Remembering Tragedy Queen Meena Kumari on her death anniversary.
The viewers of bollywood films remembered Tragedy Queen Meena Kumari both on her birth anniversary on 1st August, 2013 on her death anniversary on 31st March, 2015. Meena Kumari can be considered as the greatest actress of Bollywood during the golden age who had portrayed images and characters showing complexity of the mind of the Indian women and the social ostentations that they had faced during different periods of time. Meena Kumari, born on 1st August, 1932, known as Mahjabeen Bano, stormed into the Indian silver screen in 1952, with the sublime performance in Baiju Bawra. Although the film had been renowned for everlasting composition of Hindustani ragas by Naushad and supreme performance of Mohammad Rafi, with songs like “man tarpata”, “woh duniya ke rakhwale”, etc., Meena Kumari’s performance opposite Bharat Bhushan showed the filmlovers that she had come to conquer Bollywood with her soft style of acting.
In the 50s Meena Kumari’s performance in films like Parineeta, 1953, Footpath, 1954, Yahudi, 1958, etc. were appreciated by critics, but she had created her image of martyr in the film Sharda, 1957, where even after having an affair with Raj Kapoor, in the film she had to sarcrifice her affection to marry Raj Mehra, his father, who was much older than her. In Dil Ek Mandir, 1963, Meena Kumari after having affair with Rajender Kumar in her youth had to marry Raj Kumar, due to social pressure. But from the time she had married Raj Kumar, she fulfilled all the duties of a middle class Hindu woman, and brought her sick husband to the hospital at the mercy of Rajender Kumar. She prayed to God, for the recovery of Raj Kumar. Rajender Kumar sacrificed his life to treat her husband and died at the end of the film. The songs composed by Shankar Jaikishan and sung by Rafi and Lata, had not lost their significance even today.
In 1962, Meena Kumari, performed the role of choti bahu, in Guru Dutt’s Saheb Bibi aur Ghulam, the film showing the zamindari raj (dominance of Feudal lords) existing in the British capital in India, that is Kolkata. She was married to the youngest son in a family of zamindars who used to attend mujras in Jaan bazaar, in Kolkata, where performers from Lucknow, Benaras used to come and exhibit their skills of singing classical songs. She tried to retain her husband Rehman at home, and through her conversation, Guru Dutt, the observer came to know about the history of the family.
Meena Kumar’s performance opposite Pradeep Kumar, used to create a different dimension, as her pardanashin image had matched with royal style of acting of Pradeep Kumar. After the success of Aarti, 1962; Meena Kumari, acted in the blockbusters Bheegi Raat, 1965, and Bahu Begum, 1967, opposite Pradeep Kumar and Ashok Kumar. In Bheegi Raat, she loved Pradeep Kumar, yet due to an accident which made her legs paralysed she could not attend the engagement and worked in the house of Ashok Kumar as governess. When society boycotted Ashok Kumar, she agreed to marry her, but presence of Pradeep Kumar at the end of the film in the song “dil jo na keh saka” compelled Ashok Kumar to sacrifice his affair and go back to London. It was a film where, Rafi, Lata, Roshan and the actors all had provided their best performance possible. Meena Kumar’s other film with Pradeep Kumar titled Chitralekha was also successful.
Meena Kumari had become immortal with her classic performance in the film Pakeeza, 1971, opposite Raj Kumar, which took around 10 years to be completed. It was created on a subject related to women brought up in kotha and exhibited the class of women who could not give the recognition to their next generation as their father’s are not known. The music composed by Ghulam Mohammad, Lata and Rafi’s songs, Kamal Humrohi’s direction (the husband of Meena Kumari) all complemented each other, and the film became historical piece of document.
The greatest hallmark of Meena Kumari lied in her ability to depict the helplessness of Indian women existing specially in the 50s and 60s, when the patriarchal society dominated them and they had no independent income to live separately against the pressure of society. In her performances, beauty, aristrocracy, tragedy, personality all blended into one. Whenever we think about cine-classics like Dil Apna aur Preet Parayi, 1960, or Ghazal, 1965, Meena Kumari’s image automatically comes in our mind. She died in 1972, only at an age of 41. Meena Kumari’s films should be restored in an archive for future generations to learn the art of understanding the characters from the core of the heart the way Meena Kumari had done during the golden age of Indian cinema.
Sourav Ganguly brought Subhashis Mukherjee, Saheb Chatterjee and others in Zee Bangla Dadagiri Program.
On 30th March, 2015, Sourav Ganguly brought celebrities in Zee Bangla Dadagiri Program. The celebrities included Saheb Chatterjee, Subhashis Mukherjee, Kanchana Mitra, Chaiti Ghoshal, Vaskar Banerjee and Dolon Roy.
Sourav Ganguly asked Saheb Chatterjee to sing a song. He sang the same song that he gave lips in Sandip Ray’s film Gugababa Fire Elo. It was the third film of the series Gupi Gayeen, Bagha Bayeen. The first two films Gupi Gayeen Bagha Bayeen and Hirok Rajar Deshe was directed by Satyajit Ray. Guga Baba Phire Elo was directed by Sandip Ray. Saheb Chatterjee played the character of the child artist in the film.
Kanchana Mitra told Sourav Ganguly that recently she acted in the film called Sajarur Katha. The director of the film told her the reason of casting her in the role was that he had seen her in previous edition of Zee Bangla Dadagiri Program where she wore a blue saree. She gave very good answers in the contest and ultimately became the champion at the end of the contest.
Bhaskar Banerjee was asked about the question relating to a scene of film Chourangee. He identified the voice of Superstar Uttam Kumar. Sourav Ganguly asked Chaiti Ghoshal about her history relating to joining films and serials. She said she did both. She was the daughter of actor Shyamal Ghoshal who was also a police officer.
Subhashis Mukherjee was asked about his success story. He said he acted in Abhinandan Bhagirath TV serial in the early 1990s with Robi Ghosh and Dipankar Dey. Then he rose to stardom with the serial Bibaho Bibhrat, which was directed by the son of famous director Debaki Kumar Basu. Sourav Ganguly also asked Dolon Roy about her success story in serials and films. She acted in hit film Kakababu Here Gelen. Sourav Ganguly very well anchored the program.
Many people think Shashi Kapoor should have received the Dadasahab Phalke Award 15 years back. He received the award in 2015. Now he in wheelchair. The viewers of bollywood films wish happy birthday to Shashi Kapoor on 18th March, 2015. In 2011 he received the filmfare lifetime achievement award. In 2011, he received Padmabhushan, the civilian award for his excellence in bollywood films. His sickness prevents him from freely walking, but he receives most of his awards on wheel chair.
Born in 1938, Shashi Kapoor started his acting career in the film Aag in 1948 directed by his elder brother Raj Kapoor. He also showed his acting skills as a child artist in the film Awara in 1951. The film won different awards in international film festivals and ended up being super hit.
Shashi Kapoor acted in off-beat films at the beginning of his career like Prempatra opposite Sadhna. He entertained the audience with the film Jab Jab Phool Khilen in 1965. All the songs of Rafi composed by Kalyanji Anandji in the film became super hit like “pardesiyon se na”, “yahan mai ajnabee hoon”, “na na karke pyar”, etc. From that time Shashi Kapoor acted with Nanda in a number of films like Muhabbat Is Ko Kehte Hai, Neend Hamari Khwab Tumhari, etc. Rafi’s songs in many Shashi Kapoor films did magic including “o dilbar janiye”, “dilbar dilbar”, “bekhudi me sanam”, to name a few. Shankar Jaikishan gave notable tunes to Shashi Kapoor in the film Kanyadan. Madanmohan gave notable tunes to Shashi Kapoor in the film Neend Hamari Khwab Tumhari.
In the late 60s Shashi Kapoor acted in many romantic films like Pyar Kiye Jaa, Kanyadaan, Abhinetri, Ek Shriman Ek Shrimati, etc. In Pyar Kiye Ja, he acted opposite actress Nanda, in Kanyadan he acted opposite Asha Parekh, in Abhinetri he acted opposite Hema Malini, in Ek Shriman Ek Shrimati he acted opposite Babita. In the 70s, Shashi Kapoor acted in action films along with Amitabh Bacchan, at a time when action films dominated either types of films in bollywood.
His dialogue in the film Dewaar opposite Big B titled “mere paas ma hai” became immortal over the years. He acted in many films opposite Big B like Shaan, Do Aur Do Paanch, Iman Dharam, Namakhalal, Suhaag, Kala Pathhar, Kabhi Kabhi,Trishul, Silsila, etc., and most of those films ended up being blockbusters. Some of these films were multi-starred in nature. For example in Shaan and Kala Patthar he acted opposite Big B and Shatrughun Sinha. It was his sheer talent, that he could adapt himself in the new regime of anti-establishment films in the 70s, starting from Dewaar, which were quite different from the society shown in the romantic films of the 60s. He acted with other bollywood actors like Shatrughun Sinha in films like Gautam Govinda.
He was a close friend of Ismail Merchant and featured in many of his English films like Siddharta. He produced impressive films like Junoon directed by Shyam Benegal and Vijeta directed by Govind Nihalini. His sons Kunal Kapoor and Karan Kapoor acted in many films.
In the 1990s, Shashi Kapoor put on a lot of weight and stopped acting. He was in tears to receive the filmfare lifetime achievement award. The viewers pay homage to the veteran actor and wish him good health.