The Loveliest Star on The Hindi Screen, The Moslem Madhubala
Madhubala lit the Mumbai Hindi screen during the middle of the last century. Her incandescent beauty lit up the screen and has left a mark in the world of Hindi cinema. for all time to come
Madubala the lovely Mumbai Hindi Star
When the British ruled India for some reason that cannot be fathomed, the Hindi Film industry took roots in Bombay and developed to a great extant. This resulted in Bombay becoming the epicenter of the Asian film Industry. It grew so rapidly that it soon rivaled Hollywood and also produced a range of stars that lit the screen all over Asia and the Middle East.
Just after 1947 when India became free the Industry continued to spiral upwards and stars on the pattern of Hollywood began to traverse the screen. One of these stars was Madhubala (1933-69) who has left an incandescent mark on the celluloid world.
Madhubala as a Star
Madhubala was born a Muslim in Delhi. Her real name was Mumtaz Begum Jehan Dehlavi. She came to Mumbai in 1944 and remained there till her death in 1969.The partition riots did not affect her and her family and she opted to remain in India, against going to the newly formed state of Pakistan.
Madhubala during the fifties formed a trimurvte with Nargis and Meenakumar (All Muslims) who lit the screen as the 3 icons of female stars. But Madhubala and to a lesser extent Nargis stand out as the heroines who wore western clothes and attire and portrayed the roles of a modern and westernized woman on the screen. This at a time when most other female stars portrayed roles of the long suffering wife and woman in traditional roles.
Madhubala was thus often compared to Marilyn Monroe and she certainly was one of the most beautiful actresses to hit the Hindi screen.
The legacy of Madhubala
Madhubala acted in over 50 films during her sojourn in Mumbai films. In fact she produced hit after hit and was paired with all the top heroes of the Hindi screen. Thus the stars of the period like Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar, Bharat Bhushan, Raj Kapoor and Ashok Kumar all paired with her. Her hits include Mr. and Mrs. 55(1955), Phagun (1958) Howrah Bridge (1958) ‘Mughal e Azam’ (1960), Barsaat ki raat (1960), Sharabi (1964) and a host of other films.
The popularity and the hold of Madhubala on the psyche of the Indian film goers can be gauged from the fact that in 1990 decades after her death in a poll conducted by Movie magazine, she was voted the most popular vintage Hindi actress of all time. She amassed 58% of the votes, and out ranked her contemporary actresses like Meena Kumari, Nargis, and Nutan.
Unfortunately Madhubala had what is popularly called a’ hole in the heart’ and she died young at the age of 36 in 1969.
Madhubala was romantically linked with Dilip Kumar the reigning star of that period. It is rumored that Dilip proposed marriage, but due to the head strong nature of Madhubala and her father the relationship did not take off into marriage. She thus had a tragic life and finally married Kishore Kumar in a civil marriage. But the marriage soured and Madhubala was back in her house after only a month.
Madhubala certainly carved a niche for herself in the History of Indian cinema. She will forever be remembered for her incandescent beauty, a commodity that is with a very few. Not many people know that she was offered a role even in Hollywood by the film maker Frank Capara but her father made her decline it.
Though 40 years have elapsed after her death we can remember her as the most beautiful and versatile actress to hit the Bombay screen in the last century.