Meena Kumari is regarded as one of the finest actresses of Bollywood. The 'tragedy queen' had an elaborate career of 30 years facing many ups and down. On the 84th birth anniversary of the legendary actress, let's take a look at her life.
Meena Kumari was born as Mahjabeen Bano to Ali Baksh and Iqbal Begum. While her father was a theatre person and poet, her mother was a stage actress and dancer.
Mahjabeen started acting when she was seven. Even though she wanted to study, her family conditions were such that she had no option but to take up acting as career
Her first role was in the film 'Farzand-e-Watan' or 'Leatherface'. It was released in 1939. Although, it was Vijay Bhatt's film 'Baiju Bawra' that helped her grab everyone's attention.
Meena Kumari fell in love with and married director Kamal Amrohi, who was already married at the time.
Her 1962 film 'Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam' was about the conflict of a wife trapped in a loveless marriage. It became a cult film for its similarity with Meena Kumari's own life.
In 1962, she made history by getting all the three nominations for Filmfare Best Actress Award, for her roles in 'Aarti', 'Main Chup Rahungi', and 'Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam', winning for the last.
'Pakeezah', starring Kumari and directed by her ex-husband Kamal Amrohi, took 14 years to reach the silver screen. First planned by Amrohi in 1958, the film went on the studio floors in 1964, but the shooting came to a standstill after their separation in March 1964.
In her career spanning about three decades, she appeared in over 90 films in her life. However, her most memorable work was her role in 'Pakeezah'.
After her divorce with Amrohi, she fell severely ill in 1968. She had to be taken out of country for treatment. The actress died on 31 March 1972 of liver cirrhosis.