Google has especially designed a doodle for Meena Kumari, born Mahjabeen Bano, on her 85th birth anniversary today, August 01, 2018.
Meena Kumari, also known as the tragedy queen, had a dramatic life story. She made her entry into the film industry as a child actor at the age of four. Fame followed, as did marriage to the director-producer Kamal Amrohi. A tumultuous family life and separation preceded her demise at an untimely age of 39 due to liver cirrhosis.
One still cannot forget her in films like Baiju Bawra (1952) to Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962) and Pakeezah (1972). Her real-life circumstances had a great deal to contribute to her screen image. Nearly abandoned at birth by her father, her childhood was cut short by her parents demand that she work to support the family. This led to a habit of heavy drinking that ultimately proved fatal when she was in her prime.
Her strong roles and fame made even established male stars chary of appearing opposite her, while her biographer, renowned journalist Vinod Mehta, noted that even Dilip Kumar grew flustered in her presence and Raaj Kumar frequently forgot his dialogues. But she was encouraging to newcomers, and some of the earliest successes of Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar, Dharmendra and even Vinod Khanna were opposite her.
Born on August 01, 1933, Mahjabeen Bano saw her father Ali Bux, a stage artiste who never made it big in Bollywood, and mother Iqbal Begum, a stage actress, who was the granddaughter of Rabindranath Tagore’s younger brother) try to achieve their desires vicariously through her. When she was only four, they started taking her around film studios angling for a role for her.
Meena Kumari 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 Parayi (1960), Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962), Benazir (1964), Bahu Begum (1967), Mere Apne (1971) and eventually her swan-song, Pakeezah, which she completed just before her death in the year 1972.
She even carried comic roles with aplomb and films like Miss Mary (1957), Shararat (1959) and Kohinoor (1960).
Meena Kumari passed away on March 31, 1972.