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23 Lesser-Known Facts About Madhubala The Epitome Of Beauty And Grace In Indian Cinema

In Indian film industry, more specifically Hindi cinema, whenever there is a discourse about the quintessential image of beauty and perfection, there is just one name that is top of the mind recall, and has remained thus for decades now. Madhubala was and is still regarded as the most beautiful actress to have graced the Indian screen. Coming from a poor background, her rise to fame and stardom is in itself a script coming straight out of Bollywood. During a career span of 22 years, she appeared in over 70 Hindi films.

Here are some interesting and eventful facts about Madhubala, which will give you all a perspective of hers, which not many are aware of…let’s begin!

1. Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehalvi, stage name Madhubala was born in an impoverished Pashtun family

Her parents were Ataullah Khan and Aayesha Begum.

Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehalvi

2. She was the fifth child to her parents and had ten siblings

The family saw many hardships in life. Madhubala’s three sisters and two brothers died at the ages of five and six. Tragically only four siblings made it to adulthood. Their home was also wiped out in a dock explosion and the family survived because they had gone to watch a film at a local theatre.

Madhubala with sister Shahida
Madhubala and her sister, Shahida. Pinterest

3. Madhubala was born on 14th February 1933, Valentine’s Day

She epitomised beauty and romance on silver screen to a level which is still unmatched.

Madhubala birthday

4. Ataullah Khan would often take the young Madhubala to film studios in search of work

Madhubala’s father, Ataullah Khan, lost his job as a worker at the Imperial Tobacco Company in Peshawar, Pakistan and relocated the family to Delhi and then Bombay.

Young Madhubala with father Attaullah Khan
A young Madhubala & her Father, Attaullah Khan. tumblr

5. It was in 1942, at a tender age of nine, when she made her debut as a child artist in the film Basant

She was introduced as Baby Mumtaz. The film went on to become the highest grosser that year. Having rose to fame quickly, she did several movies as a child artist, namely Dhanna Bhagat, Phoolwari, Pujari and Rajputani.

Madhubala childhood photos
Madhubala as a child artist with Mumtaz Shanti and Ulhas in Basant (1942). wikipedia

6. Another child artist named Baby Mahjabeen, became known to her during this time

Baby Mahjabeen went on to become the Tragedy Queen of Indian cinema – Meena Kumari and was a contemporary to Madhubala.

Madhubala and Meena Kumari

7. Her first lead role was in the movie Neel Kamal (1947), when she was just 14 years of age

She starred opposite Raj Kapoor, who too got his first big break as a lead actor in the film.

Raj Kapoor and Madhubala in Neel kamal

8. From Mumtaz Jehan to Madhubala

Impressed with her performance in Neel Kamal, Devika Rani, widely acknowledged as the First Lady of Indian cinema, suggested Mumtaz Jehan to change her screen name to Madhubala. Neel Kamal was the last film where she was credited as Mumtaz.

Madhubala actress

9. India’s first reincarnation thriller film Mahal (1949), catapulted Madhubala to overnight superstardom

She acted opposite Ashok Kumar and was only 16 at that time. Mahal also launched and established another future superstar in her own right, India’s Melody Queen- Lata Mangeshkar.

madhubala mahal 1949
Movies N Memories/Twitter

10. In 1950, Madhubala starred in a film Hanste Aansoo, which was the first ever Hindi film to get an “A” – adults only ratings from the Central Board of Film Certification.

Madhubala Facts

11. Hollywood’s ace photographer James Burke visited India in 1951 and photographed Madhubala extensively for Life Magazine

In that article she was called the “biggest star” in the International Film Industry. In the August 1952 issue of the American magazine Theatre Arts, Madhubala was featured in a full page article under the title “The Biggest Star in the World – and she’s not in Beverly Hills”.

Madhubala hot photos

12. Got offer from Hollywood.

The famous Hollywood director Frank Capra, winner of three Academy Awards for Best Director, while visiting Bombay for International Film Festival of India, desperately wanted to give Madhubala her break in Hollywood. However, her father declined the offer.

Life of Madhubala

13. She worked with the most popular actors of her period

Like Ashok Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Pradeep Kumar and Sunil Dutt. Her director’s list comprised prolific names like Mehboob Khan, Guru Dutt, Kamal Amrohi and K Asif.

Facts Amout Madhubala

14. Madhubala’s relationship with Dilip Kumar

She first met Dilip Kumar on the sets of Tarana (1951) and from there started the most talked about romance in the Indian film industry. The duo worked together in three more films – Sangdil, Amar and the most iconic film of all time, K Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam.

Madhubala Dilip Kumar love story

15. Engaged with Dilip Kumar but didn’t got married

The couple were deeply in love, and their romance continued over a period of nine years. Sadly though, the two of them never married each other. Had they got married, it would truly have been a match made in heaven.

16. It is said that Madhubala’s father objected to the pair getting married

Though Dilip Kumar himself clarified that this was not the case. In his autobiography “Dilip Kumar: The Substance And The Shadow”, the Thespian mentioned that

“…matters began to sour between us, thanks to her father’s attempt to make the proposed marriage a business venture”

17. The final nail in the coffin of relationship with Dilip Kumar

Dilip Kumar testified for BR Chopra against Madhubala and her father in the Naya Daur court case. By the end of 1950’s their love story was all but over.

During the making of Mughal-e-Azam, their relationship had worsened to a level that they were not even on talking terms with each other. Dilip Kumar reveals in his autobiography,

“The outcome was that halfway through the production of ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ we were not even talking to each other. The classic scene with the feather coming between our lips, which set a million imaginations on fire, was shot when we had completely stopped even greeting each other.”

Madhubala Dilip Kumar Mughal-e-Azam

18. Finally got married to Kishore Kumar

Madhubala got romantically involved with Kishore Kumar and their affair continued during the making of Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi and Half Ticket. The two eventually married each other in 1960 despite opposition from both the families. However the marriage was hardly a happy one.

madhubala husband Kishore Kumar
Times Now

19. Called the ‘Venus of Indian Screen’ Madhubala was a trendsetter and a fashion diva

Her fashion styles were iconic and are still followed by many celebrities, even after her death.

Everything about Madhubala

20. It’s often been contended that her bedazzling beauty overshadowed her acting skills

Although a very subjective debate, Madhubala did prove her mettle in films like Tarana (1951), Mr. & Mrs. 55 (1955), Barsaat Ki Raat (1960), Half Ticket (1962) and of course the magnum opus Mughal -e- Azam (1960), for which she was nominated for a Filmfare Award.

21. Madhubala never received any award

It is an intriguing reality that even though Madhubala became an iconic actress of Indian Cinema, she never received any award.

Madhubala images

22. Madhubala had a hole in her heart- she suffered from a congenital heart disease ‘Ventricular Septal Defect’

Although the condition was detected in 1954, unfortunately, there were no medical treatments available. By 1960 her health started deteriorating noticeably. She remained confined to bed for close to nine years.

23. Madhubala breathed her last on February 23, 1969

She was about to make her directorial debut in 1969 with the film Farz Aur Ishq. However, the film never made it past pre production. Fighting a long and losing battle with the disease, Madhubala breathed her last on February 23, 1969, nine days after her 36th birthday.

madhubala death

Madhubala is the most beautiful, captivating and talented star Indian screen has ever seen. She was the screen goddess, with a smile to die for. Dubbed as Marilyn Monroe of India, her persona is still a stuff of legends, even decades after her death. She passed away at a very young age of thirty six, but left behind a legacy that few can manage to this day. Madhubala is the epitome of beauty and grace in Indian cinema.

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