Madhubala and Meena Kumari and their striking similarities in their real life
No doubt, Madhubala is the most beautiful face of Bollywood screen, and Meena Kumari charmed her audience through her outstanding performance as an actress in drama films. Both these actresses ruled millions of hearts in the golden era of 1950s and 1960s, and they excelled in their talents and brilliance in their own ways. Quite surprising both these Bollywood divas who left the world during the peak of their film career in their late 30’s have many similarities in their real life also. The fact quoted just now is also a striking co-incidence that this actors share with no one else in the Bollywood early era.
Both actresses born in the same year
Started their careers as child artists
Striking co-incidence in their romantic lives
Both these actors found love, lost love and spent their last years in loneliness. Though there were efforts from Kamal Amrohi’s side during the last phase of shooting of Pakeezah to reconcile, death of Meena Kumari put a full stop to all. They kept a good relationship at that time, though not remained as spouses. Kamal Amrohi didn’t want kids though Meena Kumari loved kids a lot. She was very much attached to her step-son.
Quite co-incidence – both were married but died childless and it was not a first marriage to both their husbands. In fact both actresses were romantically connected to the director Amrohi (who gave both of them big breaks in Bollywood), though at different points of time – Meena Kumari was his wife and Madhubala – his ex-lover. Interestingly Amrohi was a married man when he got romantically involved with Madhubala, and wanted to accept her as second wife which Madhubala didn’t agree. He married Meena Kumari very soon without divorcing his first wife. This relationship was not sweet either.
Mughal-E-Azam Vs Pakeezah
Then what about the biggest films of both these actors – Mughal-E-Azam and Pakeezah, which received cult classic status! The actresses played courtesan and dancer roles in both the movies, and struggled with their health issues during the shooting of the films! Both these films are counted among the best films of both these actors, and both these expensive films were well received by audience and critics alike.
Too much intervention from family and father
Struggled with diseases during the last phase of life, yet were active in work
Heavily addicted to drinking habits made Meena Kumari seriously ill in the late 1960s and she was attacked by liver cirrhosis. During her last film – Pakeezah, it was only her deep wish to complete the film which kept her alive, and she died soon after the release of the film.
Their screen names start with the letter ‘M’ – a strange co-incidence. Read more about The life of tragic queen Meena Kumari
A word on the celebrated south Indian actress Savitri before we wind up
Popular Tamil & Telugu actress of yesterdays, Savitri has some similarities with both these reigning queens of yesterdays. She has also done lead and supporting roles in Bollywood movies such as Ganga Ki Lehrein, Ghar Basake Dekkho, Bahut Din Hue etc. She was the most sought actress in south Indian cinema then – in the 1950s and 1960s, known for her philanthropic gestures as well. But similar to Meena Kumari she had a failed marriage, and she became addicted to alcohol in her 30s or so. She also got diabetics at a young age because of over drinking. She also lost everything which she got from cine bizz. Later she died at a comparatively young age of 45 in the early 1980s, after leading a lonely life for a long time.
Let me add she was one among the four wives/consorts of south Indian romantic star Gemini Ganesan, and they starred in many hit movies together. Remember ‘Ee Raat Ke Musafir’ song of Miss Mary released in 1955? It’s he. Interestingly Meena Kumari played the female lead in this successful Bollywood film. One more very interesting fact to add – She was the stepmother to Bollywood diva Rekha (Gemini Ganesan’s daughter), and most recently actress Keerthy Suresh bagged National award for best actress in 2019 for portraying Savitri on screen through Telugu/Tamil bilingual, Mahanadi. Thus the National award winning role was based on the life of Rekha’s stepmother, but a celebrated star of yesterdays.
Read about the similarities of professional career of two big female stars of Bollywood at present – Vidya Balan and Deepika Padukone.