Zindagi to bewafa hai - ek din thukraegi.
Maut mehbooba hai apne saath lekar jayegi.
(Life is a betrayer and will betray. (But) death is (my) beloved and will take me one day.

"I do not want to work in films" was the statement of a small six year old kid in 1939 when she was asked to work in film Leatherface as a child actress at the age of six. But she finally did work in the film that she was asked, rather forced, to perform. However, it was also the need of time as the family had difficult finances.

The other aspect is that little Mahjabeen was  one of those serious and sensitive kids who cry when hurt.

However, the real tragedy begins at the point of birth when she was left in an orphanage right after birth as she was the third daughter in succession. Though, the same daughter would feed the family very well one day and start a depressed eventless life as the child actress Baby Meena in 1939 in the Mahesh Bhatt film. Eventless is not the right word but the events were biased away from her. She, as if responding to it, went for an eventless life later on by transforming her personal life into films, the only thing possible for this failed life - the performance.

She never went to the school to learn and that remained one of her desires till the end - she wanted to learn the English language and her Radhakrishnan letter is a famous instance of her life. She did learn urdu, was a good poet and managed to learn broken English. The optimism was there but the thorns were more important to her then flowers.

The roles done by her also were generally serious though she was good at witty and humorous roles as well.

Perhaps this was a child who needed care and not bitter life. Some breathing space and not tight schedules. The seriousness was enhanced by her childhood sorrows and was clearly visible in her film roles done after Parineeta. Sunshines were far in between and a gloomy and serious face was what she mastered and even better mastered was tears.

Idealism and perfectionism was another side of her and her inside was perhaps not accepting to the real life drama. She would give away when there was a dispute and she would not then even raise her voice. The next moment you will find an encouraging and simple Meena Kumari. But then the only thing she got was popularity and money. To be added to her sorrows was her divorce that came in 1964 - one of the classic failed marriages. Two people, who were crazy for each other in the beginning were again crazy in the end - this time for separation. Divorce was Kamal Amrohi.

Later years saw her at the top with popularity and money but nights were lonely. There was an escape - alcohol which dulled her evenings and she was lost. She drank so much that it was difficult for her to know what was happening around her. In the end, this only fuelled her sorrows and flow of tears.

But then it would also give a more refined portrayal of her characters and made successful Sahib, Biwi aur Gulam where she even identified herself with the character of "chhoti bahu" in this film. The same phenomenon refined her in Pakeezah, the immortal film and many many other films some of which are filmfare award winners.

The increasing alcohol intake took toll on her health and she was flown to London for treatment where she stayed for some time. After coming back, she worked for some more time but with even more alcohol! She finished Pakeezah and left after it. The film was finished at a stage when she needed a double for even moving herself.