Her father, Attaullah Khan was a Yusufzai Pasthun from the old Peshawar valley, which includes the present-day regions of Mardan and Swabi which are in Pakistan. The family endured many hardships. Madhubala's three sisters and two brothers died at the ages of five and six.
The dock explosion and fire of 14 April wiped out their small home. The family survived only because they had gone to see a film at a local theater. At the age of 9, this was Madhubala's introduction to the movie industry, which would provide financial help to her family. Early career Madhubala as a child artist in Basant Madhubala's first movie Basant , was a box office success.
She acted as the daughter to the character played by actress Mumtaz Shanti and was credited as Baby Mumtaz in the film. Around the same time, another child artist Baby Mahajbeen also visited these studios and was known to Madhubala.
This Baby Mahjabeen later on, became one of the most sought after stars and one of her contemporaries — Meena Kumari. No other heroine has it". She achieved stardom and popularity in when she was cast as the lead in Bombay Talkies 's Mahal — a role intended for well-known star Suraiya.
Madhubala, with established actresses, screen-tested for the role before she was selected by the film's director Kamal Amrohi. The film was the third largest hit at the Indian box office. Following the success of Mahal , Madhubala appeared in the box office hits Dulari , Beqasoor , Tarana and Badal Hollywood interest In the early s, as Madhubala became one of the most sought-after actresses in India, she attracted interest from Hollywood. She appeared in the American magazine Theatre Arts where, in its August issue, she was featured in an article with a full page photograph under the title: The article described Madhubala's immense popularity in India, and explored her wide appeal and large fan base.
It also speculated on her potential for international success. Asif Mughal-e-Azam , were amongst the most prolific and respected. Madhubala also became a producer and produced films like Naata and Mahlon Ke Khwab and acted in both the films. She played the traditional ideal of Indian womanhood in Sangdil , and produced a comic performance as the spoilt heiress Anita, in Guru Dutt 's satire Mr.
She also acted in costume dramas such as Shirin-Farhad , Raj-Hath , and played a double role in the social drama Kal Hamara Hai In the mids, her films including the major ones such as Mehboob Khan 's Amar did not do well commercially. In the song "Aaiye Meherebaan" from this film, she lip-synced a torch song dubbed by Asha Bhosle which has remained popular to this day. It was in , when she appeared in the magnum opus Mughal-e-Azam.
Madhubala acted in as many as seventy films from to , but only fifteen of which were box office successes. She was compared with the Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe after some of her movies were super hit in box office. Many senior actors praised Madhubala's acting skills. Unable to assert themselves too much, they fell back on their families who became their caretakers and defined everything for them.
Although the film took nine years to complete, it was not until that Madhubala was finally chosen for the role. Bunny Reuben in his book Dilip Kumar: With Mughal-e-Azam, Madhubala showed the world just what she could do.
Asif , probably unaware of the extent of Madhubala's illness, required long shooting schedules that made physical demands on her, whether it was posing as a veiled statue in suffocating make-up for hours under the studio lights or being shackled with heavy chains. It was also a time when Madhubala's relationship with Dilip Kumar was fading out, and the lives of Madhubala and her screen character were consistently seen as overlapping because of the overwhelming sense of loss and tragedy and the unrelenting diktat of destiny that clung to both and which neither could escape".
Madhubhala was nominated for a Filmfare Award for her performance in Mughal-e-Azam. In , Madhubala was at the peak of her career and popularity with the release of Mughal-e-Azam and Barsaat Ki Raat. She did have intermittent releases in the early s. Some of these, such as Jhumroo , Half Ticket and Sharabi , performed above average at the box office.
However, most of her other films released during this time were marred by her absence and subsequent lack of completion due to her prolonged illness. These films suffer from compromised editing, and in some cases the use of "doubles" in an attempt to patch-in scenes that Madhubala was unable to shoot.
Her relationship with Dilip Kumar ended at that time and after the shooting of Mughal-e-Azam was completed, Dilip Kumar refused to work with Madhubala which left her grief stricken.
Personal life and controversies In their book Self-Portrait, Harish Booch and Karing Doyle commented that "Unlike other stars, Madhubala prefers a veiled secrecy around her and is seldom seen in social gatherings or public functions. She wasn't allowed to attend any function, any premiere. She had no friends. But she never resisted, she was obedient. Being protective, my father earned the reputation of being domineering".
That was her personal effect on fans. Her personality was vivacious. Karanjia , former Filmfare editor and a close friend of both Madhubala and her father, "and because there were so many in love with her, she used to play one against the other.
But it was out of innocence rather than shrewd calculation. Dilip Kumar and Madhubala first met on the set of Jwar Bhata film when she was 11 years of age, and worked together again on the film Har Singaar , which was shelved. Their relationship began two years later during the filming of Tarana At the age of eighteen, Madhubala became more intimate with Dilip Kumar on the set of "Tarana" During these days, she sent a letter to Dilip written in Urdu with a red rose and asked him to accept it if he had really loved her.
Dilip accepted the letter and the red rose. Both remained in a romantic relationship for seven years. But she had to give the courtship with Dilip due to her father's opposition to him. They became a romantic pair appearing in a total of four films together. Chopra in open court. This struck a fatal blow to the Dilip-Madhubala relationship as it ended any chance of reconciliation between Dilip Kumar and Madhubala's father.
In , Kumar's marriage with his first wife ended, after which he and Madhubala began a relationship. Madhubala married Kishore Kumar in Kishore Kumar converted himself into Islam religion and reportedly changed his name to Karim Abdul to marry Madhubala.
Before his marriage to Madhubala, he reportedly threatened Madhubala that if she will not marry him, he will harm himself which made her thought that he loves her and agreed to marry him. Karanjia assumed that "Madhubala may have felt that perhaps this was her best chance" because by this time she became seriously ill, and was about to stop working completely; however, he added that "it was a most unlikely union, and not a happy one either.
She often fought with Kishore, and would take off to her father's house where she spent most of her time. After that Kishore left her at our house saying: I'm on outdoors often'. But she wanted to be with him.
Maybe he wanted to detach himself from her so that the final separation wouldn't hurt. But he never abused her as was reported. He bore her medical expenses. They remained married for nine years. They never had children as Madhubala was seriously ill in the s. However, Madhubala's love-life continued to be the subject of media speculation.
Mohan Deep wrote an unofficial biography of Madhubala titled Mystery and Mystique of Madhubala, published in , where he claims that Kishore Kumar regularly whipped Madhubala, who would show her lashes to Shakti Samanta.
He also claimed that the versions about Madhubala's sickness and death provided by her family members did not match with those provided by Kishore Kumar's family members and the fact that Madhubala was forced to wear heavy shackles and whipped mercilessly in real life in the secret version of Mughal e Azam is proved by the fact that only a minor part of the total number of reels shot were released for public.
However, the secret version of the film earned Kishore Kumar a lot of moolah that he earned forcing Madhubala to work as a sex slave in the secret version of the movie. The doctor would come home and extract bottles of blood. She also suffered from pulmonary pressure of the lungs. She coughed all the time. Every four to five hours she had to be given oxygen or else would get breathless.
She was confined to bed for nine years and was reduced to just bones and skin". In , with a slight improvement in her health, she made a valiant attempt to complete her work in Chalak opposite Raj Kapoor , which needed only a short spell of shooting, but she could not even survive that strain. In she was set to make her directorial debut with the film Farz aur Ishq. However, the film was never made, as during pre-production, she died on 23 February , shortly after her 36th birthday.
She used to keep a diary during her lifetime which was buried along with her after her death. Her tomb was built with marbles and incriptions include aayats from Qur'an and verse dedications. Legacy Madhubala's strong presence in the public memory has been evidenced by all recent polls about top actresses or beauties of the Indian cinema.
Her posters are still in demand and sold alongside contemporary actresses such as Meena Kumari , Nargis , Waheeda Rehman and Nutan. Modern magazines continue to publish stories on her personal life and career, often promoting her name heavily on the covers to attract sales. In , her release Half Ticket was also remastered, digitally coloured and re-released after 50 years of its original release. On 18 March , a commemorative postage stamp featuring Madhubala was issued. It was launched by veteran actors Nimmi and Manoj Kumar in a ceremony attended by colleagues, friends and surviving members of Madhubala's family.
The only other Indian film actress that was honoured in this manner was Nargis Dutt , at that point of time. In the New York Times published a belated obituary for her. Here is the list of films in which she acted.