Meena Kumari 81st birth anniversary: Remembering B-town’s original tragedy queen!

We at BollywoodLife spare a thought for the Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam star on her 81st birth anniversary

If Dilip Kumar is tagged ‘tragedy king’ by millions of his fans, Meena Kumari is generally referred to as the ‘tragedy queen’ of Hindi cinema. Born on August 1, 1932, Mahajabeen, better known as Meena Kumari, was one of the most beautiful heroines Hindi cinema has ever seen. While her father was a theatre person and poet, her mother was a stage actor and dancer.

In her over three decade long career, she appeared in over 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 actor recently said it was a great honour for her to emulate Meenaji onscreen for her role in a new film, Gangs of Ghost.

Not many know that 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. Her 1962 film Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam about the conflict of a wife trapped in a loveless marriage became a cult offering. She married director Kamal Amrohi, but it is said she was never happy and her heavy drinking damaged her liver and eventually caused her death on March 31, 1972. She is still missed…