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Remembering Meena Kumari, Bollywood's Tragedy Queen

Veteran actress Meena Kumari was born in a Muslim family and she was the youngest of the three siblings. Her original name was Mahjabeen Bano, but people recognize her with her filmy name as Meena Kumari.

The actresses wanted to pursue studies, but her family's the financial condition didn't allow her to do so. The actress started working in films at the tender age of seven. She played the role of a child artist in the film Farzand-E-Watan which released in the year 1939. The actress was fondly called as Baby Meena in her early days. Meena Kumari did a few mythological films like Ghatotkatch and Shri Ganesh Mahima which released in the years 1949 and 1950 respectively.

But, Meena Kumari established herself as a heroine with the film Baiju Bawara in which she was paired opposite veteran actor Bharat Bhushan. The actress was appreciated for her role in the film and also won her first Best Actress Award in the year 1953 for this film.

Meena Kumari did a lot of women-oriented films and her characters showed the on tragedies in the life of a woman. This resulted in the actress getting the title of Tragedy Queen of Bollywood.

Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam was the first major hit film of her career in which the actress essayed the role of an alcoholic wife. Her role of Choti bahu in the film was largely based on her real life. She continued to entertain the audiences with her stunning performances in films like Dil Ek Mandir, Kaajal and Phool Aur Patthar.

Meena Kumari was linked up with actor Dharmendra with whom she shared the screen space in the film Phool Aur Pathar. The actress said to be attracted towards lyricist Gulzar when they were shooting for the film Mere Apne.

Pakeezah, is the most memorable film of her career, the shooting of the film was stopped mid-way after the actress fell seriously ill. The actress got addicted to alcohol and was taken to London and Switzerland for treatment. Meena Kumari married director Kamal Amrohi in the year 1952 but her married life didn't succeed as the actor parted ways after a few years.

Take a look at Meena Kumari's life in pictures.

Baiju Bawra

Meena Kumari was paired opposite actor Bharat Bhushan. Vijay Bhatt directed this movie which was released in the year 1952. Baiju Bawra was a period drama set during the time of Akbar.


Meena Kumari played the role of Latita in the film. Parineeta was based on the Sharat Chand's popular novel of the same name. She shared the screen space with actor Ashok Kumar in this film. She bagged the Best Actress Award for her performance in the film.


Aplam Chaplam was the hit song of the film, which is popular even today. Meena Kumari teamed up with veteran actor Dilip Kumar for Azaad. The movie was directed by Sriramulu Naidu which was released in the year 1955.

Sahib, Biwi Aur Ghulam

This was her first commercial hit film and the actress was appreciated for the role of Choti Bahu. Meena Kumari was paired opposite actor Guru Dutt in this classic. Sahib, Biwi Aur Ghulam released in the year 1962.

Phool Aur Patthar

Meena Kumar was linked up with her co-star Dharmendra during the shooting of this film. The movie was released in the year 1966 and directed by OP Ralhan.


Meena Kumari would always be remembered for her stunning performance in this film, which also happened to be her last. The film's shooting was delayed many a times, as the actress fell seriously ill during the production stage. A few days after the film's release Bollywood's tragedy queen passed away. Pakeezah was directed by her husband Kamal Amrohi and was released in the year 1972.

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