Yesteryears actor Meena Kumari is remembered for her stellar performances in movies like Pakeezah and Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam. But it is not only her brilliant acting prowess that impressed her fans. Known as the tragedy queen, Meena Kumari was also admired for her flawless beauty — with everything from her eye make-up to unique hairstyles holding relevance even today. In a career spanning 33 years, Meena Kumari gained immense popularity for her perfect dialogue delivery, strong screen presence and the ability to portray varied emotions.
Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali has often gone on record to appreciate the aesthetics of Pakeezah and the way Meena Kumari played the role with grace and beauty. Those elaborate saris, deeply kohled eyes, paasas, heavy jewellery, anarkalis, and most importantly, her ahead-of-time make-up have all made her one of the most path-breaking actors of her time.
On the actor’s 86th birthday, we take a look at her best on-screen fashion moments.
A lot of Bollywood actors can be seen donning floral saris these days, especially by designers like Sabyasachi Mukherjee, but Meena Kumari had aced the trend way back in the 80s itself. We love how she teamed the sari with a V-neck blouse and a choker neckpiece. This sunflower print sari would make a lovely addition to one’s summer wardrobe.
We have often spotted Bollywood celebrities like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anushka Sharma, and Deepika Padukone opting for a neatly tied hair bun — even on their wedding day. But the yesteryear actor sported the hair trend back then and even added some drama to the look by opting for flowers to accessorise it. This evergreen hairdo is unlikely to go out of fashion, and will always remain a trusted favourite.
Meena Kumari’s wide-winged eyeliner highlighted her eyes beautifully. It is noteworthy that her make-up was always on point, but she carried a no make-up look with as much elegance. Her eye make-up complemented the strong women characters she essayed on-screen.
Strong brow game
Most women opt for perfectly shaped and highlighted eyebrows, and Meena Kumari was no different. Meena Kumari not only highlighted her eyebrows but also accentuated it with winged and kohled eyes.
Traditional Banarasi silk and kanjeevaram saris can never go out of fashion, and Meena Kumari nailed the look effortlessly. In fact, Bollywood celebrities like Anushka Sharma and Deepika Padukone were seen donning similar looks at their wedding receptions.
Love for elaborate jewellery
Traditional gold, diamond and kundan jewellery were her go-to accessories. The actor was often spotted wearing jhoomar earings, paasas, multi-layered necklaces, maang tika, nose rings and even haath phool.
Who can forget Meena Kumari in Pakeezah, especially when she is seen wearing an emerald green and red Anarkali set with golden embellishments in the song Chalte Chalte. You too can opt to recreate the look and pair it with some dazzling gold chandbalis or danglers.