When we talk about the legendary actors of Hindi cinema we cannot forget Meena Kumari. Born on 1 August 1933 Meena Kumari was one of the finest actresses of her era. With her performances, she conquered the hearts of millions including audiences and critics alike, and her impact is such that we can not forget her till date. The way she acted and the way she essayed her character was beyond brilliance. During a career span which lasted for more than 30 years, Meena Kumari undoubtedly gave a number of hits.
Some of her best movies include Pakeezah, Kaajal, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, Parineeta, Do Bigha Zamin, Dil Ek Mandir, Aarti, and Azaad. Though people knew her as a refined actor, there were certain facts about Meena Kumari which are still not widely known.
1. She was a poet under the pen name Naaz
Meena Kumari loved writing. Though she didn’t get any formal education, she still had a passion for reading and writing Urdu poetry. In fact, she was very particular about her words. Looking at her compositions one could feel that they greatly related to her life. For instance, after separation from husband Kamal Amrohi, in 1964 one could gradually feel the pain, loneliness, and sadness which she was going through.
2. She was the ‘Tragedy Queen of Bollywood’
Everyone knows that she was called the tragedy queen of Hindi Cinema, but only a few people know what’s the actual reason behind this title. Meena Kumari often portrayed roles which were full of sorrow and tragedies, therefore she earned the title, “Tragedy Queen”. Another reason was that from her childhood to her glory days, her life was full up of struggles.
3. Started her career at a young age
Meena Kumari’s real name was Mahjabeen Bano. She started working at the tender age of four and became the earning pillar of her family. Initially, she worked in Leatherface, Adhuri Kahani, Pooja and Ek Hi Bhool.
4. The reason why she hid her left-hand from the camera
The reason behind Meena Kumari hiding her left hand from the camera isn’t known by everyone. The Pakeezah star had an accident for which she was also hospitalized. The accident greatly affected the pinky finger on her left hand. Apparently, the bone lost it’s original confirmation and got damaged. Hence, she used to hide her left hand with the dupattas and saris during the shoots.
5. Marriage to Kamal Amrohi
Meena Kumari met Kamal Amrohi through actor Ashok Kumar in 1952. It was like fate had decided to unite both of them, and they both got married on 14 February 1952. However, things didn’t turn out in the way they were supposed to. Conflicts and personal differences engulfed their relationship. The couple separated in 1960 and ultimately got a divorce in 1964.
6. The reason why she gifted her bungalow to Mumtaz
How many of us know the reason behind Meena Kumari gifting her bungalow to actress Mumtaz? Apparently, Mumtaz once worked in a film for Meena Kumari. Due to some financial issues, Meena was unable to pay Mumtaz. The amount to be paid was three lakhs. Though Mumtaz never mentioned anything, it seemed that Meena remembered. One day when Meena was very sick, she called Mumtaz over and gifted her Carter road bungalow to Mumtaz as compensation for the payment.
7. Addiction to alcohol
Post her divorce from husband Kamal Amrohi, the actress became addicted to alcohol which adversely affected her health in the long run. Her health continued to deteriorate. In 1968, the actress was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver.
8. She Left her diaries with Gulzaar
Meena had a real passion for writing. The poems written by her says it all! Her poems were so well composed that many of them even got published. Apparently, it seems that she left her diaries with Gulzar.
9. Her love for white
Meena Kumari loved white color. Vinod Mehta in his biography of Meena Kumari (Meena Kumari: The Classic Biography) mentioned that she hated ostentatious events. Even when she used to appear at Filmfare award functions, she used to wear her white saris. This goes to prove that she truly adored the white color.
Meena Kumari died on 31 March 1972, just three weeks after the release of Pakeezah.