85th birth anniversary: Visiting Meena Kumari’s uncharted labyrinthine past!

‘Tora man darpan kahlaiye…man hi devta, man hi ishwar, man se bada na koi’

‘Andaz mera mastana … ki ho jaye na tu deewana…,’ ‘Ruk ja raat, theher jaa re chanda…’ the songs resuscitate the memory of one of the greatest heroines in the Indian cinema. She is none other than the multifaceted and seasoned actress Meena Kumari whose timeless song from iconic movie ‘Paakizah’ – ‘Inhi logon ne …inhi logon ne le li na dopatta mera,’ still reverberates in mind.  


Meena Kumari aka Mehjabeen Bano – the very name pushes us in the whirlpool of nostalgia and a montage of her images floats in our mind: seductive, melodramatic, damsel in distress, sad and poignant look and comical too. Every image tells its own story. The 85th birth anniversary has once again allowed us to peek into certain uncharted latent facets of her persona.   


Many believe, she shares shades of similarity with the current heartthrob Kangana Ranaut. Not in look, not in her attitude and neither in her portrayal in the movies. Both worked in different genres and are distanced by over three decades. But the time freezes, once we reach at one point: strong feminist trait.


The legendary actress charmed audiences through her diverse roles: jilted lover, romantic lass, seductive songs, broken-heart damsel, lady trapped in a brothel crooning mujras, and many more. Kangana, on the contrary, plays roles that are quite different for her. But, both reeled through masculine wraths and at different points of time aired their displeasure that keeps such tormented women in good humor.


Nepotism and favoritism prevailed during those times too, but couldn’t reach people as fast as it is today due to social media. Many facts of her life still remain hidden in mystery. Meena Kumari immersed herself in wines in a false hope to lessen pain. Sources say the actress used men and seldom allowed herself to be used by them. So there’s a great paradox in the narrative. She had a volatile love-life and made no bones about it. Several men came into her life and she led colorful life – not for the sake of publicity and self-promotion but self satisfaction that too under the full glow of media.


According to hearsay, she was left outside an orphanage when she was a child by her father.  The gorgeous and seductive actress died at the tender age of 38 – leaving behind vivid and poignant memory and of course a big void yet to be filled.  

Tags : Kangana Ranaut Meena Kumari