Madhubala

  • Actor

Feb 14, 1933  in Delhi, India

Also Known as: Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi, Begum Mumtaz Jehan Dehlavi, Venus Queen

No ads

Regarded as one of the most beautiful actresses in the Indian film industry, Madhubala was best remembered for her portrayal of Anarkali in the epic historical drama Mughal-e-Azam. The iconic actress was known for playing a damsel in distress in most of her movies and soon attained the title of 'The Beauty with Tragedy'. A nine-year-old Madhubala, who was named Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi at birth, starting doing the rounds of film studios in search of work to provide for her struggling family.

Making her debut in 1942, she was credited as Baby Mumtaz in the movie Basant, which went on to become a box office success. Following her debut, she was associated with a string of movies as a child artiste such as Mumtaz Mahal, Dhanna Bhagat, Pujari, and Phoolwari up until 1947, which is when she debuted as a lead actress opposite Raj Kapoor in Neel Kamal. Even though she appeared in a dozen movies after her debut, she gained massive recognition for her work in the 1949 blockbuster hit Mahal, which marked Kamal Amrohi's directorial debut.

Following the success of Mahal, she was seen in other hits such as Dulari, Beqasoor, Tarana, and Badal. Her timeless beauty and massive fanbase in India attracted attention from Hollywood with Academy Award-winning director Frank Capra wanting to cast her in one of his movies. However, Madhubala's father refused and the actress had to turn down the offer. Said to be the Venus of Indian Cinema, Madhubala attained stardom very early on in her life and worked with all the possible top stars of her time such as Ashok Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Rehman, Shammi Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Sunil Dutt, and Dev Anand among many others.

Some of her most notable and popular movies are Badal, Tarana, Mr. & Mrs. '55, Howrah Bridge, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, and Barsaat Ki Raat. Unfortunately, the actress was diagnosed with a ventricular septal defect, a hole in her heart, which was detected in 1954 but her condition worsened by 1960. Despite that, she continued to work but could not handle any such stress and hence thought of making her directorial debut in 1969 with the movie Farz Aur Ishq. However, the movie never materialised since she passed away on the 23rd of February, 1969, shortly after celebrating her 36th birthday.

Years after her death, in 2017, a wax statue of hers dressed as the famous courtesan Anarkali from Mughal-e-Azam was unveiled at New Delhi's Madame Tussauds as a tribute to the legendary actress.