Madhubala, her real name is Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi, was an Indian actress and producer born on 14 February 1933 in New Delhi. She mainly worked in Hindi cinema and was denoted as India's most paid actress in an earlier era (post-independence era) that happened at the same time as Indian cinema's global rise. Madhubala had a career in Indian cinema that lasted more than 20 years, but she was primarily active for about ten of those years, appearing in nearly 60 films before her death in 1969.
Madhubala, born and raised in Delhi, moved to Bombay when she was eight years old. Soon after, she had brief cinema appearances in supporting roles. In the late 1940s, she quickly advanced to starring roles and found fame in many dramas, especially in Neel Kamal (1947), Amar (1954), and similar ones.
She was born in Delhi on 14 February 1933.
Madhubala was born in Delhi in the British era, and her real name is Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi. She was the fifth daughter of Ataullah Khan and Aayesha Begum, along with their eleven children. Madhubala was born with a disorder called Ventricular septal defect, a congenital heart disorder in the British era. However, the treatment was available for that type of disease.
Madhubala spent her childhood mostly in Delhi and grew up without any high-effective health issues. Madhubala was born in a Muslim family, and her father followed strict religious beliefs. Her father didn't allow children to take studies in his family. So, none of Madhubala's sisters attended school except Zahida. Although Madhubala followed her father's instructions and not studied, she learned languages like Pashto, Hindi, and Urdu. She has always been a huge movie fan and used to act in her favourite moments to entertain her mother with dances and mimicry of film characters of her time. Although during her traditional upbringing, she had aspirations of becoming a movie performer, which her father strongly opposed.
Madhubala's mother was worried about Madhubala's career being destroyed if she allowed her to pursue a career in the Acting and Drama industry. The main reason for this was that his father was very strict and did not allow her to act in films. When her father was fired from the employee company because he misbehaved with his colleagues and the senior officer, her father changed his mindset. Later, the All India radio station hired Madhubala to sing and perform Khurshid Anwar's songs for several months. Due to this, the seven-year-old remained employed there and got to know Rai Bahadur Chunnilal, the general manager of Bombay Talkies, the studio. Madhubala immediately won Chunnilal's respect and appreciation, and he eventually suggested that Khan (her father) travels to Bombay for a better lifestyle.
Work experience and progression to adult roles (1942-1947):
In the starting months of 1941, Madhubala and her family moved to Bombay and settled there for better opportunities. She lived in a cowshed in the Malad neighbourhood of Bombay.
After receiving the go-ahead from the studio management, Chunnilal hired Madhubala for a child actor role in Basant (1942), a Bombay Talkies film, for the pay of 150. After its July 1942 release, Basant enjoyed tremendous commercial success. Even though Madhubala's work was well received, the studio terminated her contract since it was unnecessary to have a child performer at the time. Khan was disappointed to have to take his family back to Delhi again. Later, he could secure low-paying temporary jobs in the city, but his financial situation remained dire.
Devika Rani, the head of Bombay Talkies and a former actress, dispatched Khan to call Madhubala for her part in Jwar Bhata in 1944.
Madhubala was not given the movie role, but Khan has now decided to live permanently in Bombay because of the higher opportunity chances and potential in the industry. The family moved back into their temporary home in Malad, and Khan and Madhubala started making frequent trips to the city's film studios in quest of employment. Soon after, Chandulal Shah's studio Ranjit Movietone signed Madhubala to a three-year deal with a monthly payout of 300. Khan moved the family to a nearby Malad rental home thanks to her salary. The rented home was destroyed in a dock explosion in April 1944; Madhubala and her family could only escape because they had gone to a nearby theatre.
Madhubala became the most successful leading woman of 1960 due to the back-to-back blockbuster hits like Mughal-e-Azam and Barsaat Ki Raat. She was recognized as "Baby Mumtaz" in the following films: in 1944 Mumtaz Mahal, in 1945 Dhanna Bhagat, in 1946 Rajputana, in 1946 Phoolwari, and 1946 Pujari. She was credited as "Baby Mumtaz" in the film Mumtaz Mahal which was released in 1944.
During the filming of Phoolwari in 1945, Madhubala vomited blood, showing the start of a sickness that she would soon be dealing with. She had to borrow money from a movie producer in 1946 to pay for her pregnant mother's care. Madhubala started filming for two of Mohan Sinha's productions, Chittor Vijay and Mere Bhagwaan, which were meant to be her debut in adult parts on the silver screen in November 1946, eager to get a foothold in the business. Daulat, directed by Sohrab Modi, was featured with Madhubala as her debut main role. However, it was put on hold indefinitely and wouldn't continue until the next year.
In Kidar Sharma's drama Neel Kamal, in which she played the lead with Raj Kapoor and Begum Para, she made her acting debut as a leading lady. She was given the role after Kamla Chatterjee, Sharma's initial choice, passed away. Neel Kamal, released in March 1947, was well-liked by the audience and helped Madhubala gain widespread public fame. After that, she collaborated with Kapoor on the films Chittor Vijay, Dil Ki Rani, and Amar Prem, all of which were released in 1947. Her career was not advanced by these films, since they were failures.
The first of Madhubala's two coloured movies, Mughal-e-Azam, included four Technicolor reels. Customers frequently waited all day in line for tickets because the movie had the broadest release of any Indian film up to that point. It was first shown on August 5, 1960, and it quickly broke Indian box office records to become the highest-grossing Indian movie of all time, a title it would keep for 15 years. Mughal-e-Azam led the 8th Filmfare Awards ceremony with seven nominations, including Best Actress for Madhubala, and won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi at the 1961 National Film Awards. It was always wonderful to see how she communicated and acted in her films. Her acting was liked and recognized as real or natural by most of the people.
Madhubala, who used to be raised in an orthodox domestic and was quite devout, has been a practising Muslim throughout her entire life. In the late 1940s, after imparting for her family financially, she rented a villa in Bombay's Bandra neighbourhood and gave it the identify "Arabian Villa." It grew to become her home for the rest of her life. By the time she used to be an adult, she had five one-of-a-kind types of vehicles under her ownership: Buick, Chevrolet, Station Wagon, Hillman, and Town in a Country (which was once owned by solely two people in India at that time, Maharaja of Gwalior and Madhubala). She commenced gaining knowledge of English from former actress Sushila Rani Patel in 1950 and grew to become fluent in the language in three months. She was a natural speaker of three Hindustani languages. Additionally, she had around 18 Alsatians (a breed of bog) as pets in Arabian villa.
During a clinical examination in the middle of 1950, Madhubala was told that she had an irreversible ventricular septal defect in her heart; the information was kept secret from the public because it may also have affected her career.
She participated extensively in charitable work, earning the title of "queen of charity" from the editor named Baburao Patel. She gave 5,000 rupees each to children with poliomyelitis, the Jammu and Kashmir relief fund in 1950, and 50,000 to help East Bengali refugees. Due to Madhubala's religious convictions, her donation caused a significant uproar and gained extensive media coverage at the time. She kept her charitable activity under wraps after that and made anonymous donations. It was discovered in 1954 that Madhubala routinely gave monthly bonuses to her studios' lower-level employees. She also gave the Film and Television Institute of India a camera crane in 1962, which is still in use today.
Arrangements and marriage
In 1951, Madhubala began dating her co-star Prem Nath. The couple broke up after only six months due to religious differences. Nevertheless, Nath remained close to Madhubala and her father, Ataullah Khan, for the remainder of their lives. In 1951, Madhubala started dating actor Dilip Kumar, whom she had first met while filming the film Jwar Bhata Saab in 1944. The media covered their relationship heavily for the rest of the decade. Madhubala's friends say that the years following the treatment were some of the happiest moments.
Soon after their marriage in 1960, Madhubala and Kishore Kumar, along with her family's doctor Rustam Jal vakil, made a trip to London for their honeymoon and to get specialist cardiovascular care for Madhubala. Since Madhubala's condition was rapidly worsening, the family decided to get early prescription or treatment there. In London, cardiologists refused to perform the surgery on her out of concern about potential problems. She was warned not to have children and given a life expectancy of about two years. Instead, Madhubala avoided all stress and anxiety.
When Kishore and Madhubala returned to Bombay, she moved into Kishore's Seskaria cottage in Bandra. Her health became worse, and she and her husband now argued constantly. Kishore's older brother Ashok Kumar claimed that because of her illness, she became "bad-tempered" and spent a lot of time at her father's house. Madhubala eventually moved into Kishore's freshly purchased apartment at Quarter Deck in Bandra to avoid the anger of her in-laws caused by their different religious beliefs. Nevertheless, Kishore briefly remained in the apartment before leaving her alone with a nurse and a driver. Madhubala felt hurt even though he was paying for her medical costs, so she returned to her home in less than two months.
Kishore occasionally visited her for the remainder of her life, which Madhur Bhushan, Madhubala's sister, suggested. She also said that this could be due to "detach himself from her so that the final parting wouldn't hurt."
Madhubala lost a lot of weight and spent her final years tied to a bed. Her particular interest in Urdu poetry led her to routinely view her favourite movies on a home projector, including Mughal-e-Azam. She became incredibly reclusive and only socialized with Geeta Dutt and Waheeda Rehman. She required exchange transfusions nearly every single week. Her body started to overproduce blood, which would leak out of her mouth and nose.
Early in 1969, Madhubala's health had rapidly weakened; she faced jaundice and had been identified as having haematuria by urinalysis. A heart attack has also occurred to Madhubala at midnight on February 22 in the same year. She struggled for a few hours with Kishore and her family before passing away at around 9:30 on February 23, only nine days after completing her age of 36. Along with her journal, Madhubala was laid to rest in Santacruz, Bombay's Juhu Muslim Cemetery. Her monument was made of marble, and poetry dedications and Quranic Ayats were written on it.
Due to Madhubala's nearly ten-year absence from the social scene, her passing was viewed as surprising and received extensive journalistic coverage in India. While Filmfare described her as "a Cinderella whose clock had struck twelve too soon", The Indian Express remembered her as "the most sought-after Hindi film actress" of those days. Several of her friends expressed sorrow over her unexpected death, including Premnath (who penned a poem in her honour), B. K. Karanjia, and Shakti Samanta. In his tribute to Anarkali, gossip journalist Gulshan Ewing said. "Madhu enjoyed life and the world without any expectation from others, and she knew that the world would not always love her back.