Pakeezah (1972)

Kamal Amrohi’s ’Pakeezah’ acquired a legendary status soon after its heroine, the ‘Tragedy Queen’ Meena Kumari passed away. The film has a larger than life feel and is grand in appearance. The story of a courtesan played by Meena Kumari in arguably her best role ever, ‘Pakeezah’ was made by her husband Amrohi and took a long time to make. The film showcases the elegant past of the privileged class of Uttar Pradesh; their refined culture and grandeur yet at the same time their hypocrisy and decadence of the bourgeois society. Ashok Kumar and Raj ‘Jaani’ Kumar play the suitors of Meena Kumari who has a double role in the film as mother and daughter. The incredibly lyrical songs or mujras in the film are breathtaking be it “Chalthe Chalthe”,”Thade rahiyo O Banke Yaar”,”Inhi Logon ne” and “Chalo Dildaar chalo”, rendered music by legendary Ghulam Mohammad,who incidentally died by the time the film neared release. Hence, Naushad was brought in to complete the background score. The costumes and sets are gorgeous. As the film took 14 long years to make due to the differences between the husband –wife team of Meena Kumari and Kamal Amrohi, Meena looks young and fresh in some scenes and in some painfully haggard and sad.Meena Kumari was very ill when filming resumed and can be seen lying down in most of her scenes. For the dance sequences, Padma Khanna was used as a body double and can be seen in the long-shots. But Meena Kumari covers it all up with her stunning histrionics and dialogue delivery. A breathtaking watch !

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Amit Kumar Gupta

Writes for the love of Books, Movies, Music & Cricket. He opines that best investment ideas are often cracked by being on the road.