We at BollywoodLife give a tribute to the Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam actress on her 47th death anniversary

Meena Kumari is generally referred to as the ‘tragedy queen’ of Hindi cinema. Born on August 1, 1933, Mahajabeen, better known as Meena Kumari, was one of the most beautiful heroines Hindi cinema has ever seen. While her father was a theatre personality and poet, her mother was a stage actor and dancer. The legend passed away on March 31, 1972 and we can’t help but remember her great work in the industry.Born as Mahjabeen Bano, she is one of the highly acclaimed actresses in the cinematic universe who left an impression hard to fade. Call her female Guru Dutt or Cinderella, she is one pillar of strength who led her life on her own terms. Meena Kumari’s personal life was as tragic as her roles in the movies. She married Kamal Amrohi, who was fifteen years older to her and a married man with a child. He refused to have kids with Meena Kumari as she was not a ‘Syed’. After 12 years of marriage, Kamal Amrohi and Meena Kumari divorced. This pushed this ethereal beauty into deep depression. She took to alcohol that completely damaged her liver. In 1968, she fell seriously ill owing to her drinking habits.

She portrayed strong yet vulnerable women who made their own way through life, although they were often devastated by romance. This gave her the epithet ‘Tragedy Queen’. She came to be known for sailing through complex emotions on-screen with ease. In her over three decade long career, she appeared in more than 90 films. However, her most memorable work was her role in Pakeezah. Even today, many refer to her as the most beautiful woman of the Indian film industry – besides Madhubala, of course – and rightly so. Mahie Gill, who has played a prominent role in Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster, is an ardent fan of the late actor. The actress had once said that it was a great honour for her to emulate Meenaji onscreen for her role in the film Gangs of Ghost.

Meena started her career at the age of seven, when other girls her age were just starting school. Her first role was in the film Farzand-e-Watan, released in 1939. It was Baiju Bawra (1952) that gave her star status.