Indian Cinderella – Meena Kumari

Meena Kumari, who is considered one of the most beautiful and talented actors in Indian cinema, would have turned 85 today. She began acting when she was 4 years old. Google celebrated the ethereal beauty by creating a doodle that has everyone remembering and paying rich tributes to the Queen of Tragedy, who made films such as Pakeezah, an eternal classic.

Meena Kumari’s birth name was Mahjabeen Bano. She was an extremely gifted young woman who was not only an actress, but also a singer and a poet under the pseudonym “Naaz”.

Known for her vulnerable, and achingly real and poignant portrayals of women in the 50s and 60s, she was also known as the Guru Dutt of Indian cinema and The Cinderella of Indian films.  

Indian film critics regarded Meena Kumari as a “historical incomparable” actress.

Meena Kumari starred in more than 92 films in a career spanning more than three decades. Some of her most outstanding performances were in films such as Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, Pakeezah, Mere Apne, Aarti, Baiju Bawra, Parineeta, Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai, Foot Path, Dil Ek Mandir and Kaajal.

 Together with filmmaker and her husband Kamal Amrohi, Meena Kumari created cinematic history. Her Portrayal of Sahibjaan in Pakeezah, remains the gold standard in acting, directing, styling and art direction.

According to Wikipedia, Meena Kumari’s father Master Ali Bux had migrated from Bhera (now in Punjab province of Pakistan).He was a veteran of Parsi theater, played harmonium, taught music, wrote Urdu poetry, played small roles in films such as Eid Ka Chand and composed music for films like Shahi Lutere.

Meena Kumari’s mother Iqbal Begum, whose original name was Prabhavati Devi, was a Bengali Christian converted to Islam. Iqbal Begum was the second wife of Ali Bux. Before meeting and then marrying Ali Bux, she was a stage actress and dancer under the stage name “Kamini” and was related to nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s family.

 History of Pakeezah

The 1972 cult classic film Pakeezah, was written and directed by Kamal Amrohi, who was known for his perfectionism. The music is by Ghulam Mohammed and Naushad Ali. The concept, Kamal Amrohi said was inspired by his all consuming love for his wife Meena Kumari, also his greatest muse. In the film Meena Kumari looked like an exquisite creation, wearing salwars and jewellery that were crafted with love.

Her trademark- passas (maang tikas), haath phools and chokers with kundan, cluster pearls and meenakari, inspire festive and occasion look till date. Women on screen and off screen, have all emulated her look in the film, that is both glamorous, exotic, stylish and stunning beautiful. The colour palette was dominated by rich emerald greens, gold, maroons and whites.

The Pakeezah look has been recreated thousands of time in films and at special functions. You can also shop for the look here with matha pattis, passas, nose rings, haath phools, Necklaces, chokerchandelier earrings and chandbalis.

 

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