Saturday, July 18, 2009

I write,I recite by Meena Kumari

Much has been written and discussed about Meena Kumari as an actress. Her swansong ‘Pakeezah’ perhaps epitomized her Screen personae as the unquestioned ‘Tragedy Queen’ of the Indian Cinema. However, the lesser known faculty of this Screen legend has not been given its due it deserves. Meena Kumari is also an accomplished poet and most of her writings after her demise in 1972 passed on to Gulzar, who was instrumental in publishing her poems.

I write, I recite is the only recorded Album of the actress wherein she recites her selected poems. The composer of the Album, the inimitable Khaiyyam has contributed his genius in crafting the poems to suit the voice of Meena Kumari. The poems are a reflection of the personal tragedy and loneliness which the Actress encountered in her own life. Strains of melancholy and sadness are evident in her poetry.

First poem is a recitation in free verse…Akelepan ke usi Bekinaar Sehra mein/Uljhi Bikhri hui, Takdeer ko lakeeron mein ghiri…..
The next number is a slow rendition of her immensely beautiful poem. Accompanied by Sarangi/Santoor, the number gives an ethereal experience.
Tukday Tukday Din Bitaa/Dhajji-Dhajji raat beeti/
Jiska jitna aanchal tha/Utni hi saugaat mili….

The following number is again a beauty. The rendition simply mesmerizes by its simplicity and the emotion-laden voice of Meena Kumari.
Puchhate ho to suno kaise basar hoti hai/Raat Khairaat kee sadqe kee sahar hoti hai… (You ask me, How do I survive? /Night goes in earnest and Prayers fill my morning….)
Mera Majhi meri Tanhai ka yeh andhaa sifaq…. is again recited as a free verse and keeping in mood of the poetry, the voice is modulated for the desired impact.

Chand tanha hai asman tanha/Dil mila hai kahan kahan tanha.. is the subsequent rendition which again characterizes the melancholic mood. The theme is repeated in the next number Aaghaz to hota hai anjam nahin hota/Jab meri kahani mein vo naam nahin hota…( There is a beginning, but without any end/ When his presence is no more in my life….) The remaining numbers are Abala paa koi dasht aaya hoga… and Yeh noor kaisa raat ka sarong pehne….. enhances the mood so far built up in the Album. Who else, but except for the poet can better express the feelings. Meena Kumari pours out her heart in the renditions. The last number is Yun tere raah guzar se diwana vaar guzre/Kandhe se apne sar rakh ke, apna mazaar guzre….which has been aptly chosen as a finale to the selection.

The Album as LP has been released by EMI and was re-released as CD in 2001 by Music India. Now the Album is available in the label of Universal Music .A must-buy rare collection for every lover of Hindi Cinema.


  1. Hi, you might find this post about Tukday Tukday Din Bitaa interesting. It is based on Vinod Mehta's book 'Meena Kumari' (1972).

  2. Hi Vinayak,
    Thanks for the information.
    But by the time I came across your comment I have already read the post in your wonderful blog discovered through equally intersting blog by Richard 'Dances on the footpath'.

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    1. Thanks for the appreciation.
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