By Subhash K Jha
She lived a tumultuous life, filled with passion, romance and a tragic grandeur. And now Meena Kumari’s life would be chronicled in cinema by none other than Tigmanshu Dhulia whose Sahib Bibi Aur Gangster was inspired by Meena Kumari’s best-known work Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam.
Dhulia, who is currently wrapping up a film called Yaara, says he chose Kangana because she was the only actress who could convey the tragic pathos of Meena Kumari’s personality. “There is a profound sadness in Kangana’s eyes, the same quality that we saw in Meena Kumari’s eyes. And that voice! When I heard Kangna in her debut film Gangster I was reminded of Meena Kumari. The same haunted and haunting quality…a voice that suggests pain grief wisdom and seduction…I knew then and there that if I ever make a film on Meena Kumari it would have to be Kangna who plays the legendary actress.”
Dhulia’s bio-pic would be adapted from the late journalist Vinod Mehta’s biography on Meena Kumari.
Says the filmmaker, “I’ve bought the rights of the book long ago. It is a fascinating tale of a life lived on the edge. As I read the account I was more and more convinced that Kangna was the right person for the part.”
Dhulia is now looking at the chapters from Meena Kumari’s very colourful life that he will put on screen. Besides her husband filmmaker Kamal Amrohi, the legendary actress was said to be close to several men including writer-director Gulzar , and the actors Raj Kumar and Dharmendra.
Says Dhulia, “I don’t know which aspects of her life I’ll go into. At the moment I don’t have a script or a studio to back the project. But I am making the film for sure, though not right away.”
In 1981 the mighty Sohrab Modi had made appalling Meena Kumari film entitled Meena Kumari Ki Amar Kahani starring starlet Dolly in the title role while another actress called Sona had played Madhubala in the same film.
Surely Tigmanshu Dhulia would do a better job of the legendary actress’ life story.