Madhuban mein radhika naache re!

Few other films or songs saw Dilip Kumar depicting a personality so unlike what he was usually known for – the tragedy king. Kohinoor can well be called a fairy tale with all the masala and pizzazz of a prince-loves-princess-evil villain-who-wants-princess and throne formula. But it was also instrumental in converting Meena Kumari, who was seen more in sobbing/tortured soul/unhappy for eternity/quiet roles, into a lovable, chirpy princess.

Wikepedia says Dilip Kumar’s psychiatrist advised him to perform lighter roles to bring him back from the brink of utter depression that came from his earlier emotionally demanding roles. Phew.

I do have a question about the song: Who sang for Mukri?

Moving on, the sitar: Yes, Dilip Kumar played it! How impressive is that? Not much, compared to the next bit I am about to tell you
about! See the screenshots on the left? Got it from this (bobbytalkscinema.com) blog – it is a mongoose. Who wants horses and elephants when you can get a mongoose? And a pet on a leash that saves your life by killing a snake that’s let loose on you by the bad guys? I’d say the mongoose had a big hand in making this film a hit.

I know this is cheap but I wrote this post only for the mongoose. There’s not much other trivia I can give you this time! Hope you were surprised enough 😛

Cheers!

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Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam – A mirror to Meena Kumari’s life

Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam was one of the most successful ventures of Guru Dutt and Abrar Alvi. The character of Choti Bahu enacted by Meena Kumar was highly complex and took a great deal of effort from her side. Talented and dedicated as she was, she gave everything she could to the role but it is said that in turn, the role took a lot out from her too.

She was so involved with the character during the shoot that she ended up crying in one scene and no amount of consoling would get her to stop. Abrar Alvi mentions that although she was a popular actress, most directors chose her simply because of her “star” status but this role brought out the best in her and was one of the best performances of her career in the industry.

There’s a note in Meena Kumari’s diary that says “I am sick to death of Choti Bahu” that shows how deeply affected she was by the role.

Sathya Saran in her book also mentions another well known fact. She lived a life of absolute poverty. Her husband and her own family ill treated her and took everything that belonged to her, as Abrar Alvi says in the book. He lived next door to her and she often came to his wife asking for food since there would be none left for her at her own house. Sometimes were so bad that she had to make do with leftovers or bread and tea.

The inhumane treatment pushed her towards alcoholism and loneliness. It was as if Choti Bahu had come to life.

For those of you who aren’t aware of the character, it is about a woman who does everything to appease her husband and please him in every way that occurs to her, but is spurned by him. It is a beautiful depiction of a woman’s untold desire to be loved back and her sorrow of having been abandoned by the person she loves and idolizes.

The Queen of Tragedy..Chalte Chalte Meena Ji mil gayi thi..

Meena Kumari Remember the poignant tones of “Chalte Chalte…yun hi koi mil gaya tha..”  Yes, Pakeezah ( It means pure, by the way, in case you guys didn’t know that already)

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!