Pakeezah (1971)

 ●  Hindi ● 2 hrs 27 mins

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As shown by the presence of 40s Bombay Talkies cameramen Wirsching and R.D. Mathur as well as the composers Ghulam Mohammed and Naushad, Kumari’s best- known film had been planned by her and her husband Amrohi as their most cherished project since 1958, when Amrohi intended to star in it himself. The film started production in 1964. When the star and her director-husband separated, the filming was postponed indefinitely. After some years, during which Kumari suffered from alcoholism, she agreed to complete the film. The plot is a classic courtesan tale set in Muslim Lucknow at the turn of the century. The dancer and courtesan Nargis (Kumari) dreams of escaping her dishonourable life but she is rejected by the family of her husband Shahabuddin (A. Kumar) and dies, in a graveyard, giving birth to a daughter, Sahibjaan. The daughter grows up to become a dancer and a courtesan as well (Kumari again). Sahibjaan’s guardian, Nawabjaan (Veena), prevents Sahibjaan’s father from seeing her or knowing who she is. Later, Sahibjaan falls in love with a mysterious, noble stranger who turns out to be her father’s nephew, Salim (R. Kumar). Salim’s father forbids his ward to marry a courtesan. The film’s climax occurs when Sahibjaan dances at Salim’s arranged wedding where her own father also discovers her identity and claims her as his child. Finally her desires are fulfilled and she marries Salim, leaving her past behind. The film’s main merit, however, resides in its delirious romanticism enhanced by saturated colour cinematography. Includes the all-time Lata Mangeshkar hit songs Chalte chalte and Inhe logone ne.

Cast: Ashok Kumar Ganguly, Meena Kumari Bano, Raaj Kumar Pandit

Crew: Kamal Amrohi (Director), Josef Wirsching (Director of Photography), Ghulam Mohammed (Music Director)

Rating: PG (United Kingdom)

Genres: Drama

Release Dates: 01 Jan 1971 (India)

Hindi Name: पाक़ीज़ा

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Did you know? The film took 14 years to be completed because of inconsistencies in planning. Read More
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Direction

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Production

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Art

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Film Type:
Feature
Language:
Hindi
Colour Info:
Black & White
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35:1
Stereoscopy:
No
Tracklist
Music Label: HMV Records
02:38

Music Director: Ghulam Mohammed
Playback Singer: Parveen Sultana
02:29

Music Director: Ghulam Mohammed
Playback Singer: Mamata Unit
05:53

Music Director: Ghulam Mohammed
Playback Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
03:59

Music Director: Ghulam Mohammed
Playback Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
02:41

Music Director: Ghulam Mohammed
Playback Singer: Parveen Sultana
03:41

Music Director: Ghulam Mohammed
Playback Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
05:53

Music Director: Ghulam Mohammed
Playback Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
04:53

Music Director: Ghulam Mohammed
Playback Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Movie Connection(s):
Referenced in: Gunday (Hindi)
Trivia:
Already battling cirrhosis of the liver, Meena Kumari was ill throughout filming and died only a few weeks after it released.

The film took 14 years to be completed because of inconsistencies in planning.

Director Kamal Amrohi got a Cinemascope lens from MGM on a royalty basis for shooting the film. However, he detected a focusing error in the rush prints that had been missed by the cameraman and even the UK lab team that processed the film. On hearing of this, MGM instructed its Indian subsidiary chief not to collect any more royalty and gave the lens to Amrohi as a gift.

Director Kamal Amrohi sketched all the set designs and camera movements, and personally selected every costume, right down to the bangles worn by the minor characters.