Meena Kumari- The legend

Meena Kumari- The legend with unparalleled beauty and acting talent and a penchant for writing Urdu poetry. She endured the tragedy which could only last for 38 years. When she was born her father didn’t have money and left her on stairs of the hospital.

When he went back to see if she is still there- she was covered in ants. That incident defined Meena’s life-abandoned, tragic and rescued time and again. It made her a good fit for tragic roles- her eyes remained a muse for many writers and an attraction for many producers.

She won the inaugural Filmfare Best Actress Award for Baiju Bawra in 1954. Won the consecutive award for Parineeta (1955) and in 1963 she made history as only all her films were nominated for best Actress Award and won it for Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam

She was only 18 when she was charmed by constant attention & admiration of Kamal Amrohi (16 years older than her and married with 3 kids). Soon they got married. As Meena went on to become the most sought after Actress, Kamal’s movies continue to flop on the box office.

Kamal turned out to be a typical Indian husband- possessive, insecure and abusive. He used to keep a tab on Meena, didn’t let her stay till late on sets. Once in a party when a foreign journalist referred to him as husband of Meena Kumari, he became infuriated.

In 1964 Meena Kumari sought separation from Kamal. Her physician prescribed her a peg of brandy to cure insomnia but it eventually led to her addiction and eventual death. She was also portrayed as a drunkard in her iconic movies- Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam and Chitarlekha

Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam is still considered as one of the best movies of her. She was paired with Guru Dutt- who was referred to as male version of Meena Kumari and vice versa on account of their tragic life stories. The movie was produced in black and white and was later colorised

Posthumously she is most remembered for Pakeezah- The movie which was Kamal Amrohi’s tribute to the woman he loved & the actress he admired. It took 16 years to complete the film. She attended its premiere & it was her untimely death which pushed the movie to become a blockbuster

It was soon after war of 1971 and Indian movies were banned to be shown in Pakistan. However, people in Lahore were able to watch it on their black & white tv screens because the antennas used to catch signals of Doordarshan India.

Pakeezah went on to become a cult classic because of its songs- Chalte Chalte, Tharhe rahiyo O banke yaar & Aaj hum apni duaon ka. Raj Kumar’s dialogue, “Aap ke paon dekhe, bahut haseen hai. Inhe zameen par mat utariyega, maile ho jayenge

Many don’t know that it was actually Meena Kumari who gave a boost to acting career of Dharmendra. When he joined industry she was already an established Actress. Both had a brief romantic stint, where one would grow restless if not able to see the other.

Once in Delhi, Dharamendra wasn’t allowed to board flight because he had drank too much. He shouted at airport staff
“But I must get back to Bombay. I must. Meena is waiting for me”

Her pseudonym was Naaz. Will end with her couplets
yun teri rahguzar se diwana-war guzre
kandhe pe apne rakh ke apna mazar guzre
tu ne bhi hum ko dekha hum ne bhi tujh ko dekha
tu dil hi haar guzra hum jaan haar guzre

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *