Music label Saregama and actor-producer Bilal Amrohi on Tuesday announced a fictional series based on the iconic Meena Kumari-starrer “Pakeezah”. The news comes days after the 50th anniversary of the Kamal Amrohi directorial, which was released on February 4, 1972.
The romantic-musical-drama movie revolved around a courtesan called Nargis, played by Kumari, and her forbidden love. The film, also featuring Raaj Kumar and Ashok Kumar, went on floors in 1956 and reportedly took about 16 years to arrive at the big screen. “Pakeezah” opened to lukewarm response from the critics but was praised by the audience. But Kumari's untimely death on March 31, 1972 due to liver cirrhosis, led to the film becoming one of the top grossers of that year.
The actor, known as the tragedy queen of Bollywood, was 39 when she died. Amrohi and Kumari had married in 1952, but their relationship soured later.
In a press statement, Saregama said they have collaborated with Bilal Amrohi, grandson of the celebrated filmmaker Kamal Amrohi, on a fictional series that will capture the intense love story between the director and Kumari, his muse, that played out against the backdrop of the creation of this iconic film.
The series will be made under the banner of Yoodlee Films, the studio production arm of Saregama, and will feature details of their lives and incidents surrounding the sixteen-year journey of making of the film, it said.
Bilal Amrohi said having heard stories of his grandfather’s eye for perfectionism, it will be a tall order to do justice to the vision of the filmmaker through the upcoming series. “The film cost almost one-and-a-half-crore rupees at the time of its making but more than the money, 16 years of my grandfather's life was also invested in it. It is daunting to narrate the story of the making of the classic for today's audience.
“Yoodlee Films is as passionate about the project as we are. Together, we will hopefully pay the perfect tribute to the filmmaker whose obsession for perfection produced one of the landmark films of India,” Bilal Amrohi said in a statement.
Vikram Mehra, MD of Saregama, India, said they are excited and humbled to bring out a treasure trove of a story to today’s audience. “The story of the making of 'Pakeezah’ is one of guts, gumption, and greatness. For us in Yoodlee, to partner on a series depicting the trials and tribulations to make 'Pakeezah’, was a project with all the right connections,” Mehra said. “That we are embarking on something this challenging proves how serious we are about creating clutter-breaking content and leaving our stamp on the web content space,” he added.
Yoodlee Films will soon be announcing the director and the cast for the series, which will go on the floors in 2023.