She was only a six-year-old child when the responsibility of raising her family fell on her young shoulders. The profession was acting and the film was named – Baby Meena. Thirteen years is the age of children to play and play, at this innocent age she became a complete actor Meena Kumari from Baby Meena. At the age of thirty-eight years and seven months, he prepared to say goodbye to the world. She was called the ‘Tragedy Queen’, not because of the characters she played like the tragedy king Dilip Kumar, but because of the tragic ups and downs in her personal life.
Even the words ‘tragedy queen’ might seem small to you when you come to know that a newly born baby girl had to leave the orphanage because her parents did not have the money to pay the doctor’s fees. Later it should be that the compulsive father does not obey and he reaches back at the door of the orphanage to pick up his daughter. Where he sees that ants are crawling on the body of that little life of one day. Even then, would you just shrug off calling her the ‘tragedy queen’?
This tragic cycle, which started with birth, continued almost forever, until the breath refused to support the body. Yes it is definitely that the date of birth was between 1st August 1933 to 31st March 1972, but there were moments of happiness, but his life was never very long. Love was found, maybe even for a short time, but the ending, like his own films, was never happy.
It is said that a heart drenched with pain has the power to create something wonderful, whether it is creation in some form, whether it is a serious act on a film reel or singing or poetry. Meena Kumari perfectly fits this statement. The actress and poet ‘Naz’, who has stunned the audience with her performance in more than 90 films on the strength of her lively acting, voodoo voice and her unmatched beauty, says about herself –
‘What will you do after listening to my story,
The tales of Belut Zindagi are faded and faded.
Meena Kumari, whose real name was Mahjabeen Bano, used to do poetry under the name ‘Meena Kumari Naaz’. Meena Kumari did not want her ghazals and nazmes to be published anywhere. His writing was self-satisfying writing. He used to have meetings with his friend Gulzar and there used to be a period of listening and reciting Sher-o-Shayari between the two. After the death of Meena Kumari, Gulzar released a compilation of her nazms and ghazals in the name of ‘Tanha Chand’.
Like the failed Prem, her marriage to film director Kamal Amrohi was also not successful. After completing ‘Pakeezah’, both of them came together again. Meena’s wish to see ‘Pakeezah’ come on screen was definitely fulfilled, but Meena, who made the film a super hit, could not be a part of the celebration of her hit. Meena Kumari wanted these lines to be inscribed on her grave:
‘She lives her life’
an incomplete instrument,
an unfinished song,
a broken heart,
but with no regrets
In the olden days, the Filmfare Award used to have that status in Bollywood, which is the Oscar Award in the world these days. The organizers of this most prestigious award of the country were put in an awkward position by Meena Kumari in 1962. In fact, the award givers keep the audience in suspense till the final announcement as to which film or artist will get a chance to sit on the highest throne of eminence in that particular year.
It happened that in 1962, three films were nominated for Best Actress, ‘Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam’, ‘Main Chup Rahungi’ and ‘Aarti’. Meena Kumari was the heroine of all three films. This year Meena Kumari’s competition was only from Meena Kumari. It was a rare occasion when it was decided along with the nomination which actress would get the Filmfare Award for that year. That is, the suspense of the mystery movie ends as soon as it starts. However, the award went to ‘Chhoti Bahu’ of ‘Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam’, who made the song ‘Na Jao Saiyan Chhu Ke Bainya’ live on screen. The film was nominated for the Berlin International Festival, where Meena Kumari was selected to represent.
Meena Kumari did playback singing in the first few films, later she focused on acting. Even though the songs sung by him did not become popular, but people used to listen to the songs filmed on him with great enthusiasm. The songs sung by Lata Mangeshkar in her last film ‘Pakeezah’ still resonate in the air – ye leena dupatta mera, chalo dildar chalo, yun koi mil gaya tha, thaade rahiyo o banke yaar.
Apart from this, her songs sung on screen – Hum Tere Pyar Mein Sara Alam Kho Baite (Dil Ek Mandir), Piya Aiso Jiya Mein (Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam), Tora Man Darpan Kehlaye (Kajal), Hum Intezaar Karenge Tera Qayamat Tak (Bahu Begum) ), Nagma O Sher Ki Baraat Kisse Peshwa (Ghazal), Dil Jo Na Kehna Saka (Bheegi Raat), Door Koi Gaye Dhun Yeh Sunaye (Baiju Bawra) and Na Bole Na Bole Radha Na Bole Re (Azad) were also widely heard. Huh.
The film ‘Baiju Bawra’ released in 1952 made Meena Kumari’s name reach door to door. The film continued to illuminate the golden screen for a whole hundred weeks. In 1954, she was awarded the first Filmfare Award for Best Actress for this film. ‘Parineeta’ (1953) made a special place in the hearts of women. People were not only convinced of his different style of acting but his captivating voice also captivated the audience. She also received the Filmfare Award for Best Actress for her second consecutive year for ‘Parineeta’. His social concern film ‘Do Bigha Zamin’ (1953) came in the same year. This film got the status of the first film to be awarded at the 1954 Cannes Film Festival.
His famous films include Chandni Chowk, Ek Hi Raasta, Azad (Dilip Kumar), Jew, Sharda, Sahara, Dil Apna Preet Parai, Kohinoor, Main Chup Rahungi, Chitralekha, Kajal, Dil Ek Mandir. Gulzar’s portrayal of Nani Maa in ‘Mere Apne’ starring Shatrughan Sinha and Vinod Khanna was highly appreciated. Similarly, Rajesh Khanna – the widowed sister-in-law of Mumtaz’s hit film ‘Dushman’ also remained in the minds of the people for a long time.
Meena Kumari, who was born in Mumbai’s Mithawala Chawl, runs away from studies in the place and the circumstances in which she spent her childhood. Here the girl child was very fond of reading, but the economics pushed her away from school and into the professional world of acting. Later, Duniyadari taught him such a lesson in life that he became a serious poet.
Meena had a strange journey! Where did it start and where did it reach? In the movie ‘Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai’, sitting in a rocking boat, Meena Kumari in a white sari is singing a song or narrating her tales, don’t know?
Why with this light, smoke rose from the lamp,
I see this dream, I have woken up with a dream,
This is a strange story, where does it start and where does it end?
Which are these destinations, neither they can understand nor we.
(Disclaimer: These are the personal views of the author. The author himself is responsible for the correctness / accuracy of any information given in the article. News18Hindi is not responsible for this.)