Gone Too Soon...

Updated on Jun 09, 2013 05:32 AM IST  |  5.6M
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There is something about dying young that perpetuates fame. Witness the icon industry that has sprung around Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. Or Meena Kumari (who passed away at 40), or Madhubala (who died at 36). Then there is Jiah Khan, all but 25 years old. Let's remember some of the silver screen beautiful actresses that gone to soon but remain unforgetable in the memories of movie lovers....VIMI - Wooden Face “She came to my office a week before she died,” says B.R.Chopra. “Though it was quite early in the day, she was reeking of cheap tharra (alcohol). She was very distraught, her back and arms were covered with bruises.” - Filmfare, Jul 1994 On Auguest 22, 1977, a dead body was wrapped in a soiled dhoti taken to Santa Cruz crematorium on a Chanawalla's thela. It was a last journey of Vimi, a famous film star of late 1960s. There were only a few curious bystanders. Her fans had forgotten her. So had her producers and heroes. "And to imagine that she once used to drive down the same roads in an Impala. Crowds would hope to catch glimpse of the Humraaz heroine One look at Vimi and B.R Chopra found his heroine for Humraaz (1967). However, It was unusual for a bahu from a rich but conservative Calcutta family to join films . Humraaz was super hit and a star, as they say, was born. But she concentrated more on her looks than on her acting. Clothes, make-up and those elaborate bouffants were her forte. Her films like Vachan, Patanga and Abroo were wash-out. Although critically acclaimed Nanak Naam Jahaaz celebrated a silver jubilee but by then it was too late. Apparently, watching her stardom go to pieces, Vimi had lost her zest for life. Her husband left her and went back to his family. She started drinking heavily, her liver was damaged. Her last few days were spent in the general ward of Nanavati hopsital and she was pennyless. KULDIP KAUR - Bad Girl With Golden Heart "She was like a man,We all left Lahore in such a hurry that my car was left behind. Kuldip went back to Lahore even as rioting was in full swing, picked up the car and drove first to Amritsar and then all the way to Bombay. She was head of her time". - Filmfare, Nov 1994 Kuldip Kaur or KK’s life story cannot be separated from erstwhile united Punjab's premier twin cities of Lahore and Amritsar. It goes like that she was fond of good life offered by Punjab's both premier cities and hardly spent a day without visiting either Lahore or Amritsar. Way before Shashikala and Nadira, Kuldip Kaur made a name for herself playing the bad girl to perfection. She was she-devil of Indian Cinema. Her rare and large expressive eyes, dimpled smile and acid-scare cheek brought mystery every time she appeared on silver screen, it drove her heroes wild and heroines as well. She was trying for a breakthrough in films in Lahore when the partition of India took place. While looking for work in Bombay, Kuldip landed up at Bombay Talkies and she never looked back. She became a one command army after played strong characters like modern and utterly untorant women in Gharishti, adultery wife in Afsana, British spy in Samadhi, bandit Queen in Birju Bawra and urban society darling in Kaneez. Kuldip died due to lockjaw (Tetanus) resulting from a trip to Shirdi in 1960. She had walked amidst some fields to eat 'ber' and found her leg infested with thorns of the plant. Though she laughingly pulled them out, a couple of thorns stayed in. Her last Punjabi film Yamla Jatt (1960) released after her death and ran successfully in both ancient cities Lahore and Amritsar, which she once owned.SMITA PATIL - Earthy Appeal "She managed to do so much in just a 11-year career. Which is why 25 years after her death, she is still revered and respected," Shabana Azmi, Hindusani Times She represent the feisty Indian women, struggling working class and marginalized. She changed the image of poor women on the screen, the women were poor and at times vulnerable but they were steel-strong and can take their destiny in their own hands. WHEN SMITA Patil breathed her last on the midnight of December 13, 1986 at age of 31, Indian cinema lost an amazing actress and she deserves the legend that has been build around her. Her first tryst with the camera was as a television newscaster. Her dusky beauty and large eyes drew attention. One of the major beneficiaries of the mid-1970s efflorescence of the art movement in Hindi cinema, Smita's film career got off the ground courtesy mentor Shyam Benegal. Smita Patil, along with Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri, was one of the leading performers of Indian parallel cinema or the 'Indian New Wave' of the 1970s and 80s. Smita played complex roles with such ease. Her fiery looks, sensuous body and blazing talent is unforgettable. She has left behind a rich haul of films that showcase her enormous ability to offer us a glimpse into her soul each time she performed a role. MEENA KUMARI – Tradegy Queen “If I were to describe her in two words, she was ‘Afsana Pasand’. She led her whole life following crooked shadows, mirages. She never touched reality and that is why (probably) she drank herself to everlasting oblivion". - Movie, 1982 Meena Kumari was undoubtedly one of the greatest actresses in Hindi cinema. Few could match her in her dramatic roles as she gave the Indian film heroine much grace and dignity even in suffering and moist-eyed actress will always be remembered as Hindi cinema's Tragedy Queen. Born into a film family, Little Meena got her name in her debut film, Vijay Bhatt's Jairaj-starrer Leather Face in 1939. Later, when Meena started doing mature roles in the late 1940s and early 1950s, she starred opposite the same Jairaj as his heroine in Magroor. she held the audience captive with her portrayal of the self-sacrificing Gauri in Baiju Bawra (1952), directed by Vijay Bhatt. With Baiju Bawra, the suffering Indian Woman found a new face in Meena Kumari. Meena went from strength to strength playing the suffering woman, the martyr to perfection. Meena spent the last years of her life playing the 'doomed diva'. With heavy drinking she had lost her looks and she began playing character roles albeit strong ones in potboilers . But in the spirit of the maxim that the fame burns brightest before it is snuffed, the best was round the corner. Amrohi’s Pakeezah, for which Meena was paid the princely sum of a gold asharfi, was earmarked by destiny to prove a gold mine. Even as the nation marvelled at her ability to infuse life into her role in Pakeezah, Meena Kumari breathed her last. Within a couple of months of Pakeezah's release, Meena Kumari died on March 31, 1972. And left behind a film befitting her legend. GEETA BALI - A Smile That Doest Die "I consider her one of our great artistes. There was nobody who performed like her. She was very versatile. When she entered the industry, everybody had written her off. I believed in her and made her a star." - Screen Weekly, 1997 Natural, spontaneous and gifted with a spot-on sense of comic timing, Geeta Bali easily one of best artist ever grace on Silver Screen. Her dancing eyes and her animated, expressive face which mirrored her soul were her most outstanding features. Yet life was snatched away from this vibrant personality at an achingly young age of 35. Geeta, who was born Harikirtan Kaur In Amritsar and had done a few small-time dancing roles in pre-Partition Punjab in films like Badnami. At last fortune smiled. Actor Mazhar Khan spotted her in a Lahore studio and asked her to came to Bombay. She was soon to meet star-maker Kidar Sharma. Sharma cast Geeta in his superhit Suhaag Raat (1948) and with films like Bawre Nain, Anand Math, Baaz, Albela and Baazi , She became a major star in 1950s. Famously down-to-earth despite her star status, Geeta was the antithesis of the coy 1950s' heroine. She often drove herself to her premieres in an open jeep. Those who knew her claim she was a Samaritan who touched the lives of whoever she met. Sadly, Geeta Bali passed away on January 21, 1965. tragedy struck when on an outdoor shooting in Punjab she contracted smallpox. MADHUBALA – Venus of Indian Screen "Madhubala was a precocious kid. I remember when I first saw her. She was sitting with her father and I came into the room. I sat beside her and was surprised when she got up and told me that I shouldn't sit beside her as she was a woman and I was a man. I was quite amused and told her that she was like a daughter and she shouldn't talk like that to me." - Screen Weekly,1997 Never a star so correctly named as is Madhubala, which literally means “Honey Belle”. Thirty-three years after her death, Madhubala's inordinate allure continues to evoke legends and inspire superlatives. Indeed, hers was no ordinary beauty. When Madhubala fired up that oxygenating smile, she had the hotline to every Indian heart. In her short life, however, she notched up a legion of achievements. She started working at eight As Baby Mumtaz, she was first seen as a child star in Bombay Talkies's Basant (1942). But the film that catapulted her to stardom was Mahal (1949), Madhubala played the enigmatic gardener's daughter and gave lip sync to Lata's immortal Ayega aanewala in this fascinatingly complex Kamal Amrohi psychodrama. She made a crowd pleasing will o' the wisp. For a decade, Madhubala had invested her best efforts into Mughal-e-Azam, It all paid off when the film was released in 1960 and declared an instant classic. Madhubala's life was marked by disappointments, including a heart ailment that resulted in the star passing away at the young age of 36. After Mughal-e-Azam, the best of times ironically coincided with the worst of times for Madhubala. She could have had the best of roles but was advised not to overwork and exert herself. Finally, on February 23, 1969, within days of her birthday, Madhubala succumbed to a heart attack. DIVYA BHARTI - Forever Young "At times she's like a ziddi brat and you have to deal with her like a patient, indulgent parent. I had to really pamper her. But I didn't have to cancel single day's shoot beecause of her. She worked even with 102 degrees temperature". - Raj Kanwar, Filmfare, Sep 1992. On April 7, 1993 Bombay bade farewell to a young girl dressed in bridal attire. It was the final journey of the country’s darling diva Divya Bharati, all but 19 years old. She had fallen from off the window of fifth floor apartment on Yari Road, Verosva. To date, Divya’s death still remains a mystery. She left behind many controversies and dozen hits and as many panicking producers with unfinished films. Divya Bharti’s life was like a fairy tale's story. At 15 she had given up school books to listen to story narrations. At 16, the super hit Bobbili Raja made her a superstar of Telugu Cinema. At 18, as Saat Samunder Paar girl From Vishwatma and hits like Deewana and Shola Aur Shabnam made her highest paid actress…then on April 5 1993, within days of her 19th birthday, Divya fell to her death. She was next big thing in early 90s, Almost every producer was keen on working with her. She was signing films left, right and center. She epitomised what was truly bold and beautiful in the movies, her childlike enthusiasm won her many fans. It was an absolute tragedy that Indian cinema was robbed of a superstar. First Photo: MadhubalaSecond Photo: Geeta Bali, Meena Kumar, Kuldip Kaur & Divya Bharti
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