Legends: Madhubala

March 27, 2008 · 15 comments

in Legends


Last week, the gorgeous Madhubala was immortalized, when the Indian government released a stamp in her name.

Her youngest sister, Madhur Bhushan (whose real name is Zahida) gave a closer insight – to the media – about Madhubala’s life, her romance with Dilip Kumar, her unhappy marriage to Kishore Kumar, and her illness. Here’s the complete interview, in her own words:


# On Madhubala’s entry into films:

My father, Ataullah Khan, was working in the Imperial Tobacco Company in Peshawar, Pakistan, when he lost his job and decided to come to Mumbai. Madhubala was seven at that time. Her real name was Mumtaz Begum. We called her Mazliappa, as she was the fifth child.

My father started looking for a job. He also took Madhubala to film studios. She got work in Basant (1942) at the age of nine. The leading lady’s name was Mumtaz Shanti, so Madhubala was called Baby Mumtaz, when she was a child actress.

She got her first break in Kirdar Sharma‘s Neel Kamal. Kirdar’s wife was supposed to play the lead role but she passed away. As Madhubala knew the dialogues, she became a heroine at the age of 13. From this film onwards, she was credited as Madhubala. The film did not do well, but her work was appreciated.

Madhubala shot to fame in 1949 with Mahal. She was 16. At that time, no one realised that she was sick, not even my father. Madhubala was a healthy child, and very bubbly.

# On Madhubala’s illness:

Madhubala first vomited blood, when she was in Chennai shooting for S S Vassan’s Bahut Din Huwe (1954). She was treated, and she resumed shooting. Nobody thought she was sick, until she fainted on J K Nanda’s sets while shooting with Raj Kapoor on Chalack (1957). The film never got completed. That’s when, the doctor said that, she had a hole in her heart. She was 24 then.

She was advised bed rest for three months, but after a month of rest, Madhubala resumed work. Looking at her, one would not say that she was sick. She, herself, was not ready to believe, that she was sick.

Her last film was Mughal-E-Azam, which released in 1960. People think that she worked after that too, but that’s not true. She had completed all her films,, in the 10 years that it took for Mughal-E-Azam to be made!


Some movies released after she was bedridden, but she was in no condition to work after Mughal-E-Azam. In fact, in some of the scenes, you will notice that she looks pale and sick.


# On her family:

People say that, my family knew she was ill but we did not treat her; that we hid this fact from producers to get work. But there was no technology back then to check, whether she had a hole in a heart, so how would any of us know? We came to know only in 1957. After three years, she went to London for treatment. But it was too late. Madhubala died after nine years.

Everybody blamed my father. But he was protective about his daughters, since his sons had died at the ages of five and six. He was an uneducated man, but he was like Madhubala’s manager. He took care of her work, but never interfered on what films she should take up.

He never allowed Madhubala to attend movie premieres, because he felt overexposure would kill her career. He always wanted fans to crave for her.


# On her romance with Dilip Kumar:

The reason, Madhubala broke up with Dilip Kumar, was B R Chopra‘s film Naya Daur, not my father.

Madhubala had shot a part of the film, when the makers decided to go for an outdoor shoot to Gwalior. The place was known for dacoits, so my father asked them to change the location. They disagreed, because they wanted a hilly terrain. So my father asked her to quit the film. He was ready to pay the deficit.

Chopra asked Dilip Kumar for help. Dilipsaab and Madhubala were engaged then. Dilipsaab tried to mediate but Madhubala refused to disobey her father.

Chopra’s production filed a case against her, which went on for a year. But this did not spoil their relationship.

Dilipsaab told her to forget movies and get married to him. She said she would marry him, provided he apologised to her father. He refused, so Madhubala left him. That one ‘sorry’ could have changed her life.

She loved Dilipsaab till the day she died.


# On Madhubala’s marriage to Kishore Kumar:

When Madhubala fell sick and was planning to go to London for treatment, Kishore Kumar proposed marriage.

My father wanted her to wait and get a clean chit from the London doctors first. But Madhubala married Kishore Kumar out of stubbornness, and anger towards Dilipsaab. They got married in 1960. She was 27 years old.

Once the doctor gave his verdict – that she would not live for long – Kishorebhai brought her a house in Mumbai’s Carter Road and dumped her there alone, with a nurse and a driver. He would come once in about four months to see her. He did not take her phone calls. Kishorebhai was madly in love with Madhubala but once she returned from London, he dumped her. He was not a good husband.

Madhubala was very depressed, because no one came to meet her. Once upon a time, she was hot property in the industry. But when she was bedridden and dying, not a single person met her. Also, she could no longer dress up. She was in night gowns most of the time. She died at the age of 36.

May her soul rest in peace….

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Veens March 27, 2008 at 4:12 pm

what a sad ending to such a beautiful women! I want to hate Kishore Kumar!

I just want to think this is the true story!


Anurag Mishra March 27, 2008 at 10:22 pm

I think what happened to her is another example to the world that no matter who u are…….if u are there in the middle people will love but when u are not there….people
forget u and forget the great things u have done to anyone

when madhubala was young and fit she had dilip and kishor kumar but when she was bed ridden nobody took her care..

This is the bitter story of human life…..wish this can


Ravi March 28, 2008 at 1:34 am

@Veens – I know!

Its bitter but true :(

Take care!


Ravi March 28, 2008 at 1:37 am

@Anurag Mishra – Very true!

If you’ve money, you’re “Somebody” and then you’ve so-called “friends and well-wishers”. If you’ve no money, you’re a “Nobody”!

We’ve to accept this bitter fact, my friend..

Take care!


Fathiya March 28, 2008 at 2:25 am

Directors must make a movie out of her story.
Madhubala was beautiful in her time and days, but now, I don’t see her beautiful, everyone used to compare her with Madhuri Dixit, I think they have similarity in their acting and face expression, but Madhuri is much more beautiful actress.

Moreover, there’s no true love in this world specially in men’s world. A man normally falls in love with a woman who’s beautiful and healthy, and when she starts to loose all that by the time, they stay away from her and try to find someone else. They actually love themseleves and their desire. We probably find a man who loves truly but one out of thousands, am I right or wrong??


Ravi March 28, 2008 at 2:27 am

@Fathiya – As always, you’re RIGHT :)

Take care!


debjyoti June 26, 2008 at 5:07 pm

@Veens,are you mad?Kishore Kumar is the greatest genius artist in this world.He was not at all responsible for Madhubala’s death.Kishoreda married Madhubala inspite of knowing she was ill.Just shows what a great person Kishore Kumar was.


mintu August 30, 2008 at 6:15 pm

really i like her movies,her way of talking and representing herself as the director desire. i have started to collect her movies bt its only 10 till now.no actress can tke her position.really god called her so early.


bapu September 8, 2008 at 10:30 pm

she was the most beautiful lady of that time & will remain always


AWAIS KHAN September 21, 2008 at 11:06 am

i think this is not the true story because kishore kumar was a great lover of madhubala as he ignored her past affair and he remained with her till her death and tried his best to save her life but it was not in the fate.


A. Khan November 14, 2008 at 9:50 am

The sad story rings true based on what one of my good friend’s wife has told me years ago. She was very young then and lived in the next building to where Madhubala spent her last years.


indian December 5, 2008 at 5:44 am

Kishore married Madhubala for money. He thought she could help him pull out of his income tax problems. Kishore family never accepted Madhubala and she was responsible for breaking up Kishore’s marriage. Kishore was also very eccentric.


iman January 11, 2009 at 11:36 pm

Madhubala had a virginal natural beauty and unique acting skills that no1 else had or has these days, Ofcourse every1 is different. It was not only her looks that made her an icon, it was much more then that. She was gifted alot from God. As far as Madhubala V Madhuri is concerned I think that is all ridiculous to compare them like that coz they are of differnt times, almost all of Madhubala pics and movies are black n white but not Madhuri’s and the makeup and dressing etc everything is differnt. But still if you compare just the looks Then MADHUBALA wins with her natural charm, mischievous smile and angelic natural beauty.

Thanx for the website


faizan December 21, 2009 at 10:32 pm

madhu was so so so beautiful


Harsh Thakor December 23, 2010 at 2:22 pm

No doubt,on natural or pure looks Madhubala wins the issue.Madhubala’s appearance reminded you of an angel sent from heaven posessing beauty of metaphysical proportions.Whilst Madhuri though not as naturally beautiful as we saw in her earlier career , acquired an onscreen beauty in her later films of the mid 1990′s that no actress has equalled.No actress has ever resembled Madhubala more than Madhuri Dixit who posessed more onscreen beauty than even Aishwarya Rai.Both had simlar styles of acting and expressions.


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