimpse of the star.
Onlookers, news channel cameras and thousands of those who gathered at the hospital, outside her house and at the crematorium to mourn her death, were left disappointed after being unable to see her face. Sources close to her family said this was done keeping with the last wishes of the veteran actress whose acting prowess and magnetic personality had mesmerised audiences in Bengali as well as Hindi films like 'Agnipariksha', 'Devdas', 'Saat Paake Bandha' 'Aandhi' and' 'Deep Jele Jai'.
When the body was brought for the last rites at Keoratala Crematorium in south Kolkata, it was kept in a coffin and later on brought to the pyre hidden from the public eye. Hardly anyone from outside her close circuit has seen her face in the last three decades.
After her 1978 movie 'Pronoy Pasha' with actor Soumitra Chatterjee flopped, Sen disappeared from the public view and even allegedly refused the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2005 to keep herself away public appearance.
The reason of her staying away from public life, however, remains a mystery. In 2007, a local Bengali TV channel had claimed to have gathered some images of Sen, but could not air it, respecting her privacy.
Hazy images of her had once went viral on the internet, but its authenticity was questioned. Sen's actress-daughter Moon Moon Sen completed the last rites in the presence of her daughters Riya and Raima, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Bengali film industry stars like Prosenjit Chatterjee and Dev.
A gun salute was also accorded to the legendary actress from the state government. Her body was also taken to her apartment at Ballygunj for around five minutes but no outsiders were allowed to enter. All the places to which the body was taken were under a thick security blanket as VIPs and thousands of her fans jostled to pay their last respects.
Even in the Belle Vue Clinic where she was admitted for her illness, a tight security and secrecy drill was maintained. Mamata Banerjee became the first public personality in the last 35 years to have met her face to face at the clinic.
Old-timers recall that when Bharat Maharaj of the Ramakrishna Mission passed away in 1989, she had walked barefoot at Belur Math, near Kolkata.