She was called the Chinese doll! With her droop of curl dropping on her face, combined with an anguish-laden voice, Meena Kumari was the epitome of uncontrollable tragedy. This unblemished beauty made Meena Kumari the ultimate tragedy queen in Indian Cinema.
All her life, Meena Kumari carried an image of a sorrowful lonely woman whose desires remained suppressed by the cruel world. Meena Kumari aka Mehajabeen Bano starred in more than ninety films in a 30 year span from her childhood to her death.
If you think you don't know enough of this beautiful talented actress, listed below are few unknown facts about Meena Kumari.
1) Meena Kumari's father Ali Baksh left her at a Muslim orphanage since they were unable to pay the fees of Dr Gadre, who had delivered her. However, he picked her up after a few hours.
2) Meena Kumari almost drowned while shooting for Baiju Bawara.
3) Pakeezah took 14 long years to complete. It's said that since Meena Kumari could not do the dance numbers because of her age, Director Kamal Amrohi brought in Padma Khanna who danced to the number. Her face was covered with Ghunghat throughout.
4) Meena Kumari's mother was a Hindu and her original name was Prabhavati Devi. After marriage, she converted from Hinduism to Islam, and changed her name to Iqbal Begum.
5) Though Mahjabeen wanted to study, the financial status of her family compelled her to act in Hindi movies as a child artiste. She was the bread winner of her family.
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Meena Kumari gained fame with her role as a heroine in Vijay Bhatt's Baiju Bawra (1952). She became the first actress to win the Filmfare Best Actress Award in 1953 for this performance.
Mehmood married Meena Kumari's sister. Mehmood taught table tennis to Meena Kumari.
Meena Kumari's best role was in Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962), produced by Guru Dutt. Meena Kumari played Chhoti Bahu, an alcoholic wife.
Meena Kumari became Film Director Kamal Amrohi's second wife. Her personal life also depicted the same tragedy as her films.
Meena Kumari In Pakeezah
Pakeezah, starring Meena Kumari and directed by her ex-husband Kamal Amrohi, took 14 years to complete. The shooting stopped after their separation in March 1964, when it was more than halfway complete. It was Sunil Dutt and Nargis in 1969 who convinced the estranged Amrohi and Kumari to complete it.
Meena Kumari's heavy drinking had badly damaged her liver, and in 1968 she fell seriously ill.
After Meena Kumari returned from London after undergoing treatment for illness, she began settling her debts and also made peace with her sister, Madhu, whom she had not spoken to for two years.
Because of her heavy drinking, Meena Kumari lost her good looks. In later years, she began playing character roles in movies like Jawab (1970) and Dushman (1972).
Meena Kumari In Pakeezah
Pakeezah opened to a lukewarm response at the Box Office. However, after Meena Kumari's death, people flocked to see it, making it a major Box-Office success.