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Meena Kumari and her ME-TOO moment as revealed by Balraj Sahni in his autobiography. (Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing)

21 Oct, 2018 | Articles on Cinema

Equal opportunity, status and respect to women, especially the working women has been a burning and debatable issue of our society since the last century. But despite all the promises, assurances and work ethics followed in various streams or industries, a woman still remains the most targeted, vulnerable and assumed person in a workplace, which is nothing more than a shameful truth of our society, we repeatedly keep pushing under the carpet saying “All Is Well" till one of our close ones becomes the victim showing us the mirror.

As the most recent development in the social networks, the women have decided to speak and shame many known and reputed names they have worked with in the past involving the Hindi film industry in particular. And this movement titled ME TOO has certainly raised many relevant questions once again which actually have always been there, asked in a much noiseless or forcibly muted voices right from the beginning.

Admittedly, though film industry is not the only industry involved in this ugly practice since ages, for some reasons the women in other professions have not so aggressively reported their personal experiences yet and most of the present cases are related with the tinsel town in specific becoming the front page news.
Yes, it’s quite possible that a few might be falsely targeting the men due to their own personal issues or professional grudges, but that doesn’t allow anyone to ridicule and straight away discard a revelation weakening the important movement. In other words, duly Respecting and Investigating together should be the unconditional way to deal with any kind of allegation giving it a justified chance.
Here no doubt, the film industry will always remain a soft target due to its huge influencing power and immense news value in our present social system. However the bitter truth is - that if one starts researching through all the film magazines and newspapers right since the early decades of even the 40s, then probably very few will come out clean, pure and pious without any involvement in such allegations and controversies – including both the men and the women putting it in straight words.
Anyway, reading about one of the most recent ME TOO revelation, I strongly recalled a similar incident penned by the veteran Balraj Sahni in his autobiography titled “Meri Filmi Aatmkatha” which I assume was originally written in Punjabi and then later translated in Hindi and English published by reputed publishers like Hind Pocket Books (in Hindi).
In his last chapter of the book, Sahni recalls a day on the shoot of film BAZOOBAND (1954), when Anwar Hussain was narrating a few undisclosed incidents of the industry commenting upon the sad state of affairs. One of those real life accounts were related with the tragedy queen Meena Kumari, when she had signed a film with a well-known producer-director.
As written by Sahni recalling the words of Anwar Hussain, on the very first day of the shoot during the lunch hour, the SAHIB slyly placed his foot on Meena Kumari’s under the table, as if he had the right to do so being the producer-director of the film. Meena, who was not an ordinary actress even in those early years of her career, considered it insulting and decently complained to the SAHIB to behave properly in her one to one talk post the lunch. However the male ego took it differently and in order to take his revenge the SAHIB got a new scene written in no time, wherein the hero tightly slaps the heroine in the story progression.
Further the SAHIB cunningly took “31 retakes” of the slapping scene and nothing was said even by the so called HERO who was one of the top most stars of those times, lovingly worshipped by the young girls of the country as their role model. The HERO very well knew what was being done and for what reason. But he didn’t say a single word during those 31 unnecessary retakes slapping Meena Kumari hard.
On the other side, the lady didn’t utter a single word and then later cried her heart out in the make-up room.
That was early 50s as revealed by Balraj Sahni and if you are even remotely familiar with the industry and its work-structure, the situation might be better but is not hugely different even seven decades later in the present times of the new millennium.
Friends interested in reading Balraj Sahni’s autobiography “Meri Filmi Aatmkatha” translated in English, its available in the BTC article on the same at the following link:
Bobby Sing
(21st October 2018)
For more interesting articles on lesser known facts on Hindi Cinema, do try DID YOU KNOW Series by Bobby Sing available in both Book and E-book form.

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Tags : Meena Kumari and her ME-TOO moment as revealed by Balraj Sahni, Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Worth Reading Autobiography
21 Oct 2018 / Comment ( 2 )

Why u didn't take the names that Sahib was Mehboob khan, hero was Dilip kumar and the film was 'Amar' as they say?

Bobby Sing

Because I cannot claim any names when the author didnt.......... just on the basis of 'As They Say'.
However would love to share the same if I get any authorised mention in an article, book or magazine. 
Please do send me if you get to find any.

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