By Kalash Khurana Last Updated:
Meena Kumari, one of the legendary actresses of her generation, was the epitome of grace and beauty. Despite being a successful actress, her personal life was never a bed of roses. Often described as ‘the tragedy queen’, Meena Kumari had her own share of ups and downs, but she lived her life like a pro, without any regrets. From succumbing to excessive drinking and getting married at a young age to an abusive husband, she endured it all. However, Meena Kumari continued to lead a queen-sized life.
Recently, we got hold of an unseen picture of Meena Kumari from the sets of her last film, Pakeezah, directed by Kamal Amrohi. Clicked in the early 60s, the picture showed the late actress wearing a green-hued anarkali, which was reportedly designed by her. She completed her look with a matching dupatta and a pink-hued churidar. Her outfit had intricate embroidery work in pure gold work which was done by experienced artisans. Styling her look with heavy gold jewellery, Meena looked breathtaking.
For the unversed, Meena Kumari was head-over-heels in love with an already-married man, Kamal Amrohi, who was also a father of three children. Meena Kumari was only 18 years old when she got married to a much older man, Kamal Amrohi, on February 14, 1952, in a secret nikaah ceremony. However, Meena became a victim of domestic abuse in her marriage with Kamal, and they finally got divorced in 1968. Later, Meena succumbed to her reckless alcoholic behaviour due to which her health gradually deteriorated. The actress left for the heavenly abode on March 31, 1972, at the mere age of 38.
Did you know it was only a month after the release of her last film, Pakeezah that Meena Kumari left the mortal plane? For the unversed, the actress suffered so much financial crisis in the last few days before her untimely death that her family couldn't even pay the fees for her hospitalisation. Once, in a throwback interview with Rediff in 2014, director, Bimal Roy’s daughter, Rinki Roy Bhattacharya opened up about the same and revealed that Meena Kumari's family was unable to pay Rs. 3500 to release her dead body from the hospital. Rinki shared:
“When this actress of high calibre, the reigning Goddess of cinema breathed her last on the afternoon of March 31, 1972, at 3:25 pm in St Elizabeth’s nursing home, she did not have Rs 3,500 required to release her body.”
Born as Mahjabeen Bano, Meena Kumari was one of the most bankable actresses in the Indian film industry. She started her acting career as a child artist with the 1939 film, Leatherface with the stage name, Baby Mahjabeen. Meena is known for her iconic roles in films like Baiju Bawra, Pakeezah, Ghazal, Parineeta, Kaajal, Kohinoor, Sahib, Biwi Aur Ghulam, Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai and Dil Ek Mandir. In her successful career spanning 33 years, Meena acted in a total of 90 movies.
We are in awe of this rare picture of Meena Kumari from the early 60s!