As a charming Madhubala lip-synced to Asha Bhosle's seductive voice in Ashok Kumar's 'Howrah Bridge', she captivated a million of hearts with her enchanting beauty and elegance. Born as Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi, the actress made her first appearance on the celluloid at the age of nine in Basant (1942).
As a child artist, Madhubala would often totter around various studios of Bombay in search of work and made several friends there. Around the same time,she befriended another child artist Baby Mahjabeen who later went on to become one of the most sought-after actresses- Meena Kumari.
Madhubala's acting prowess caught Devika Rani's eye who advised her to the screen name "Madhubala". She bagged her first lead role opposite Raj Kapoor in Neel Kamal at the age of 14. Over the years, she went on to star in various classic films like Mughal-E-Azam, Mr. & Mrs. 55, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Howrah Bridge, Half Ticket amongst others.
Madhubala was born on Valentine's Day i.e 14th February. But, it was a failed heart which cut short her journey.
In a Filmfare interview, her sister Madhur recalled, "Apa first fell in love with Premnath. The relationship lasted six months. It broke on grounds of religion. He asked her to convert and she refused."
Her Love Story With Dilip Kumar
"She met Bhaijan (Dilip Kumar) on the sets of Tarana. They later worked in Sangdil, Amar and Mughal-e-Azam. It was a nine year long affair. They even got engaged."
Shammi Kapoor was quoted as saying in an interview, "Dilip Kumar would drive down from Bombay to meet Madhubala... he even flew to Bombay to spend Eid with her, taking time off from his shooting stint."
"The breakup with Dilip Kumar happened due to the court case during Naya Daur in the mid '50s. The unit was to shoot somewhere in Gwalior. During the shooting of another film Jabeen Jaleel, at the same location, a mob had attacked the women and even torn their clothes off.
My father was wary and just asked that the locale be changed. It's not that he didn't let her go outdoors. Apa had shot in Mahableshwar, Hyderabad and other places before. Bhaijan (Dilip Kumar) called my father ‘a dictator' in court and sided with the Chopras (late BR Chopra was the director).
Darare padh gayee, rishtey toot gaye (relationships were broken).‘‘We love and respect Bhaijan but I have just one question, ‘Aapki mohabbat yahan thi, aapki chahat yahan thi, phir aapne aisa kyun kiya (why didn't you side with your love)?' Bhaijan could've simply said let's change the location. Or remained neutral.
Apa used to cry a lot those days. They had conversations on the phone trying to patch up. He kept saying, ‘Leave your father and I'll marry you'. She'd say, ‘I'll marry you but just come home, say sorry and hug him'. It was zid (ego) which destroyed their love," said Madhubala's sister.
Madhubala Got Involved With Kishore Kumar On A Rebound
Madhur recalled, "What attracted her to Kishore? Maybe it was his singing or maybe his ability to make her laugh. Their love affair went on for three years through Chalti Ka Naam Gadi and Half Ticket. They got married in 1960, when she was 27.
After marriage they flew to London where the doctor told her she had only two years to live. After that Kishore left her at our house saying, ‘I can't look after her. I'm on outdoors often'.
But she wanted to be with him. He'd visit her once in two months though. Maybe he wanted to detach himself from her so that the final separation wouldn't hurt.
But he never abused her as was reported. He bore her medical expenses. They remained married for nine years."
Madhubala Was Diagnosed With Ventricular Septal Defect
"While shooting for Mughal-e-Azam she was tied with chains and had to walk around with them. That was stressful. By the end of the day her hands would turn blue.
She'd even refuse food saying that she had to look anguished and weary for the jail scenes.
The ‘feather scene' between her and Bhaijan (considered the most romantic in Hindi cinema) was shot after the breakup."
The Indian Cinema Lost A Shining Star
"Due to her ailment, her body would produce extra blood. So it would spill out from the nose and mouth.
The doctor would come home and extract bottles of blood. She also suffered from pulmonary pressure of the lungs. She coughed all the time. Every four to five hours she had to be given oxygen or else would get breathless.
She was confined to bed for nine years and was reduced to just bones and skin. She'd keep crying, ‘Mujhe zinda rehna hai, mujhe marna nahin hai, doctor kab ilaaj nikalenge. Finally she left for heavenly abode on February 23, 1969 at the age of 30.