Today marks the 86th birth anniversary of the Marilyn Monroe of Bollywood, the legendary Madhubala and Google lost no time to commemorate her as it came up with a beautiful doodle of the Mughal-E-Azam star. Carving her niche in the industry for her smoldering looks and sensitive portrayals of women in films, Madhubala made her debut in the industry at the age of 9 with the film Basant (1942) which reportedly went on to become the highest grossing film of the year.
Born as Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi on February 14, 1933, she is still considered the epitome of beauty and remembered for her charm and grace despite having a short career and tragic end as she passed away at the age of 36 years due to prolonged illness. Credited with supporting her family as a child artist, Madhubala’s career rocketed with the 1947 film Neel Kamal, where she starred opposite the legendary Raj Kapoor. It was in 1947 only that she adopted the name Madhubala and went on to star in nine films, including her spellbinding breakout stint in Mahal which was a Box Office hit.
Her notorious love affair with co-star Dilip Kumar, with whom she starred in a couple of romantic films, was stumped out by her father who managed her career. Appearing in over 70 films, Madhubala was a gifted actor and her breathtaking appearance earned comparisons to Venus while in 1952, the Theatre Arts magazine called her “The Biggest Star in the World.”
Some of her notable works include Mahal (1949), Tarana (1951), Amar (1954), Mr. & Mrs. ’55 (1955), Raj Hath (1956), Howrah Bridge (1958), Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958), Kala Pani (1958), Barsaat Ki Raat (1960), Mughal-e-Azam (1960) and Half Ticket (1962) among others. In 1966, her film Chalak, opposite Raj Kapoor, was slated to release but needed a short spell of shooting which the actress couldn’t survive. The film was left incomplete even at the time of her death.