Though “Pakeezah” released in 1972, it still has the power to transport one into those innocent years of the bygone era, wherein music, poetry, dance and love were cherished as the most valuable possessions of a living human being. Featuring the legendary tragedy queen, Meena Kumari, the movie is considered to be an important milestone in the history of Hindi Cinema. It enjoys a huge cult status due to it’s out of the world direction, poetic dialogues, realistic performances and pure immortal music. ‘Pakeezah’ which in Urdu means "The Pure One" remains the last word among the dozens of Hindi films revolving around the ‘tawaif’ or nautch-girl, as they were known. It is the only film apart from ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ that took 14 long years to complete and yet became a cinematic milestone.
It was planned together by producer-director Kamal Amrohi & his actress-wife Meena Kumari in 1958 and was launched as a Black & White venture. Later with colour technology coming in, Kamal Amrohi started it all over again in colour. But soon after, Cinemascope got introduced and Amrohi set about to re-shoot it in the Cinemascope format. The shooting came to a standstill in 1963 when Kamal Amrohi & Meena Kumari separated due to their personal differences. The project was resumed in 1968 when Sunil Dutt & Nargis who after watching the rushes of the film convinced Meena Kumari to complete it. This was when the actress fought both illness and destiny to complete the movie in mid-1971 which eventually turned out to be her swan song. She died a few weeks after Pakeezah’s release. The fabulous music of the film also immortalised its composer Ghulam Mohammed who had passed away in 1968. It was left to veteran music director Naushad to complete the background score and the title music of the film. Raj Kumar’s dialogue from the film , "Aap ke paaon dekhe, bahut haseen hain, inhein zameen par mat utariyega, maile ho jayenge", is still rated as one of the most memorable dialogues of Hindi Cinema. “Pakeezah” went on to become the biggest hit of Kamal Amrohi, the perfectionist film maker with an eye for details & a penchant for rich poetry.
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