chaand tanhaa hai aasmaan tanhaa
dil milaa hai kahaan kahaan tanhaa
bujh gaii aas chhup gayaa taaraa
thar-tharaataa rahaa dhuaan tanhaa
zindagii kyaa isii ko kahte hain
jism tanhaa hai aur jaan tanhaa
ham-safar ko’ii gar mile bhi kahiin
donon chalte rahe tanhaa tanhaa
jaltii bujhtii si raushnii ke pare
simtaa simtaa sa ek makaan tanhaa
raah dekhaa karegaa sadiyon tak
chhor jaayenge ye jahaan tanhaa
Born 1933 into a poor Parsee theatre family of Ali Bux and dancer Iqbal begum in Bombay, Maharashtra, India. Entered films to support family in difficult times. She was six when hired for Leatherface (1939) in 1939 by Vijay Bhatt and named Baby Meena. Later she became Meena Kumari when cast for Bhatt’s Baiju Bawra (1952). She did mythological films with Homi Wadia and then comedies like Miss Mary (1957). She became personified as the archetypal good Hindu wife through many roles, long suffering and always true to the man. She excelled at tragedy and was often shown in a white sari carrying the film with her emotive acting. She was also thought to be the only actress who could sell a film on the strength of her name alone. Her major films are Daera (1953), Baiju Bawra (1952), 0046164, and of course her most well known film, Pakeezah (1972). She was married to Kamal Amrohi with whom she started making “Pakeezah”. They separated in 1964. She was also an accompalished Urdu writer and had several poems published by Gulzar after her death. She battled alcoholism and loneliness and finally died, alone, in 1972.
Meena Kumari, born Mahjabeen and the legendary tragedy queen of Indian cinema was one of the most beloved actresses of all times in Bollywood cinema and she continues to live deep into the hearts of people even today. She is invariably called the “Tragedy Queen” and her work is considered immortal.. Her classic contributions include Parineeta, Baiju Bawra, Saheb Biwi aur Ghulam and Pakeezah. She was also one of the great urdu poets of the land and has written beautiful sad poems in her lonely days! She also recorded an album of her own poetry in her own voice which was her dream project of life. She has significant contributions as an actress as well as a child actress baby Meena who started at the age of just six years. For the lovers and admirers of the beautiful, mesmerizing and legendary Meena Kumari, here she lives again in her films, her poetry, her life and her voice.
Below is one of her very touching ghazal:
Aagaaz to hotaa hai anjaam nahiin hotaa.
Jab merii kahaanii mein vo naam nahiin hotaa.
Jab zulf kii kaalik mein ghul jaaye koii rahii.
Badanaam sahii lekin gumanaam nahiin hotaa.
Hans hans ke javaan dil ke ham kyon na chune Tukare.
Har shakhs kii qismat mein ye inaam nahiin hotaa.
Din doobe hai yaa doobii baaraat liye kishtii.
Saahil pe magar koii koharaam nahiin hotaa.