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Meena Kumari and her tragic death

Her doctor suggested her a peg of brandy as a sleeping pill and the medicine became a habit that eventually killed her.


Devdicourse News Desk 01 Aug 2018, 07:49 AM India
  • Her doctor suggested her a peg of brandy as a sleeping pill and the medicine became a habit that eventually killed her. (Image Credit: Twitter)

Meena Kumari, India’s tragic queen would be celebrating her 85th birthday had she been alive today.

Born as Mohjabeen Bano, the Indian film actress and singer wrote under the pseudo name “Naaz”. The female Guru Dutt of Hindi films, she was popularly known as “The Tragedy Queen”.

Regarded as historically incomparable, she starred in more than 90 films during a tenure of 33 years. Her famous films include Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam, Pakeezah, Mere Apne, Aarti, Baiju Bawra, Parineeta, Footpath and Kaajal.

She married Kamal Amrohi and gradually moved towards a sad, deteriorated life. She had to ask permission from her husband to continue her acting work. She was a chain breaker. The terms she agreed to follow were soon broken by her.

Her professional career and personal were poles apart. She was continuously kept under a watch by her husband. She was a patient of chronic insomnia. Her doctor suggested her a peg of brandy as a sleeping pill and the medicine became a habit that eventually killed her.

Her film Pakeezah and her role in it are still appreciated. A lot of people know about Meena that she was a poet, but she never tried to print her poems. Some of his poems in Urdu have been published later in the name of Naz.

Kumari was a common face featured in several film magazines and beauty soap throughout her career. Her stepson remembers that Meena Kumari was an avid reader of Agatha Christie's novels and was always in the habit of keeping mogra flowers near the bed before sleeping.

The directors of Jahan Ara (1964) approached Kumari to play Jahan Ara Begum. It was the time when Kumari was making films that were commercially successful and critically acclaimed. Meena Kumari entrusted this role to her friend, the actress Mala Sinha. This film not only received the critics' appreciation but also led to a Best Actress nomination at the 12th Filmfare Awards. She died on March 31, 1972, at the age of 38.


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