Who will portray Meena Kumari in the OTT series based on ‘Pakeezah’?
Speculation is rife about who will play the iconic actor in the big-budget Yoodlee and Bilal Amrohi production
This seems to be the season of biopics. There is ‘Blonde,’ an upcoming Netflix film based on a novel by Joyce Carol Oates and inspired by the life of Marilyn Monroe where the tragedy-scarred star, will be essayed by Ana de Armas. Back home, there are stories about at least two Madhubala biopics in the works, and some time back Yoodlee Productions and Bilal Amrohi, the grandson of filmmaker Kamal Amrohi, announced a series based on the making of the iconic blockbuster, ‘Pakeezah.’ The fictional series that will go on the floors in 2023 will also focus on the intense relationship between the director – Kamal Amrohi and his muse – Meena Kumari against the backdrop of the historic film. Right now the search is on for the female actor who will play Meena Kumari and speculation is rife about which star will be a perfect fit for this once-in-a-lifetime narrative.
Here are some of the names that might look good playing the major role.
Sara Ali Khan
With her natural Nawabi demeanor, clear diction, and ability to be playful and regal at will, Sara Ali Khan may just be the unexpected but right fit to play a role that so many actors are coveting. It is hard to visualize a contemporary actor like Meena Kumari but with deep engagement with her life and work, Sara could perhaps do justice to one of the finest actors in the history of Hindi cinema.
With dancing and histrionics running in her genes, Janhvi Kapoor could play Meena Kumari convincingly. She has a certain sensitivity and an ability to convey stillness and pathos that could work in her favor. With her expressive eyes and traditional features, she could successfully take us back to the era of ‘Pakeezah’ and fill us with nostalgia for the kind of filmmaking that we don’t see anymore today.
Kareena Kapoor Khan
With a career spanning over two decades and counting, the only thing missing in Kareena’s oeuvre is a well-made period film or a series where the story revolves around her. She also can project femininity, vulnerability, as well as strength. Meena Kumari’s screen presence is always communicated. With her passion for vintage cinema, timeless beauty and talent, Kareena could today be a good bet to play Meena Kumari.
Vidya Balan who paid the perfect cinematic tribute to Silk Smitha in ‘The Dirty Picture and pathbreaking mathematician Shakuntala Devi and has consistently picked performance-oriented roles is also a unique, fearless performer like Meena Kumari. She too has always focused on portraying characters rather than projecting glamour. She also has a traditional, Indian beauty that would lend itself well to a portrayal of Meena Kumari whose double role in ‘Pakeezah’ remains unmatched for its range, artistry, and refinement.
Alia is the best actor of her generation and all doubts about whether she, with her diminutive build and baby face can play a powerful woman were put to rest with her towering performance in ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi.’ It may be tough to imagine her as Meena Kumari but she is one actor who, like a chameleon, becomes just about any character she is asked to play. She already has a stunning body of work for someone her age and playing Meena Kumari could just be the next challenge she may be looking for post-motherhood.
Who do you think will be the best fit for the role?