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Happy Birthday Madhubala: A Bollywood Legend Of Beauty And Tragedy

PRERNA YADAV | 0
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| February 14 , 2019 , 13:23 IST

Madhubala, one of the most iconic faces of Indian Cinema was born to be remembered by generations because of her legendary beauty and her coquettish charm. The world celebrated her 86th birth anniversary today.

Born as Mumtaz Begum on February 14, 1933, in Delhi to a poor Pashtun family. Her father moved the family to Bombay, where they lived in a shantytown that happened to be near the Bombay Talkies film studio. Mumtaz caught the eye of the studio’s co-founder, Devika Rani, who later gave her the name Madhubala.

She was born with a ventricular septal defect, a hole in her heart, diagnosed after she began working. There was no treatment for her condition, and she continued her punishing pace, completing more than 70 films in her short career.

She made her debut as a child artiste in 1942 with a film called Basant, she quickly rose to fame and did her first adult role in the 1947 film Neel Kamal, only 14 at that time.

Madhubala, who was barely 16, became a superstar overnight through her film “Mahal”.

In 1951 she paired opposite Dilip Kumar in “Tarana”. She was immediately smitten with Dilip Kumar who 10 years her senior, and reportedly sent him a rose, the beginning of a long romance. The two became the talk of the town. Both were superbly matched, successful stars with a huge fan following.

It is believed that Kumar recommended Madhubala as his co-star for “Mughal-e-Azam”, storyline based on the legend of a romance between the Mughal prince Salim and a dancer, Anarkali.

They had been eager to marry, but Madhubala’s father had set conditions, including that Dilip Kumar will have to star in movies he would produce. Kumar demanded that she choose between him and her father. She chose her family. An ugly lawsuit over another movie hastened their breakup.

The most erotically-charged scene in the film Mughal-e-Azam – the feather sequence – was shot when Madhubala and Dilip Kumar were separated and didn’t even see each other in the eye.

The film took a decade to release and finally when it did she had married her frequent co-star Kishore Kumar, a talented singer.

Her marriage to Kishore Kumar was equally problematic. It has been alleged that she got married to him on a whim that she could get any man she desired. Whatever the reason, the union was an unhappy one and some say the principle reason was her declining health.

She died 20 years later as an icon of beauty and tragedy — her dazzling career, unhappy love life and fatal illness more dramatic than any movie she starred in.

Besotted poets called her “a living Taj Mahal,” but Madhubala’s radiant beauty was not cold or forbidding. Her dreamy eyes, vivacious smile and mischievous laughter gave her a girl-next-door appeal.

Famous film journalist BK Karanjia had declared that ‘none of her published photographs did full justice to her quite extraordinary beauty’.

Her co-stars also admired her. Dev Anand was once quoted as saying “statuesque is the word I would use for her”. Baburao Patel, editor and publisher of FilmIndia, both feared and respected by the film industry, had dubbed her the ‘Venus of the Indian Screen’.

Indeed she was truly an epitome of beauty and undisputed spirit.