Iconic actress and tragedy queen of Indian Cinema Meena Kumari would have celebrated her 86th birthday, had she been alive. West Bengal Chief Minister remembered legendary actress on the occasion
“Remembering legendary actress Meena Kumari on her birth anniversary,” Banerjee posted on her social networking page. Born on this day in 1933, Meena Kumari grew up on camera, lighting up the silver screen from the age of four when she was known as “Baby Meena.” Over time, she emerged as one of Indian cinema’s foremost actors.
She went on to set milestones in Indian cinema with her roles in Halaku (1956), Yahudi (1958), Char Dil Char Rahen (1959), Dil Apna Aur Preet arayi (1960),
Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, Main Chup Rahungi, Aarti (all 1962), Benazir (1964), Bahu Begum (1967), Mere Apne (1971) and eventually her swan-song, the long-delayed Pakeezah, completed just before her death in 1972.
While known as a tragedienne, she could do comic roles with aplomb too — as seen in films like Miss Mary (1957), Shararat (1959) and Kohinoor (1960) — but never got much of a chance in this genre. This was perhaps the biggest tragedy for Meena Kumari.
Meena 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.
She made history at the 10th Filmfare Awards (1963), by receiving all of the nominations for Best Actress and won for her performance in Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam. In the 13th Filmfare Awards (1966), Meena won her last Best Actress award for Kaajal.
The greatest hallmark of Meena laid in her ability to depict the struggle of Indian women existing especially in the 50s and 60s. Meena’s onscreen persona is described as a perfect example of a traditional Bharatiya Nari by the Indian film fraternity, such as Mohammed Zahur Khayyam and Javed Akhtar. Her portrayal of “Sahibjaan”, a nautch girl with a golden heart in Pakeezah under Kamal Amrohi’s direction became a historical document.
Meena was just 38 when she died of liver failure, weeks after the release of the movie “Pakeezah”