Meena Kumari, also known as Mahjabeen Bano was an India
n actor born on 1st August, 1932. Her parents, Ali Baksh and Iqbal Begum, were poor and had to leave her at an orphanage since they could not raise the doctor’s fees. The father taught music, played harmonium and took small roles in films like Id Ka Chand. Her mother was the second wife of Ali Baksh and had been a stage actress and dancer before she married Baksh.
Mahjabeen had protested against going into movies instead of school, but her father still got her into them with the backing of his wife. Mahjabeen started acting at the age of 7 and was renamed Baby Meena. Her first role was in Farzand-e-Watan (Leatherface) in 1939. As a young adult, she mainly acted in mythological films like Veer Ghatotkach (1949) and Shri Ganesh Mahima (1950).
In 1952, Meena Kumari had a major breakthrough in the film Baiju Bawra. She was awarded the Filmfare Best Actor Award for her performance in that movie. Her movies in the 1950’s included Parineeta (1953), Daera (1953), Ek Hi Raasta (1956), and Sharda (1957) among others.
In 1952, she married Kamal Amrohi, a film director who was older than her by 15 years. They divorced in 1964 and Meena started drinking and her social life was in ruins. She started going for younger intimate relationships but later remarried Amrohi.
Meena Kumari died in 1972, two months after the release of her movie Pakeezah