wiki:Meena Kumari

Meena Kumari (1933-72)

Hindi-Urdu star born in Bombay; daughter of the Parsee theatre actor, singer and music teacher Ali Bux and the dancer Iqbal Begum. Having hit upon hard times and living near the Rooptara Studios, Ali Bux sought to get his three daughters into films. The middle daughter, Mahajabeen, was hired aged 6, renamed Baby Meena and cast by Vijay Bhatt in Leatherface. Later, for Bhatt’s big musical Baiju Bawra, she was named Meena Kumari. Acted in mythologicals by e.g. Homi Wadia and Nanabhai Bhatt. Best known in the 50s for comedies (Miss Mary) and socials (Parineeta), even appearing in Do Bigha Zameen. Her main persona was constructed via Kamal Amrohi’s Daera, Bimal Roy’s Yahudi and Guru Dutt’ Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, culminating in her most famous film, Pakeezah. Deploying the image of the ‘innocent’ courtesan first developed by Zubeida, her arched body, limpid eyes and tremulous voice combined with the lavish sets and costumes to create the classic image of the exotic Oriental, an icon achieved by mixing the Urdu stage historical with European neoclassical ornamentation (cf. Aga Hashr Kashmiri), e.g. in the mise en scene of the Na jao saiyan song in Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam. Married Amrohi, director of her best work, but then broke with him in 1964. The couple eventually completed the film they had jointly conceived, Pakeezah, in 1971 just before her death. Her off-screen life extended her image as the lovelorn woman who drowns her passion in drink. Wrote poems in Urdu using the pen-name Naaz, a collection of which, Tanha Chand [The Solitary Moon], compiled by Gulzar, was published after her death. In their Women Writing in India (vol. 2, 1993), which includes one of the star’s poems, Susie Tharu and K. Lalitha describe her as ‘an exceptionally beautiful and talented actress, always dressed in white’, and they quote Afeefa Banu’s comment that she is ‘an object of fantasy and a motif of melancholy’.

FILMOGRAPHY: 1939: Leatherface; 1940: Ek Hi Bhool; Pooja; 1941: Kasauti; Bahen; Nai Roshni; 1942: Garib; 1943: Pratigya; 1944: Lal Haveli; 1946: Bachchon Ka Khel; Duniya Ek Sarai; 1947: Piya Ghar Aaja; 1948: Bichhade Balam; 1949: Veer Ghatotkach; 1950: Magroor; Shri Ganesh Mahima; Hamara Ghar; 1951: Hanuman Pataal Vijay; Lakshmi Narayan; Madhosh; Sanam; 1952: Alladdin And The Wonderful Lamp; Baiju Bawra; Tamasha; 1953: Daera; Dana Pani; Do Bigha Zameen; Footpath; Naulakha Haar; Parineeta; 1954: Baadbaan; Chandni Chowk; Ilzaam; 1955: Adl-e-Jehangir; Azad; Bandish; Rukhsana; 1956: Bandhan; Ek Hi Raasta; Halaku; Mem Sahib; Naya Andaz; Shatranj; 1957: Miss Mary; Sharada; 1958: Farishta; Sahara; Savera; Yahudi; 1959: Ardhangini; Chand; Char Dil Char Raahein; Chirag Kahan Roshni Kahan; Jagir; Madhu; Satta Bazaar; Shararat; 1960: Bahana; Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi; Kohinoor; 1961: Bhabhi Ki Chudiyan; Pyar Ka Sagar; Zindagi Aur Khwab; 1962: Aarti; Main Chup Rahungi; Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam; 1963: Akeli Mat Jaiyo; Dil Ek Mandir; Kinare Kinare; 1964: Benazir; Chitralekha; Ghazal; Main Bhi Ladki Hoon; Sanjh Aur Savera; 1965: Bheegi Raat; Kajal; Purnima; 1966: Phool Aur Patthar; Pinjre Ke Panchhi; 1967: Bahu Begum; Chandan Ka Palna; Manjhli Didi; Noorjehan; 1968: Abhilasha; Baharon Ki Manzil; 1970: Jawab; Saat Phere; 1971: Dushman; Mere Apne;Pakeezah; 1972: Gomti Ke Kinare.

Actor

Last modified 7 years ago Last modified on Jun 25, 2012, 4:19:47 PM