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On Valentine’s day, tribute to Madhubala on her 86th birthday, “No photos did justice to Madhubala’s beauty”


I am not a spendthrift for the simple reason that I do not know what to spend money on. I do not have a passion for jewellery and clothes. I do not travel. I do not go out much. By God’s grace I have all necessities of life and I am happy

— Madhubala


Madhubala (born Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi; 14 February 1933 – 23 February 1969), was an Indian film actress who appeared in Hindi films. She was active between 1942 and 1964, and was known for her beauty, personality, and sensitive portrayals of tragic women.Madhubala is, by far, the most iconic silver screen goddess India has produced. Known for her legendary beauty and her coquettish charm, Madhubala (real name Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi) was much more than that. In the words of Minu Mumtaz, ‘Her complexion was so fair and translucent that when she ate a paan (betel leaf) you could almost see the red colour going down her throat’.Her complexion is moon-kissed and the smile an irresistible come-hither but stay-where-you-are smile. J H Thakker spoke from a photographer’s viewpoint: ‘You could photograph her from any angle without make-up and still come away with a masterpiece. She was a cameraman’s delight.’

If it wasn’t her beauty, then her love life (or may be the lack of it) and her troubled marriage was what people remember her for. Madhubala and Dilip Kumar (Yusuf Khan) were madly in love.Madhubala’s father (Ataullah Khan)was initially opposed to the match but eventually came around. However, he agreed to the match on condition that Dilip work for his production house, an offer unacceptable to the actor. Dilip has been quoted as saying “her father’s attempt to make the proposed marriage a business venture” was what ruined it for him.

Her marriage to Kishore Kumar (they remained married for nine years) was equally problematic. It has been alleged that she got married to him on a whim that she could get any man she desired. Whatever the reason, the union was an unhappy one and some say the principle reason was her declining health. Madhubala suffered from an incurable health problem – she had a hole in her heart. The condition is called ventricular septal defect in medical terms, in which the body produces extra blood. It has been reported that she would often bleed from her nose and mouth. A doctor would routinely come to her home to extract blood from her body. By early 1960s, the condition went from bad to worse. Her health affected her mood and it is alleged that she and Kishore often fought and she mostly lived in her father’s home. Her end came in 1969, aged 36.
Madhubala learned driving at the age of twelve and liked to drive long sometimes.

While the story of her life, her beauty, her appeal and her legion of fans have added to her enduring legacy, for nearly 40 years after her death, she is best remembered for her role as the doomed courtesan Anarkali in the iconic Bollywood film, Mughal-e-Azam.

Ref : Madhubala’s 85th birth anniversary: Beyond her arresting beauty, a look at her life’s tragedies

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