Legendry actor Meena Kumari would have turned 88 had she been alive today. A tremendous pool of talent but with a troubled personal life, Meena’s public and personal life were in perpetual conflict.
Meena Kumar was born on this day in the year 1933 and was an Indian film actress cum poet, who worked in Hindi films. Born Mahjabeen, the actor started out as a child actor, aged only four, in a film called Leatherface. Popularly known as The Tragedy Queen, she was active between 1939 and 1972. Kumari was described by critics as a “historically incomparable” actress of Hindi cinema.
Meena Kumari won four Filmfare Awards in the Best Actress category. She was the recipient of the inaugural Filmfare Best Actress Award for Baiju Bawra in 1954 and had a consecutive win in the second Filmfare Awards (1955) for Parineeta. Kumari made history at the 10th Filmfare Awards (1963), by receiving all three of the Best Actress nominations, and won for her performance in Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam. In the 13th Filmfare Awards (1966), Kumari won her last Best Actress award for Kaajal. Critics often noted that her character in Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam was similar to her own real-life story.
From then till her death in 1972, she was a tour de force in Hindi cinema. With her acting prowess and screen persona, she was unmatched. In film after film, her tragic characters spoke of the broken dreams of an entire generation of men and women. She was a star from the word go.
Meena Kumari’s biography could well revive conversations about men who loved and left her
Veteran journalist Vinod Mehta’s biography of Meena Kumari , first published in 1972, finds it way back to the shelves again this month. Written at a time when biographies were few and far between, and stars still had a certain enigma, it is as relevant today as it was at that time.