Meena Kumari, whose real name was Mahjabeen Bano, was a legendary Indian actress who became an icon of Indian cinema. Meena Kumari’s remarkable acting talent and ability to portray a wide range of emotions earned her the title of “Tragedy Queen” in the film industry.
She gave remarkable performances in Hindi cinema with blockbuster films like Sharda, released in 1957; Sahara, released in 1958; Yehudi; Chirag Kahan and Roshni Kahan in 1959; Chaar Dil Chaar Raahen; and Dil Apna and Preet Parai in 1960. While her films were rocking at the box office.
Meena Kumari’s life was also filled with personal struggles, including failed marriages and health issues. Unfortunately, she passed away on March 31, 1972, due to liver cirrhosis at the young age of 38. Despite her untimely demise, her contribution to Indian cinema and her unforgettable performances continue to be celebrated and remembered fondly by audiences and filmmakers alike.
Her elder sister, Nargis Dutt, was aware of Meena Kumari’s pain and sorrow. In a letter written on the death of Meena Kumari, Nargis wrote a very shocking thing, but that was from the bottom of her heart. Nargis had written a quote to Meena Kumari, Your bet is wishing you a happy death. “Meena Kumari, Maut Mubarak ho!” Nargis further wrote, “Meena, today your baaji (elder sister) congratulates you on your death and asks you to never step into this world again. This place is not meant for people like you.” This note written by Nargis for Meena Kumari is also recorded in the book Urdu Memoir of a Cinema Legend.
Meena feels the pain of separation from husband Kamal Amrohi and says that she was trying to drown her sorrow by drinking alcohol because of actor Dharmendra’s infidelity. It is said that his liver was damaged due to alcohol, and this was the reason for his death. On February 4, 1972, when the film Pakeezah was completed and released at the behest of her elder sister Nargis Dutt, Meena Kumari’s condition was very bad. The film slowly picked up pace. When the news of Meena Kumari’s death became known to all on March 31, 1972, the film celebrated its silver jubilee. But alas, Meena Kumari was not alive to see the success of the film. She had left this world.