Happy birthday Meena Kumari: Melodies to remember the tragedy queen | bollywood | Hindustan Times
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Happy birthday Meena Kumari: Melodies to remember the tragedy queen

August 1 marks the 84th birth anniversary of the exceptionally intriguing Bollywood actor, Meena Kumari. Meena was also a poet who wrote under the pen name Naaz. We bring some of the best melodies picturised on her.

bollywood Updated: Aug 01, 2016 14:21 IST
Sweta Kaushal
August 1 marks the 84th birth anniversary of the exceptionally intriguing Bollywood actor, Meena Kumari. Meena was also a poet who wrote under the pen name Naaz. We bring some of the best melodies picturised on her.
August 1 marks the 84th birth anniversary of the exceptionally intriguing Bollywood actor, Meena Kumari. Meena was also a poet who wrote under the pen name Naaz. We bring some of the best melodies picturised on her.

August 1 marks the 84th birth anniversary of the exceptionally intriguing Bollywood actor, Meena Kumari.

Known as a tragedienne -- an actor who specialises in tragic roles, Meena Kumari’s life was filled with sadness both onscreen and off screen. From childhood struggles to fighting diseases and failed relationships, she truly became a tragedy queen.

Meena Kumari played a courtesan in Pakeezah, opposite Ashok Kumar and Rajkummar, one of her best movies.

Born in a Mumbai chawl to a family unable to pay the clinic’s fee, Meena was abandoned at birth. Her real name was Mahajabeen, and her maternal grandmother, who had left home after being widowed and remarried, was the daughter of Rabindranath Tagore’s brother.

Even in death, the 39-year-old lived her tragedy; though she was wealthy like none other of her times, she was couldn’t even afford her hospital bills when she died.

See pics: Tragedy queen Meena Kumari

Lesser-known facts

Meena Kumari’s first role was in the 1939 film Farzand-e-Watan.

In his biography of Meena, Vinod Mehta wrote that Kamal Amrohi first met the actor when she was six years old and he was looking for a child artiste. Fourteen years later, he married her, ironically, on February 14, Valentine’s Day.

Meena was also a poet who wrote under the pen name Naaz.

The actor took to drinking initially because she was exhausted. Her physician had prescribed a peg of brandy as a sleeping pill. Amrohi would later discover that the bottles of Dettol in his bathroom were actually filled with brandy.

We bring some of the best melodies picturised on her:

Ajeeb Daastan

Dil Apna Aur Pret Parayi (1960)

Na Jaao Saiyaan

Sahib, Biwi Aur Ghulam (1962)

Ruk Ja Raat

Dil Ek Mandir (1963)

Tora Mann Darpan

Kaajal (1965)

Entire Pakeezah album

Pakeezah (1972)

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