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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

What Nargis wrote on Meena Kumari’s death: ‘Maut mubarak ho Meena, this world is not for people like you’

After Meena Kumari's death, Nargis penned a letter talking about her difficult life and heartbreaks, which was published in an Urdu magazine. The two had shared a close sisterhood. 

By: Entertainment Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: January 20, 2022 8:50:14 am
Nargis DuttNargis Dutt penned a letter for Meena Kumari (Photos: Express Archives, Sanjay Dutt/ Instagram)

Late legendary actor Meena Kumari is often described as a ‘historically incomparable’ actor due to her storied career that spanned 33 years. She is considered a tragedy icon in Indian cinema, given her films such as Paakezaah and Sahab, Bibi Aur Ghulam, but her personal life was equally a part of conversations in that era, especially the unhappy marriage with filmmaker Kamal Amrohi and failed romance with Dharmendra.

She died in 1972. Her close friend Nargis Dutt had penned a letter to her, where she wrote, “Meena, maut mubarak ho!” Nargis’ letter was published in an Urdu magazine.  The two had shared a close sisterhood.

She began her column with the message, “‘Congratulations on your death’ I have never said this earlier. Meena, today your baaji (elder sister) congratulates you on your death and asks you to never step into this world again. This place is not meant for people like you.” In her column, she recalled how her friendship with Meena Kumar began, “During the shooting of Main Chup Rahungi, my husband (Sunil Dutt) invited me on sets with the kids. There Meena and I became great friends. When I went for dinner with Dutt saab, Meena voluntarily took care of Sanjay and Namrata, changing their clothes to making their milk.”

Nargis revealed that one night during a trip to Madras for a film shoot, she had seen Meena panting heavily in the garden of the hotel and when she inquired, Meena said that she was fine, it could just be tobacco. Nargis didn’t believe this entirely and her suspicion was confirmed when she heard ‘suggestive sounds of violence’ from her room.

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Meena Kumari Just three weeks after Pakeezah’s release, Meena Kumari was critically ill. She slid into a coma and died on March 31, 1972. Liver cirrhosis was determined to be the cause of her death. (Photo: Express Archives)

Nargis wrote, “I caught hold of Kamal Amrohi’s secretary Baqar and spoke to him in direct terms, ‘Why do you people want to kill Meena? She has worked enough for your sake, For how long is she going to feed you?’ He said, when the right time comes, we will rest her.”

They returned to Bombay, and Nargis said that they didn’t meet for a long time. Later, she learnt that Meena Kumar had walked out of Kamal’s home and had started living in Mehmood’s house. Meena had a showdown with Baqar on the sets of Pinjre Ke Panchhi, and matters got ‘so turbulent’ that he did not step into Kamal’s house again. By this time, stories of Meena Kumar’s alcoholism began to surface. This consumption of alcohol was proving to be detrimental to her health, and she went down with jaundice. When Nargis visited her at hospital, she asked, “Manju, you are free, but what use is such freedom if you are bent on killing yourself?” She replied, “Baaji, my patience has a limit. How dare Kamal saheb’s secretary raise his hand on me? When I got the incident communicated to Kamal Saheb, I thought he would come running and fire Baqar. Instead he said, ‘Come home, I will decide things there. What was there for him to decide? Now it’s me who has decided to not go back to him.'”

Meena Kumari, Tragedy Queen, remembered by Google Doodle on 85th birth anniversary Actress Meena Kumari and director Kamal Amrohi on the set of film Pakeezah. (Express archive photo)

After this, Dharmendra entered Meena Kumari’s life, and that gave her some form of happiness, for a while. Nargis wrote, “If Meena has ever loved anyone passionately, the person is Dharmendra. If Meena ever turned crazy in love for someone, it was Dharmendra.” Nargis mentioned that this was ‘the most beautiful’ phase of her life. However, owing to a misunderstanding, he walked out of her life and she was left heartbroken, Nargis wrote. “Slowly, she began to inch towards death,” Nargis wrote.

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