Meena Kumari, one of the finest actresses of Bollywood, continues to mesmerise Hindi cinema aficionados across the globe. The ‘tragedy queen’ was a soulful, poetic and timeless beauty, who symbolises love, loneliness and melancholy for generations of cinema lovers. In 30 years of her career, she saw many ups and downs. Starting her career at the age of 7, instead of going to school, she found true recognition as a heroine after Baiju Bawra (1952). Today on Meena Kumari’s 84th birth anniversary, we remember the Pakeezah actress through her top films.
Pakeezah is a 1972 Indian film, written and directed by Kamal Amrohi, who was known for his perfectionism. The music is by Ghulam Mohammed and Naushad Ali. The film tells the story of a Lucknawi courtesan played by actress Meena Kumari. Meena Kumari died shortly after the film was completed.
2. Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam:
Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam is a 1962 Indian Hindi film produced by Guru Dutt and directed by Abrar Alvi. It is based on a Bengali novel, Shaheb Bibi Golam by Bimal Mitra, and is a look into the tragic fall of the haveli-dom and feudalism in Bengal during the British Raj.
3. Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai:
Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai is a 1960 Hindi romantic drama film written and directed by Kishore Sahu. The film stars Raaj Kumar, Meena Kumari and Nadira as leads. The film tells the story of a surgeon is obligated to marry the daughter of a family friend, while he is love with a colleague nurse, played Meena Kumari. It is one of the noted acting performances of lead actress Meena Kumari's career.
Parineeta is a 1953 Bollywood film starring Ashok Kumar and Meena Kumari, based upon the 1914 Bengali novel of the same name by Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay, which was earlier filmed in Bengali. The film was directed by Bimal Roy. This version of the film is considered by many to be the most faithful adaptation of the novella, particularly due to Meena Kumari's interpretation of the role of Lalita.
5. Baiju Bawra:
The film that won her fame, also almost killed her. During the filming of Vijay Bhatt’s Baiju Bawra (1952), Meena Kumari almost drowned to death. The film was based on the life of a dhrupad musician from medieval India.