Kamal Amrohi Age, Death, Wife, Children, Family, Biography & More » StarsUnfolded

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Hometown: Uttar Pradesh, India

Age: 75 Years

Death Date: 11/02/1993

Kamal Amrohi

Kamal Amrohi

Some Lesser Known Facts About Kamal Amrohi

  • Kamal Amrohi was an Indian film director, screenwriter, and poet. He was married to the renowned Indian actress Meena Kumari.
  • His name was sometimes spelt as Kamal Amrovhi or Kamaal Amrohi.
  • During his school days, he developed a passion for writing short stories in Urdu with the dream of turning them into films. However, his father had different plans and wanted him to manage the family estates, discouraging his ambition to become a filmmaker.
  • In his childhood, Kamal was known for being mischievous. One day, after his elder brother had enough of his antics, he slapped Kamal, which deeply affected him. In a fit of anger, Kamal decided to leave home at the age of 16 and eloped to Lahore, then part of British India (now Pakistan). To buy the train ticket, he even sold his sister’s gold bangles. In Lahore, he initially worked as a short story writer for an Urdu magazine but later shifted to Mumbai (then Bombay), where he had the opportunity to meet veteran Indian actors such as Sohrab Modi and K. L. Saigal.
  • As time passed, Kamal Amrohi mastered various languages including Urdu, Hindi, Persian, and Arabic, which significantly influenced his work as a writer and poet.
  • Even before entering the world of filmmaking, he had already gained recognition as a poet and writer.
  • Kamal then wrote the stories of various Hindi films like ‘Pukar’ (1939), ‘Prem Ki Jyot’ (1939), ‘Main Hari’ (1939), ‘Mahal’ (1949), and ‘Pakeezah’ (1972).
  • One day, while working on a Hindi film set, Kamal was introduced to Indian actress Meena Kumari by actor Ashok Kumar. Impressed with her talent, Kamal offered Meena a role in one of his films. However, before the project could begin, Meena Kumari was involved in a car accident on 21 May 1951. She was hospitalized for an extended period and battled depression. During her time in the hospital, Kamal regularly visited and exchanged letters with Meena, providing comfort during her difficult phase. After four months of hospitalisation, Meena was discharged, and they began having long phone conversations, eventually falling in love. On 14 February 1952, Meena and Kamal decided to marry each other in a secret nikah ceremony.
  • The marriage faced opposition from Meena’s family, and only her sister Mahliqa (Madhu) was present at the ceremony. As the years passed, Kamal became possessive of Meena and imposed strict rules on her, such as coming home by 6:30 in the evening, restricting access to her makeup room, and using only the car he provided. Rumours of domestic violence surrounding Meena also surfaced, although Kamal denied them. Vinod Mehta once interviewed Kamal Amrohi and asked him about the rumours of physical violence. In the book, he wrote,

    When her star start rising, his went down. I asked Kamal Amrohi if indeed he had hit her as per many rumours. He completely denied it, saying that such a thing was totally against his upbringing. But six different people told me that there was physical violence in their relationship. Those were the days when Meena Kumari would come back Rembrandt till late at night.”

  • Allegedly, Kamal divorced Meena by uttering ‘talaq’ three times in a fit of anger. However, Kamal’s son Tajdar Amrohi refuted this claim, dismissing it as a false belief spread by ill-wishers. According to some other sources, Meena is said to have undergone the Nikah Halala with Amanullah Khan (Zeenat Aman’s father) before reconciling with Kamal Amrohi. After returning to Kamal, she said,

    Now, after this Nikah Halala, what is the difference between me and a prostitute?”

  • Reportedly, in 1964, Meena Kumari and Kamal Amrohi ended their marriage. Earlier, during the mahurat of the film ‘Pinjre Ke Panchhi,’ an incident occurred in Meena’s makeup room when Kamal’s assistant, Baqar Ali, slapped her. Meena had insisted on having lyricist Gulzar in her makeup room, but Kamal’s rules for her were different, resulting in the altercation. After the incident, Meena Kumari decided not to return home that night, feeling burdened by numerous rules and strict surveillance, which contributed to her depression. Some sources suggest that problems in their relationship arose due to Meena’s alleged extramarital affair with the Indian actor Dharmendra.
  • In 1958, Kamal initiated Kamaal Studios, but it ceased operations after three years and was later acquired by Natraj Studios.
    Kamaal Pictures

    Kamaal Pictures

  • Kamal Amrohi had a grand vision of creating a world-class film studio that would encompass all aspects of film production. In 1958, he transformed his dream into reality and founded Kamal Amrohi Studios alongside his film production house, Kamal Pictures (Mahal Films), which had been established in 1953. Sprawling over 15 acres in the Jogeshwari East area of Mumbai, Kamal Amrohi Studios stood as one of the most extensive and well-equipped studios of its time. It quickly became a bustling hub for filmmaking, offering state-of-the-art facilities such as multiple sets, soundstages, post-production rooms, and outdoor shooting locations. Filmmakers found solace in this studio to bring their creative visions to life. Moreover, the studio played a pivotal role as a cultural and creative centre, nurturing aspiring artists and honing talents in various filmmaking disciplines. Within its premises, legendary actors, directors, writers, and technicians flourished, making it a prestigious breeding ground for talent.
    Kamal Studio

    Kamal Studio

    Kamal Amrohi's studio

    Kamal Amrohi’s studio

  • As the film industry evolved, new studios emerged, and filmmaking trends changed. Kamal Amrohi Studios encountered financial difficulties, and its operations gradually scaled down. After Kamal Amrohi’s demise, the ownership passed to his children, who eventually sold the property to a builder.
  • He worked as a director in various Hindi films such as ‘Daaera’ (1953), ‘Pakeezah’ (1972), ‘Majnoon’ (1979; unreleased), and ‘Razia Sultan’ (1983). He also showcased his production skills in movies like ‘Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai’ (1960) and ‘Pakeezah’ (1972).
    Kamal Amrohi on the sets of one of his films

    Kamal Amrohi on the sets of one of his films

  • He also worked as a screenplay writer in films such as ‘Prem Ki Jyot’ (1939), ‘Main Hari’ (1940), ‘Mahal’ (1949), ‘Pakeezah’ (1972), and ‘Razia Sultan’ (1983).
  • His association with the Hindi film industry extended to being a dialogue writer for films like ‘Mazaaq’ (1943), ‘Phool’ (1945), ‘Saqi’ (1952), ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ (1960), and ‘Shankar Hussain’ (1977).
  • He worked as a lyricist in two films ‘Pakeezah’ (1972) and ‘Shankar Hussain’ (1977) and collaborated on the song “Thare Rahiyo” for the Indo-Canadian film ‘Such a Long Journey’ in 1998.
    Kamal Amrohi on the sets of his film

    Kamal Amrohi on the sets of his film

  • Following Meena Kumari‘s demise, Kamal Amrohi lived with his second wife, Mehmoodi. After Mehmoodi’s death in 1982, he married his physician, Deep Kaur, to avoid loneliness in his old age and not burden his children. They met when Kamal used to visit a hospital for minor ailments.
  • In his final days, Kamal Amrohi envisioned a film titled ‘Aakhri Mughal’ and had penned a significant portion of its script. However, the project remained unfinished after his death. Filmmaker J P Dutta contemplated reviving it in the late 1990s as Abhishek Bachchan‘s debut, but the plan did not materialise.
  • Kamal was often seen smoking cigarettes and hukka.
    Kamal Amrohi smoking

    Kamal Amrohi smoking

  • He held a deep admiration for the legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar and often insisted on having her lend her voice to the songs in his films, considering her as a daughter.
    Kamal Amrohi with Lata Mangeshkar

    Kamal Amrohi with Lata Mangeshkar

  • After his death, The Independent, a UK daily, published an obituary praising his “Moghul-like” presence and significant role in shaping the Hindi film industry for over five decades. 
  • In 2013, India Post issued a commemorative stamp in his name.
    Kamal Amrohi's postal stamp

    Kamal Amrohi’s postal stamp

  • In February 2022, a web series based on the love story of Kamal Amrohi and Meena Kumari, set against the backdrop of the making of the film ‘Pakeezah,’ was announced by music label Saregama and actor Bilal Amrohi, Kamal Amrohi’s grandson.
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