Bollywood stars have everything we dream of – name, fame and money. But the meteoric rise in the cinema industry is often short lived if they do not handle and sustain their success. Many Bollywood faces have fizzled out and faded from our memories. Their riches-to-rags stories are upsetting and shocking. In this post, read more about the Bollywood stars who died penniless and spent their last few days in utter penury.
1. Meena Kumari: The Tragedy Queen’ of Indian cinema had a tragic life both personally and financially. Born Mehajabee Bano, she went on to become one of the most iconic celebrities of Bollywood. Meena’s marriage to writer-director Kamal Amrohi soured when Dharmendra made an appearance in her life, soon her marriage broke up. Meena Kumari became an alcoholic and damaged her liver. Towards the end of her life, she and Amrohi took up the stalled ‘Pakeezah’ project. Despite her failing health, Meena Kumari gave the performance her everything. She died all alone three weeks after the movie released with no money left to pay her hospital bills.
2. Ruby Myers: Ruby Myers became a popular Hindi cinema star, more widely known as Sulochana. As a silent movie star, she was one of the highest paid actors of her day. The charming yesteryear star was such a crowd-puller that one short film of Mahatma Gandhi inaugurating a khadi exhibition had Sulochana’s dance number added in. She learnt to speak Hindi and had a few hits but gradually, offers dried up. She started her own production house, Ruby Pics, in 1930. She won the Dada Saheb Phalke award in 1973. Her last few years were spent in complete oblivion and monetary crisis, till her demise in 1983.
3. Parveen Babi: Parveen Babi graced the cover of Time magazine and had several hit movies to her credit. The hot siren of Bollywood had her bold looks, but she later developed paranoid schizophrenia and accused several popular personalities like Amitabh Bachchan and Bill Clinton to try to kill her. She lived alone in her Mumbai flat and died a lonely death. She had virtually nothing and no one to call her own, and her last rites were performed by Mahesh Bhatt.
4. Bhagwan Dada: Bhagwan Abhaji Palav’s story is a sad and tragic one. Popularly known as Bhagwan Dada, he made his Bollywood debut with the film ‘Criminal’ and went on deliver hits like ‘Albela’ with Geeta Bali. He lived his life king size and had all luxuries. The downfall started with films like ‘Jhamela’ and ‘Labela’ flunking, forcing him to sell his Juhu bungalow and seven cars, which he used one for each day of the week. He had to move to live in a chawl and died of a massive heart attack at his residence in 2002.
5. A.K. Hangal: The ‘Itna sannata kyu hai bhai?’ actor has 225 films to his credit. In his last days, he battled acute poverty and went bankrupt. His financial condition went from bad to worse, and made him difficult to pay his medical bills. When Amitabh Bachchan came to know about his condition he gave Rs 20 lakh for his treatment. In 2012, he breathed his last at the age of 95, completely penniless.
6. Vimi: Vimi became an overnight sensation when she starred in B.R. Chopra’s Humraaz in 1967. After the failure of her next big project Aabroo, things went downward spiral for Vimi who was now reduced to pose for photoshoots in magazines. Her subsequent projects failed to make a mark. Vimi died at a young age and she had almost nothing besides her name. It is also said that she was abused in her marriage and had a tumultuous personal life. It’s shocking to know that her body was taken to the crematorium in a rickshaw.
7. Bharat Bhushan: Bharat Bhushan was some of the first few actors in the country who defined stardom. He is best remembered for playing Baiju Bawra in the 1952 movie of the same name. The affluent actor was an avid reader and boasted of his collection of books. He was a gambler and suffered huge losses, due to which he had to sell off like his cars and bungalows in bad times. His last days of his life were spent in a chawl in destitution.
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