23 February: Tribute to Madhubala

OV Digital Desk
4 Min Read

Madhubala (14 February 1933 – 23 February 1969) was an Indian actress and producer. She made over 60 films, between the late 1940s and the early 1960s, and became one of India’s most popular and highest-paid celebrities.

 Life & career

Madhubala was born on 14 February 1933, in Delhi, India. On Madhubala’s birth, a Muslim saint had predicted she would rise to the top of fame and fortune, but never be able to find inner peace. After her dad lost his job at ITC, the whole family moved to Mumbai to earn a living. She was a talented dancer and singer even at the age of seven. She and her dad used to visit movie studios all over the city to make money after that. Baby Mumtaz was one of her first roles as a child actress in movies like Besant (1942), Mumtaz Mahal (1944), Pujari (1946) and more. After watching her in Neel Kamal (1947) with Raj Kapoor, Devika Rani suggested she call her Madhubala. So, after Neel Kamal, she was named Madhubala. The movie industry became her family’s main source of income as she acted in several films each year. She became a star for her role as a ghostly young woman opposite Ashok Kumar in the supernatural suspense drama Mahal (1949).

With movies like Beqasoor (1950), Tarana (1951), Mr. and Mrs. 55 (1955), she was known as the “Venus” of Indian cinema. Following Madhubala and Dilip Kumar’s appearance in Tarana (1951), the pair became romantically linked. In Sangdil (1952), and in Amar (1954) they appeared together again.

All the major male stars of her era have worked with her, like Pradeep KumarDev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, Rehman and others. The other notable roles she played were in Mr. and Mrs. ’55 (1955), directed by Guru Dutt, in Phagun (1958), in Kala Pani (1958), and she played romantic roles, in Chalti ka Naam Gaadi (1958) and Half Ticket (1962). Her songs were featured in 1958’s Howrah Bridge.

 She was also offered a starring role by American director Frank Kapra, but her dad wouldn’t let her.

Due to her father’s interference, Madhubala’s romance with Dilip Kumar ended, even though they starred in Mughal-e-Azam (1960), Madhubala’s most famous film. The following year, Madhubala married her frequent co-star, comedian Kishore Kumar. It emerged that she was discovered to have a ventricular septal defect, a congenital heart defect, in the mid-1950s. By 1960, her health had slowly deteriorated. However, she still made hits like Barsaat Ki Raat (1960), Passport (1961), and Half Ticket (1962).

She died on 23 February 1969, in Maharashtra, India.

Award and legacy

The beautiful actress is still loved by many. Some of her cult movies, like Mughal-e-Azam and Half Ticket, were rereleased with digital edits in 2004 and 2012. In 2008, a stamp was issued honoring her.

On 14 February 2019, Google Celebrated Madhubala’s 86th Birthday with a doodle.

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