Today’s Google doodle is dedicated to legendary Bollywood actress Meena Kumari on what would have been her 85th birth anniversary. Bollywood’s original ‘Tragedy Queen’ starred in about 92 movies during her 33 years career.
Kumari was born on August 1, 1993 as Mahjabeen Bano into a family of poor theater artists. Her father Master Ali Bux had migrated from Bhera (now in Punjab province of Pakistan), while her mother Prabhawati Devi was a Bengali Christian converted to Islam.
She started acting from the tender age of four, and was then known as ‘Baby Meena’. She would eventually go on to become one of Indian cinema’s foremost actors. Her career spanned 33 years during which she acted in over 90 movies, and her acting prowess was widely regarded as “historically incomparable” by critics.
Throughout her career she portrayed strong yet vulnerable characters who made their own way through life. Such roles are the reason she was given the title of ‘Tragedy Queen’. Some of her most memorable movies include Pakeezah, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, Parineeta, Dil Ek Mandir, Mere Apne, and Baiju Bawra among many others.
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In her career, Kumari won four Filmfare awards for Best Actress. She also made history during 1963’s 10th Filmfare Awards, where she received all the nominations and won the Best Actress award for her performance in Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam.
Besides acting, Kumari was also a noted poet. In 1952 she got married to filmmaker Kamal Amrohi in a secret ‘Nikah’, but problems in the marriage is what caused her to take up alcohol. She breathed her last on March 30, 1972, suffering from liver cirrhosis.