Actress-poetess Meena Kumari aka Mahjabeen Bano, starred in over 90 classic, cult films in the 30 years from her childhood to her death. Now, the Tragedy Queen of Indian cinema is back on the silver screen. Osianama as part of its ongoing Womanhood festival brings to the Indian audiences, rare original publicity material and priceless memorabilia from Meena Kumari’s films and a retro of her best films, Pakeezah, Parineeta and Daayra, straight out of Osian's Archive & Library Collection on February 25 at Osianama At Liberty.
Besides the film, Osianama at Liberty will display the Pakeezah and Daera paintings, Kohinoor and Benazir Portraits, besides the Poster of Meena Kumari ki Amar Kahani, Behana, Phool Aur Pathar and the images of Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam among others, an opportunity that is unmisseble.
"The memories of Meena Kumari reflect a deeply complex and contradictory soul which reaches out to the world to be understood and loved anew; a true creative spirit and individual, and yet rooted in tradition, wanting to just be a simple child once upon a time like all, but forced into becoming Baby Meena, her childhood stolen and thereafter it always seemed that she pursued love and freedom to be herself with an innocence and depth which can only be called tragic and brave. She is a true icon for Womanhood & Cinema, absorbing all, breaking all, in the search to be herself. Her life truly represents the ironic truth of - from dust to dust - but what a full life in those short 41 years. Along with Nargis and Madhubala she represents the feminine iconicity just as Mother India, Mughal-E-Azam and Pakeezah represents a different trinity of Indian cinema,” avers Neville Tuli, Chairman, Osian’s Group and the driving force behind Osianama.
Meena Kumari’s portrayal of Chhoti Bahu, in Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962) is one of her most memorable films, that bought her critical and commercial success, alike, besides winning her the coveted Filmfare Award, that had eluded her with nominations earlier with Aarti and Main Chup Rahungi. Meena Kumari’s other memorable films include Baiju Bawra (1952), Parineeta (1953), Azaad (1955)
, Ek Hi Raasta (1956), Miss Mary (1957), Sharada (1957), K ohinoor (1960), Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi (1960). And of course, her last memorable film Pakeezah.
Yours to check out the Meena Kumari Fest at Osianama at Liberty on Feb 25. And check out the memorabilia from Osian’s Archive and Library treasure trove on view.
A Brief on the films
PARINEETA: dir: Bimal Roy: Feb 25, 1pm, Osianama At Liberty
Based on a Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay novel Parineeta, this Bimal Roy film is the second adaptation of the book the earlier one being in Bengali.
The film is best-known for Meena Kumari’s portrayal of the character as well as the dialogues between her and the hero, Ashok Kumar.
Lalita is an orphaned niece of an impoverished clerk named Gurucharan. She
DAERA: dir: Kamal Amrohi: Feb 25, 4pm, Osianama At Liberty
Daera by Kamal Amrohi, sees Meena Kumari as the frail bride married to a much older, and sick man (Nana Palsikar) and her desire for her neighbour (Dilip Kumar’s brother Nasir Khan) Meena Kumar’s portrayal of the pathos of the character is something that haunts your memory, forever.
PAKEEZAH: dir: Kamal Amrohi: Feb 25, 9pm, Osianama At Liberty
Pakeezah, again a Kamal Amrohi film, sees Meena Kumari in the role of a courtesan Sahibjaan, who is born to a courtesan who dies at childbirth after being spurned by her lover’s family, is brought up in a brothel and grows to be a courtesan. Salim Ahmed Khan (Raaj Kumar) convinces her to elope with him, and renames her Pakeezah (One Whose Heart is Pure). Sahibjeen is recognized by one and all everywhere, and she refuses marriage and returns to the brothel, only to take on the task of dancing at Salim’s wedding. An interesting climax follows. This is Meena Kumari’s last film.