large dancing eyes, the lopsided and mischievous smile, the
innocent looks………she is no doubt the most
beautiful actress Hindi Film heroine ever. She started working
at eight. Madhubala never experienced childhood and had to work
in order to keep the household running. Father Ataullah Khan
had a large brood of children and the family needed the money.
As Baby Mumtaz, she was first seen as a child star in Bombay
Talkies's Basant (1942).
she did a few unremarkable films as a child artiste, until Kidar
Sharma cast her as a heroine in Neelkamal (1947) opposite another
newcomer Raj Kapoor. However it was with the Bombay Talkies
suspense thriller Mahal (1949) that Madhubala became a star.
Aaega aanewala from the film remains her signature song till
today! 1950’s was a major disappointment as most of the
films she did flopped at the box office and she was declared
as a “box office poison”.
Khan's Amar opposite Dilip Kumar also flopped which left Madhubala
with no hits at all. Though Madhubala’s performance was
very good in the film and for the first time she gave a very
mature performance, yet the audience didn’t like the movie.
During the making of the film she also got romantically involved
with Dilip Kumar but the couple soon broke off. She also came
to be replaced by another actress in B R Chopra's Naya Daur
(1957) and had to suffer an acrimonious court case.
however bounced back with a string of hits in the 1958-60 period
- Phagun (1958), Howrah Bridge (1958), Kala Pani (1958), Chalti
ka Naam Gaadi (1958) - all among her more memorable films and
of course Mughal-e-Azam (1960). Her song ‘Aaiye Mehrbaan’
is still remembered and she looked stunning as a club dancer.
In Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi Madhubala displayed rare comic electricity
and matched Kishore Kumar step by step in his madcap antics.
it was Mughal-e-Azam that saw perhaps her greatest performance
as the doomed courtesan Anarkali. By now Madhubala was diagnosed
as having a hole in her heart yet she managed to keep it a secret
from the industry. Despite being ill she never complained about
a thing during the shooting of the film. She agreed to be shackled
in real chains to bring authenticity to the scene. She also
posed as a veiled statue in a heavy zari outfit for hours under
the sweltering sun. And it all paid off when the film was released
in 1960 and declared an instant classic.
by now her condition was serious and she was advised not to
exert herself by the doctors. She also plunged into a loveless
marriage with Kishore Kumar and lingered on for nine years till
her death in 1969. She did do few films like Passport (1961),
Half Ticket (1962) and Sharabi (1964). She also tried making
a comeback opposite Raj Kapoor in Chaalaak (1964) but collapsed
on the sets on the very first day of shooting and the film was
shelved. Finally, on February 23, 1969, within days of her birthday,
Madhubala succumbed to a heart attack.