MUMBAI: On Valentine’s Day, Google doodled the star-crossed iconic character from “Mughal-E-Azam”, Anarkali, made indelible in movie lovers’ mind by the effervescent Madhubala who would have been 86 on Thursday.
“The Marilyn Monroe of Bollywood” as the Google blogpost said was raised in the slums of Bombay. She started supporting her family as a child star at the age of nine, before becoming a leading lady known for her elegance on screen.
Born in Delhi on this day in 1933, Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi was raised in a town located near the Bombay Talkies film studio, said Google alongside her iconic “Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya” dance “mudra” doodle created by Bangalore artist Muhammed Sajid.
Madhubala appeared in her first film as Baby Mumtaz. In 1947 she landed the lead role in “Neel Kamal”, then just 14, taking her moniker that made her famous.
As her family’s main breadwinner, she worked tirelessly to support her parents and four sisters. In 1949, she appeared in nine films, including blockbuster “Mahal” opposite Ashok Kumar, when she dazzled with a spell-binding breakout performance.
Her breathtaking appearance earned comparisons to Venus, although Madhubala flourished mostly in an understated style well suited for comedies, dramas, and romantic roles alike.
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She fell in love with Dilip Kumar, her co-star in the 1951 romance “Tarana”, which changed the course perhaps forever for the young girl, whose father-cum-manager interfered and made it a star-crossed pattern for the woman, who was yet to blossom.
The epic historical drama “Mughal-E-Azam” directed by K. Asif remains one of the most popular and expensive movies in Bollywood history; the Dilip Kumar-Madhubala chemistry was “undeniable and unforgettable”.
With a tragically brief career Madhubala was billed “The Biggest Star in the World” in 1952 by Theatre Arts magazine, died on February 23, 1969 at the age of 36 after prolonged illness.
In 2008, she appeared on a commemorative postage stamp in India, where she is remembered by many as one of the greatest to ever grace the silver screen.
She had acted in over 70 films over the course of a tragically brief career. Her film “Chalak” opposite Raj Kapoor remained incomplete as she did not have the strength to continue.