This film which many people saw as a colour film, was originally shot in black and white. In that sense, it is a cousin of Mughal-e-Azam 🙂 But when colour films became fashionable, Kamal Amrohi, the co-Director decided to redo the entire thing in colour. By the way, this movie wins over Mughal-e-Azam in the amount of time it took to finish..14 years!
Launched in 1958, the shooting was stopped because Kamal Amrohi and Meena Kumari split up in 1964 and resumed in 1968 when they remarried. But after they had split up, Meena Kumari took heavily to drinking and soon turned alcoholic. It is rumoured that she had an affair with Dharmendra because she was trying to find love again.
Can’t wonder why she’s called the Tragedy Queen anymore, can you? Although they remarried and the film resumed in 1968, she was in a terrible state of health but she still continued and completed the film. She was so ill infact that her dance sequences had to be performed using a double, whose name was Padma Khanna.
She died two months after the film released, and as it happens, the film which had recieved ordinary recognition at the box office, went on to become a super hit after her death. She always wanted to do a film that would make her immortal, and well, it kinda did.
The music director of the film, Ghulam Mohammed, died before it could see the light of the day. When the shooting for Pakeezah was started again in 1968, many exhibitors suggested that Amrohi should change the music, so it would be more in tune with then current trends, but Amrohi refused.
He said that he would do no such thing that dishonoured a man who gave his eternal music to Pakeezah. Wow.
It is said that the music, later taken over by the legendary Naushad, was such a hit that Pran refused an award for Best Supporting Actor (for Beimaan) because the Beimaan received the Best Music Award!