It is believed, the secrecy she maintained, coupled with minimal public appearances, turned her into the enigma that she is.
Today Google India is celebrating the 86th birthday of one of India’s most iconic actresses -- Madhubala, remembered for her unparalleled appeal and prowess as an actor.
The doodle was created by Bengaluru-based artist Muhammed Sajid. A tribute blog post shared by Google on the Marilyn Monroe of Bollywood stated: “While her breathtaking appearance earned comparisons to Venus, Madhubala was a gifted actor with an understated style well-suited for comedies, dramas, and romantic roles alike.”
Most fondly remembered for playing the role of Anarkali in the 1960s magnum opus Mughal-E-Azam, the starry-eyed beauty was born in Delhi on February 14, 1933, as Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi.
She was raised in a town near Bombay Talkies film studio and began her career at the tender age of nine with the film ‘Basant’, earning the moniker Baby Mumtaz.
Her performances in movies like 'Chalti Ka Naam Gadi', ‘Neel Kamal’, and 'Mr and Mrs 55' are popular among aficionados. In her 22-year career, Madhubala starred in more than 70 films.
Through her life, she had to work tirelessly to support her family, as she was the only breadwinner. She changed her name to Madhubala in 1947, on the insistence of her co-actress Devika Rani.
The country also remembers the star for her tumultuous love affair with Mughal-E-Azam co-star Dilip Kumar. Just like in the movie, the star-crossed lovers couldn’t unite as parents acted as impediments.
An obedient daughter, she cowered under her father’s lack of support. Though her father softened his stance later, it is said, a court case, where Dilip Kumar testified against her and her father, acted as the last straw.
Allegedly, she married singer/ actor Kishor Kumar later, only to prove that she had moved on and could carry on with life without Dilip Kumar.
Notably, Madhubala had caught the fancy of Hollywood big-wigs, including photographer James Burke, who came to India and photographed her for Life Magazine.
The West called her the biggest star in the international film industry. Theatre Arts magazine dubbed her 'The Biggest Star in the World' in 1952. It is said that she was also offered a role by Frank Capra, but her father didn’t let her take it up.
Unfortunately, though the actress won several accolades for her performance, she never won an award. Madhubala's career and life was cut short in 1969, when she succumbed to prolonged illness on February 23.The secrecy she maintained coupled with minimal public appearances, turned her into an enigma for many.