49 years of Pakeezah: Lesser-known facts about the classic

Shruti Niraj
·3-min read

49 years of Pakeezah: Lesser-known facts about the classic
49 years of Pakeezah: Lesser-known facts about the classic

03 Feb 2021: 49 years of Pakeezah: Lesser-known facts about the classic

Pakeezah is one of the few Bollywood movies to have stood the test of time. Such is its magic that the dialogue, "Aapke paon dekhe hain, bahut haseen hain. Inhein zameen par mat utariyega... maile ho jaayenge" still warms the hearts of cine buffs.

But there's more to the movie, than what meets the eyes.

On its 49th anniversary, here are some lesser-known facts about Pakeezah.

Fact 1: It took 16 long years to complete 'Pakeezah'

A passion project of filmmaker Kamal Amrohi, Pakeezah, took 16 years to hit screens.

The movie commenced with the muhurat shot on July 16, 1956, and finally hit the screens on February 4, 1972.

It was supposed to be a black-and-white movie but was later shot in cinemascope. So much time had passed between planning and release that the movie's budget, naturally, swelled.

Fact 2: Amrohi made 'Pakeezah' for his wife Meena Kumari

Just like Shah Jahan made Taj Mahal for his wife, Amrohi was fixated on making Pakeezah for his wife, Meena Kumari. He thought the movie will boost Kumari's career as an actor.

But the couple hit a tumultuous phase during the making and eventually parted ways.

It was the star couple Sunil Dutt and Nargis that convinced Kumari to complete the movie.

Fact 3: Two members of the crew passed away before film's completion

Since the movie took years to get completed, two important crew members passed away.

While music composer Ghulam Mohammed, who graced Pakeezah with magical music, died on March 17, 1968, one of Bollywood's earliest cinematographers, Josef Wirsching, passed away on June 11, 1967, due to a heart attack.

After Mohammed, Naushad stepped in and completed the background score.

Fact 4: Many felt 'Pakeezah' wasn't treated fairly

Pakeezah was nominated in five categories for the 1973 Filmfare Awards but the movie just bagged the award for Best Art Direction.

Many believed this was unfair. In fact, veteran actor Pran turned down his Filmfare Award for Be-Imaan, as he thought late music composer Mohammed should have been honored for the music.

Pran was judged as the Best Supporting Actor for his role.

Fact 5: Famous song 'Inhi Logon Ne' wasn't an original composition

The famous song Inhi Logon Ne Le Lina Dupatta Mera, which was used as Sahibjaan's (Kumari) introduction in the movie, wasn't an original number.

It was previously used in RK Shorey's Himmat in 1941 and was crooned by the legendary singer Shamshad Begum.

For Pakeezah, celebrated singer Lata Mangeshkar graced the song with her melodious voice.

Fact 6: Songwriter was changed due to a disagreement

The movie's making wasn't without fights and disagreements.

Amrohi had earlier roped in Majrooh Sultanpuri as the songwriter. However, one day Sultanpuri said he wanted to attend a mushaira before completing the movie's work. The director clearly opined otherwise.

Subsequently, Sultanpuri ended his association with the movie and Amrohi brought Kaifi Azmi on board for the project.

Fact 7: Kumari passed away soon after 'Pakeezah' released

Kumari was often sick during the making and in 1968, was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis.

As her health didn't allow her to shoot long dance sequences, actor-dancer Padma Khanna was used as her body double.

Nearly two months after the release of the movie, Kumari died on March 31, 1972. The movie later completed silver-jubilee at the box office.