Thursday, February 14, 2013


Every February, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. A candle light dinner, soft music, dim lights and a romantic movie are the main ingredients for a special and fun-filled Valentine's Day celebration.  Keeping in spirit of the festival today I thought of writing a blog on this special day.

 Well, its not going to be about over-hyped love or this over fantasized feeling. But about a special person born on this day, the day that is celebrated as the day for loved once. Mumtaz Jahan Nehlavi better known as Madhubala - the eternal beauty was born on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1933. Perhaps was no coincidence with such a birthday that Madhubala would grow up to become one of the most beloved romantic actresses of India. But her life could not share the happy endings of many of her films.

The first image that comes to my mind whenever I think of her is a shot from the song- Mohe Panghat Pe (from film Mughle-azam) when she unveils herself and we see a close-up of her face. She has an unmatched beauty and the most beautiful actress of all time.

Her first film that got immense success was 'Mahal' in 1949 with another legend of Indian film industry-Ashok Kumar. After that she became a very successful actress of Indian film industry. Later on she acted in many successful films as Mr & Mrs 55, Amar, Kal Hamara Hai, Shirin-Farhad, Howrah Bridge, Phagun,Kala Pani, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi,Barsat Ki Raat and of course Mughal-e-Azam.

Though there are lots of things written and discussed about her love life, one thing is sure that despite being born on the V day, she never received the love that she deserved in her life. After the tragic break-up with Dilip Kumar (5 year- long affair) she got married to Kishore Kumar at the age of 27. When Kishore Kumar got to know, that she won’t be living for long, he bought a new house in Mumbai, kept a nurse to look after Madhubala and dumped her there. In a month or so he came to see her, he didn’t take her phone calls. So she died there alone and depressed.

The beauty of Madhubala is often compared with many new actresses, but none of them can match up to her beauty and elegance. While reading about her today here are some of the important facts that I thought are worth sharing-

1. Madhubala’s real name is Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlani. It was Devika Rani, founder of Bombay Talkies who gave her the title Madhubala.

2. She is the only Indian actress to have starred in a film whose title is her name. It was her first flop.

3. Those who worked with Madhubala said her skin was so fair and translucent that when she chewed paan, “you could almost see the red colour going down her throat”.

4. Her discipline for work was unparalleled - she was always the first one to turn up at the studio and would leave sharp at 6pm. Punctuality, commitment to work and professionalism were her hallmarks.

5. Her self-control was amazing. Her world began and ended in a film studio. She never attended any parties, film premieres of functions, film festivals, picnics or races for fund-raising initiatives.

6. She had no fascination for jewellery - either on-screen or off-screen. She hardly wore any because she considered it a waste of money.

7. She was extremely generous though. When she had established herself as an actress, she would always carry about Rs 2,000-3,000 rupees with her, never hesitating to loan / donate it someone who asked for help.

8. Despite acting in 66 films, she never received an award. It is widely believed that her distracting good looks did her a disservice - names like Meena Kumari, Nargis, Waheeda Rahman was considered more of actress material.

9. Madhubala stopped acting when she was 27.

10. She had a fear of crowds and of being mobbed. No guests or journalists were allowed on her sets. The author found that she was ‘the grand dame of privacy’, unwelcoming, unapproachable, reclusive, obsessed about her performance to the point of rudeness.

11. Frank Capra was willing to give her a break in Hollywood. She refused.

12. One of her films, Hanste Ansu (1950) was given an adult certificate, leaving the 17-year old actress unable to see her own movie.

13. A rather bad film she acted in, titled Jwala, is the only film where you get to see Madhubala in colour. And what a treat it is - her rich, golden brown hair, accompanied with her milk-n-roses complexion.

14. She had a heart disease right from birth. She died at 36, the same age at which her Hollywood counterpart, Marilyn Monroe passed away.

15. She was quite a poetess herself. In her last few years, when she was ailing, she remarked sorrowfully:

Jab zara kaam ki samajh aayee
Toh uparvaale ne kaha
Ab bas