Meena Kumari Poster

Biography

The Empress of Indian Cinema!

A Sweetheart of 1950s, & The Undisputed Goddess of 1960s Bollywood, Meena Kumari bestrode the movies like few women in history have!

Combing enchanting grace, amazingly heart-melting expression, & consistently solid progressive content base, this Giant of Cinema will remain immortal as perhaps the greatest feminine incarnation of filmdom!

Born in 1933 into a poor Parsee theatre family of Ali Bux and actor-dancer Prabhavati Devi (converted to Iqbal Begum) (her mother's first husband till death, incidentally, being the cousin of Rabindranath Tagore, she in turn borne of her second husband, a very famous Urdu poet of Meerut, from where she migrated to pursue a career in music) in Bombay, Maharashtra, India, she entered films to support her family in difficult times.

She was six when hired for Leatherface (1939) in 1939 by Vijay Bhatt and named Baby Meena. Later she became Meena Kumari when cast for Bhatt's Baiju Bawra (1952).

She did mythological films with Homi Wadia and then comedies like Miss Mary (1957). She became personified as the archetypal good Hindu wife through many roles, long suffering and always true to the man. She excelled at tragedy and was often shown in a white sari carrying the film with her emotive acting. She was also thought to be the only actress who could sell a film on the strength of her name alone. Her major films are Daaera (1953), Baiju Bawra (1952), 0046164, and of course her most well known film, Pakeezah (1972). She was married to Kamal Amrohi with whom she started making "Pakeezah". They separated in 1964.

She was also an accomplished Urdu writer and had several poems published by Gulzar after her death. She battled alcoholism and loneliness and finally died, alone, in 1972.