Bollywood Legends - Meena Kumari

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Old 14-Sep-2009
Bollywood Legends - Meena Kumari

Meena Kumari - Bio Graphy

MEENA KUMARI, TRADITIONALLY KNOWN FOR PERFECTING THE role of the tragedienne in films, is actually the embodiment of the woman as Essence rather than flesh. In a career spanning three decades, she chiselled the contours of two role models and created some kind of an ideal in the mind of the viewer. This was the image of the woman as wife and the woman as mother.
The first role she almost perfected was in the Guru Dutt classic Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam (1962) as the protagonist, Chhoti Bahu. Fighting for her rights in the 19th century feudal milieu of Bengal, Chhoti Bahu was the epitome of the pativrata nan (devoted wife). She may have been viewed as an iconoclast by her family members, but her iconoclasm too was born out of a desire to be the perfect spouse. Nothing more and nothing less. Languishing in her boudoir, while her husband Chhote Babu (Rehman), an autocratic, purely hedonistic zamindar followed the dictates of his manhood in distant brothels, Chhoti Bahu plots and schemes to bring the prodigal back to her. She rebels against social and religious injunctions, resorts to alcohol, dances and desperately tries to seduce her husband, so that he might remain faithful. But all along her pigate ways - drinking and aggressively seducing - were condemned by her own conscience. Even as she let down her hair and lifted the cup of liqour to her lips, she bemoaned the fact that she was breaking the behavioural code prescribed for good Hindu wives. Yet the fact that these transgressions were perpetrated in order to preserve a dharma that must be paramount in any woman's life - a good wife's dharma - deified her further. Here was a neglected woman who, in the sober 1960s, was throwing herself at a man's feet in a drunken stupor, aggressively demanding satiation. But the fact that this act was depicted as a glorious sacrifice (Chhoti Bahu was sacrificing her religious virtuosity), not only sanctified it, it also created a prototype for the sixties Savitri (a typically faithful wife). For if the mythological Savitri could confront the angel of death for her husband's well- being, this celluloid Savitri could even compromise her religious sanctimony for the observance of a greater duty. That of the woman as wife.
Earlier, in Bimal Roy's Parineeta (1953), too, Meena Kumari had essayed a similar, all-consuming, unswerving devotion to Ashok Kumar, the man who had secretly married her. A victim of the rich-poor divide, Lalita is separated from her lover and is on the brink of a marriage of convenience - one that might help her poor uncle to repay the debt he owes to her beloved's father. Lalita refuses to marry, yet she is unable to bridge the class divide. Nevertheless, these superficial barriers cannot sully her wifely devotions. For Lalita, despite separation and misunderstanding, chooses to remain faithful to her secret husband. She is willing to lead a life of solitary abandonment, even though her husband is willing to marry again. Simply because both she and society believe that a wife must remain faithful, irrespective of similar reciprocation on the part of her husband.

Old 14-Sep-2009
Re: Bollywood Legends - Meena Kumari

It is a similar blend of devotion, pain and purity that weaves its way into her delineation of the beloved and the mother-figure too. In S.J. Row Kavi's Bhabhi ki Chudiyan (1961), Geeta the foster-mother to her young brother-in-law, Mohan (Sudesh Kumar) is more than the mother the orphan could ever have had. As he sits and watches her paint the traditional rangoli pattern (graffiti made on festive occasions) in the courtyard of the modest family home, the clanging of her bangles fills his life completely. Mohan is never able to find happiness with another woman, for his sister-in-law's piety, domesticity and devotion have created an image of a nonpareil that cannot be matched by another earthly love. Here, the mother image born out of Meena Kumari's indefatigable nurturing of the family towers above all other relationships. So much so that Mohan is never able to form another satisfying bond with the opposite sex. Tireless and totally undemanding, Geeta spends her life and even relinquishes it in catering to the emotional and physical demands of her family.
This image is repeated in Dulal Guha's Dushman (1971) and Gulzar's Mere Apne (1971), albeit with a pronounced accent on righteousness. In both these films, Meena Kumari embodies the voice of conscience that surfaces amidst the moral blight of the men and brings back the prodigals to virtue. In Dushman, her propriety sets straight the man (Rajesh Khanna) who murdered her husband. Khanna, an alcoholic, a womaniser and a truck driver with tardy morals, is forced to stay with the widow and her family as punishment meted out by the courts. The sentence comes as a godsend. For the widow's virtuousness and unwavering propriety cures him, not only of his pRofligate ways, but it cleanses his soul too. The blackguard, under the benign influence of the maternal widow, metamorphoses into a shining white soul who works hard, doesn't drink, doggedly looks after the welfare of the victimised family and can never ever think of harming another living creature. In short, the ideal mother-figure metaphorically gives birth to an ideal, new man.
In Gulzar's Mere Apne, the mother-figure weaves her cleansing magic, not on an individual, but on groups of individuals. The old woman and her talisman of goodness makes her an oasis of peace in the midst of a city torn apart by gang warfare. When everything fails to cure the anarchic hoodlums of their overriding lust to kill, plunder and loot, it is the mother-figure who manages to purge the city and the humans of their evil. The warring gang leaders (Vinod Khanna and Shatrughan Sinha), prototypes for the nation's wayward youth, are brought back to order, ethics, family and country by Meena Kumari's motherly tutorials on the good life of glorious virtue.
Reverence then was the only virtue permissible to Meena Kumari's celluloid image. For Meena Kumari represented a rarefied concept of traditional womanhood that was divested of all its physical antecedents. If beauty, not sensuality, was the defining characteristic of her physicality, then pain, not pleasure, was the predominant emotion which she opted for. Purity was the keynote of this metaphor for melancholia, where suffering and self-sacrifice became more pleasurable than satiation and self-appeasement.
It wasn't incidental that Meena Kumari perfected the role of the virginal nautch-girl in Kamal Amrohi's Pakeezah.
For it was only Meena with her metaphorical sanctity and overriding penchant for tragedy who could infuse body and soul into cinema's biggest oxymorn. Naturally, a prostitute had to be pure, if she was played by Meena. The fact that she was the most popular dancing girl who caught the fancy of all the nawabs and the nouveau riche of the city hardly posed a threat to her intrinsic chastity. Despite being in a profession where display and artful seduction are inevitable, the hero (Raaj Kumar) was only allowed a fleeting glimpse of the dancing girl's foot in the first encounter. Even the sheer physical beauty of the screen diva was meant to be revered, not savoured in a more physical manner. At the most, the lover could dream of embarking on a sublime voyage to the moon with the moon-faced beloved 'Chalo dildar chalo, chand ke paar chalo', (Let us go beyond the moon, beloved) enthused Raaj Kumar on a love tryst, when he has the woman all to himself in sylvan surroundings. An overture that is fit and proper for a woman, whose femininity can only be serenaded from a distance. Through poetry and verse. Not passion.

Old 14-Sep-2009
Re: Bollywood Legends - Meena Kumari

Meena Kumari - Filmo Graphy

Akeli Mat Jaiyo
Aladin & The Wonderful Lamp
Anmol Ratan
Bachchon Ka Khel
Baharoni Ki Manzil
Bahu Begum
Baiju Bawra
Bhabhi Ki Chudiyan
Bhai Jaan
Bheegi Raat
Chandan Ka Palna
Chandni Chowk
Char Dil Char Raahen
Chiraag Kahan Roshni Khan
Dana Pani
Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai
Dil Ek Mandir
Do Bigha Zameen
Ek Hi Raasta
Ek Nai Ladki
Ek Teri Nishani
Ek Thi Ladki
Foot Path
Gomti Ke Kinare
Hamara Ghar
Hanuman Patal Vijay
Kinare Kinare
Laxmi Narayan
Main Bhi Ladki Hoon
Main Chup Rahugi
Manjhali Didi
Meena Kumari Ki Amar Kahani
Mem Saheb
Mere Apne
Miss Mary
Naulakha Haar
Naya Andaaz
Noor Jahan
Pattharon Ka Saudagar
Phir Milenge
Phool Aur Patthar
Pinjre Ka Panchhi
Piya Ghar Aja
Pyar Ka Sagar
Pyar Ki Dastan
Saat Phere
Saheb Biwi Aur Gulam
Sanjh Aur Savera
Satta Bazar
Shree Ganesh Mahima
Shri Naqad Narayan
Shrimati 420
Veer Ghatotkach
Zindagi Aur Khwab

Old 14-Sep-2009
Re: Bollywood Legends - Meena Kumari

Old 21-Sep-2010
Re: Bollywood Legends - Meena Kumari

Yes in Dushman she was ideal mother-figure metaphorically gives birth to an ideal, new man ie.,Super Star Rajesh Khanna which was one of the greatest and super hit movie during 1972..

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