Monday, August 01, 2016

Meena Kumari - A phenomena


Long live Meena Kumari ji.  Eventhough her real name was Mahjabeen, but that doesn't matter for viewers. For us she was Meena Kumari ji. Nothing else matters          


Only the word Meena Kumari was enough to remind of what she was. She got first award for Best Actress of Indian cinema. While acting in films, She was not meena kumari but the characters she played. The Bahu Begum, Parineeta, Sahibjaan, Choti Bahu, etc. All those characters came to life in those films, the actress and characters became synonymous to each other. Unlike few actors who are remembered for their style and not the characters they played. Few actors of past are known for their particular style/ mannerism. 

I don’t remember when for the first time I saw her film. We did not own a TV till 1982. That time I was in class XI. We used to travel for one kilometer just to watch Doordarshan. From Type one to Type two situated near IIT Kanpur gate. In those days, I was lucky enough to watch many of her films on black & white TV. 
One family at Type  I owned a black & white TV. That was out of bound for me most of the time. still I was fortunate enough to watch films while hanging to their window. Most often it was like watching an audio film since a group of boys will be hanging from window all together, thus i had to push in between. 
I became fan of her films. When she used to cry I used to cry with her. When she used to rush in happiness I felt the same. When she felt pain on hearing the cries of that little boy who was being beaten by Lalita Pawar, I also felt pain for that boy. When she felt shy in front of a man –the hero- I felt the same. That was the embodiment of her in me.
But foremost important thing was that I danced with her in all films. The “Thade Rahio Baanke yaar re”  ठाढ़े रहियो ओ बाँके यार रे was my favorite. Initially I used to dance on इन्ही लोगों ने “Inhin logon ne” of Pakeezah, I was considered OUTCASTE in my school (by everybody-classmates /schoolmates /neighbours). To them I was just a toy, a mean of amusement. Even girls also felt the same towards me. As soon as I started learning the first steps of Kathak, I started liking the "Thade Rahio" song. I tried to match each and every beat of the song. I took this as challenge and after few months I started dancing on the song matching each beat. 
As I grew older, the pause-gaps, the nuisances, the moods of those gaps of sound and different stress on beats of tabla, strings of sarangi-all open up more challenges to me. I try to portray them and grasp each beat more with different meaning. As Pt Birju Maharaj ji says that this is pure Bhakti, सम भगवान the SAM is the Lord Krishna and these beats and sur(swaras) are RAHDA, these all try to search for the Lord-the SAM. Therefore this Thumri song of film Pakeezah has various meanings and moods which are to be enacted. That is called Bhaav. I heard from elders that in past there were danseuses who were invited only for singing. They only sang wherever they were invited. They sang the songs while seated. Those songs, as my grandmother referred to as the TUMAIN. The word in the local slang means the song sung while seated. I heard the names of Gunni, or ginni and Nooran often from my grandmother. She categorically told me that they never danced. The dancing girls were different class.
So Thumri is song sung while seated. But through singing the mood is portrayed to the audience. Often, while singing those girls enacted few moods of like Radha or Krishna, or bewitching lovelorn mate etc. That is called Abhinaya-Bhaav Batana- to elaborate on moods.
But I am not any of them. I try to follow what Birju Maharaj ji said (he is a like a God to me). I try to match the beats and SAM. In the song Gopika says that lord wait let me have the “shringar” (decoration) first so that when you come, I greet you in a well attired appearance full with Kaajal in eyes, flowers in the VENI and well knotted, and with all of SIXTEEN decorations. 16 Shringaras?
Another aspect is that since Lord Krishna is Naughty & play full. She says Lord please wait don’t come near. (she wish to protect her pot which is full of Butter or curd. fearing that lord will throw stone and pot of milk, butter or curd will be broken.
Despite of being a super star of her times Respected Meena Kumari ji remained loner in the end and I have always been so in the path of my life.

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