Meena Kumari - A tragedienne, in reel and real on her birthday!

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At birth, baby Mehjabeen was left at a muslim orphanage because her father was unable to pay the fees of Dr Gadre. Meena was the second daughter to a Sunni Muslim master Ali Bux and a Bengali Christian Prabhavati Devi. She started working in films pretty early on in life. Little Mehjabeen used to say “I do not want to work in movies; I want to go to school and learn like other children.”
Her first major break happened in the Vijay Bhatt musical Baiju Bawra. She also picked up her first Filmfare award for the same film.
Her first major break happened in the Vijay Bhatt musical Baiju Bawra. She also picked up her first Filmfare award for the same film.
There was Baiju Bawra, Parineeta, Baadbaan, Azaad, Bandish, Ek Hi Raasta so on and so forth were all huge successes at the Box Office. It was during this time that Kamal’s Pakeezah was conceived, a film that would take an eternity to be made.
She separated from Kamal for his feudal attitude – While her professional life was at the hilt, her personal life was steadily dwindling. Her equation with her husband Kamal Amrohi was on the rocks. She was a huge superstar and he was still a struggling filmmaker. He posed a lot of restrictions on her with regards to timings, the people she would meet so on and so forth. At one juncture in their careers, the then information and broadcasting minister MR Satya Narayan Sinha arranged for two tickets to Berlin
Meena was a giver by heart, she understood the inner turmoil of her husband and was with him whenever she could. But things were getting out of hand and Kamal started beating her up out of anger and jealousy. She couldn‘t have taken it no more. The both parted ways. Meena had developed insomnia due to a romantic episode with Kamal she had in the past, where the both would talk on the telephone for the entire night, every night. To combat the insomnia, she was prescribed some brandy. However, this became a h
This was also the time when a new actor was trying to get a grip on the industry. He was Dharamendra who had been a part of many B-grade films. Meena took a fancy for him. He fell for him. She did everything she could to pull him up from where he was and get him to earn some recognition. She did a lot of films with him for instance, Kaajal, Phool aur Patthar, Chandan Ka Paalna so on and so forth. All of them turned out to be huge successes. Since then, there was no looking back for Dharamendra. Meena used t
As was the case earlier, her personal life was in a lot of pain and suffering but her films were roaring successes. She did quite a few memorable roles during this period. The most notable amongst them were Sahib Biwi Ghulam, Dil Apna Preet Parai, Aarti, Main Chup Rahungi
Gulzar’s personality and his poetry was another point of attraction for the lady. She was a poetess herself and her love for words drew her towards him. During her last few days, she left all her writings for Gulzar and said he could do whatever he felt like with them. Such was her magnanimity.
This is a film that defines the beauty and magnanimity that she was. Pakeezah took 14 years to reach the silverscreen. It was shelved in the middle due to the differences between Kamal and her. After a lot of cajoling by Nargis and Sunil Dutt who had seen the rushed for the film, did Meena agree to restart shooting for the film. When she started shooting for the film once again, she accepted just one Guinea for her performance as her fees for the film from Kamal. When she restarted shooting for the film she
Meena arrived to be a part of her Pakeezah’s premiere which would be the last premiere of her life at Maratha Mandir in February 3, 1972. The film opened to a lukewarm response. Three weeks after the release of the film, Meena fell seriously ill.  She was admitted to St. Elizabeth’s Nursing Home. She succumbed to liver cirrhosis on Good Friday 31 March 1972, aged 38. Her film then went on to become a roaring hit and as has been written earlier, it remains a classic to this very day. According to her wish, s

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