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Madhubala in the 1949 film Dulari.jpg
Madhubala in the 1949 film Dulari
BornMumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi
(1933-02-14)14 February 1933
Delhi, British India (now in India)
Died23 February 1969(1969-02-23) (aged 36)
Bombay, Maharashtra, India
Cause of deathVentricular septal defect
Resting placeSantacruz Muslim Cemetery, Mumbai, Maharashtra
ResidenceCarter's Road, Bandra, Mumbai
Other namesBaby Mumtaz, Madhu, Marilyn Monroe of Bollywood, The Beauty with Tragedy, Anarkali of Hindi Cinema, The Venus Queen of Indian Cinema
Years active1942–1964
EraPre-Golden era and Golden era of Bollywood music and films
Known forBollywood music and films
Notable work
Kishore Kumar (m. 1960–1969)

(her death)
RelativesSee Ganguly family

Madhubala (born Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi; 14 February 1933 – 23 February 1969), also known as Madhu, was an Indian film actress who starred in classic films of Bollywood. Popularly known as The Beauty with Tragedy and The Venus of Indian Cinema, she was compared with the Hollywood film actress Marilyn Monroe and was known as Marilyn Monroe of Bollywood.[1][2][3] She was active between 1942-1964.[4]

Regarded as one of the most iconic and influential actresses in the history of Hindi Cinema, Madhubala made her screen debut in a minor role at the age of 9 with the film Basant (1942) but her acting career actually began in 1947, when she made her debut with Raj Kapoor at the age of 14 with the film Neel Kamal (1947).[5] During a career spanning 22 of her 36 years, Madhubala was known for her roles in more than 70 films of variety of genres such as Mahal (1949), Dulari (1949), Beqasoor (1950), Tarana (1951), Amar (1954), Mr. & Mrs. '55 (1955), Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958), Howrah Bridge (1958) and Mughal-e-Azam (1960) with actors such as Dilip Kumar, Guru Dutt, Ashok Kumar, Dev Anand, Kishore Kumar and many more as her co-stars. Out of 73 Hindi films, only fifteen of them were successful at box office. She received her only nomination for a Filmfare Award for Best Actress for her performance in Mughal-e-Azam (1960).[6]

In 1951, she also caught the interest of Hollywood when ace photographer James Burke visited India and photographed her for Life Magazine. In their feature of her, Life, called her "the biggest star" in the inter-national film industry. She was photographed extensively for this feature by James Burke. Madhubala had been compared to Marilyn Monroe: the smoldering looks, the short career, the tragic end. "There was a remar-kable similarity in the soft vulnerability of their faces", writes Khatija Akbar in her biography of Madhubala. "The same abandoned to their laughter, head thrown back, that same incandescent glow". She was an avid fan of Hollywood, and while visiting Bombay, Frank Capra was keen in giving her a break in Hollywood but her father refused.

Often drawing comparisons with Marilyn Monroe, Madhubala received wide recognition for her performances in films such as Mahal (1949), Amar (1954), Mr. & Mrs. '55 (1955), Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958), Mughal-e-Azam (1960) and Barsaat Ki Raat (1960). Her performance in Mughal-e-Azam established her as an iconic actress of Hindi Cinema. Her last film Jwala, although shot in the 1950s, was released in 1971.

Madhubala had a long relationship with actor Dilip Kumar, but instead she married her Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi co-star Kishore Kumar in 1960. Together they had worked in films such as Dhake Ki Malmal (1956), Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958), Jhumroo (1961), Half Ticket (1962). Madhubala died on 23 February 1969 from a prolonged lung illness at the age of 36 and was buried at Santacruz, Mumbai.

Early life[edit]

Madhubala was born on February 14, 1933 as Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi to Ataullah Khan and Aayesha Begum. Her father, Attaullah Khan was a Pashtun from the old Peshawar valley, which includes the present-day regions of Mardan and Swabi which are now in Pakistan.[7] Her father belonged to the Yusufzai tribe of the Pashtuns. He relocated the family to Delhi and then Bombay after he lost his job at the Imperial Tobacco Company in Peshawar. The family endured many hardships. Madhubala's three sisters and two brothers died at the ages of five and six. The dock explosion and fire of 14 April 1944 wiped out their small home. The family survived only because they had gone to see a film at a local theater.[8]

With his six remaining daughters to provide for, Khan, and the young Madhubala began to pay frequent visits to Bombay film studios to look for work. At the age of 9, this was Madhubala's introduction to the movie industry, which would provide financial help to her family.[9] Madhubala learned driving at the age of twelve and liked to drive long sometimes.

Early career[edit]

Madhubala as a child artist with Mumtaz Shanti and Ulhas in Basant (1942).

Madhubala's first movie Basant (1942), was a box office success. She acted as the daughter to the character played by actress Mumtaz Shanti and was credited as Baby Mumtaz in the film. Basant became the highest-grossing Indian film of that's year.[10] A nine year old Madhubala, then a child artist often tottered around various studios of Bombay in search of work and made several friends there. Around the same time, another child artist Baby Mahjabeen also visited these studios and was known to Madhubala. This Baby Mahjabeen later on, became one of the most sought after stars and one of her contemporaries – Meena Kumari.[11] Madhubala was a fan of Meena Kumari and said: "She has the most unique voice. No other heroine has it".[12] After starring the film Basant, Madhubala starred in the director Kidar Sharma's 1945 film Dhanna Bhagat. More films of Baby Mumtaz followed in 1946 and they were Pujari (1946), Phoolwari (1946) and Rajputani (1946). Phoolwari was the third highest grossing film of that year and starred Motilal and Khursheed Bano in lead roles.

Actress Devika Rani was impressed by her performance and potential, and advised her to assume the screen name "Madhubala", literally meaning "honey belle".[13] Her first lead role, at the age of 14, was with producer Kidar Sharma when he cast her opposite Raj Kapoor in Neel Kamal (1947).[10] This was the last film in which she was credited as Mumtaz before assuming her screen name "Madhubala". She achieved stardom and popularity in 1949 when she was cast as the lead in Bombay Talkies's Mahal – a role intended for well-known star Suraiya. Madhubala, with established actresses, screen-tested for the role before she was selected by the film's director Kamal Amrohi. The film was the third largest hit at the 1949 Indian box office. Following the success of Mahal, Madhubala appeared in the box office hits Dulari (1949), Beqasoor (1950), Tarana (1951) and Badal (1951).

Hollywood interest[edit]

In the early 1950s, as Madhubala became one of the most sought-after actresses in India, she attracted interest from Hollywood. In 1951, Madhubala caught the interest of Hollywood when ace photographer James Burke visited India and photographed her for the Life magazine. In their feature of her, Life called her "the biggest star" in the international industry. She was photographed extensively for this feature by photographer James Burke. She appeared in the American magazine Theatre Arts where, in its August 1952 issue, she was featured in an article with a full page photograph under the title: "The Biggest Star in the World – and she's not in Beverly Hills". The article described Madhubala's immense popularity in India, and explored her wide appeal and large fan base. It also speculated on her potential for international success.[8] Academy Award winner American director Frank Capra, while visiting Bombay for International Film Festival of India, was keen to give her a break in Hollywood, but her father Ataullah Khan declined this offer.[14]


Rising star (1949-1954)[edit]

Madhubala in Mahal (1949)

Mahal was the film that made Madhubala famous as it was India's first reincarnation thriller film. Produced by Bombay Talkies studio, this Kamal Amrohi's direction debut launched both playback singer Lata Mangeshkar and the leading lady Madhubala into super stardom. Its songs, particularly "Aayega Aanewala", sung by Lata Mangeshkar, are perennial favourites. The film was one of the biggest box office hits of the year in India and paved way for Indian gothic fiction.

After Mahal, Madhubala's film Dulari was released the same year that stars Madhubala, Geeta Bali, Shyam, Jayant and Suresh. The song has the hit song "Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki" sung by Mohammed Rafi and featuring Suresh.[15] Dulari was the year's eighth-highest-grossing and was remade in Telugu as Sobha (1958).

Portrait of Madhubala made in the early 1950s

Stardom (1954-1960)[edit]

Madhubala's co-stars Ashok Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Rehman, Pradeep Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Sunil Dutt and Dev Anand were the most popular actors of the period. She also appeared with notable ladies such as Kamini Kaushal, Suraiya, Geeta Bali, Nalini Jaywant, Shyama and Nimmi. The directors she worked with, Mehboob Khan (Amar), Guru Dutt (Mr. & Mrs. '55), Kamal Amrohi (Mahal) and K. Asif (Mughal-e-Azam), were amongst the most prolific and respected. Madhubala also became a producer and produced films like Naata (1955) and Mahlon Ke Khwab (1960) and acted in both the films.[16]

During the 1950s, Madhubala took starring roles in almost every genre of film being made at the time. Her 1950 film Hanste Aansoo was the first ever Hindi film to get an "A" – adults only – rating from the Central Board of Film Certification.[17]

  • 1951: Badal starred Madhubala and Premnath in lead roles. The film has the hit song "Do Din Ke Liye" sung by Lata Mangeshkar. She was the archetypal fair lady in the swashbuckler Badal, and following this, an uninhibited village beauty in Tarana (1951). Tarana was the first film that started both Dilip Kumar and Madhubala together. The duet "Seene Mein Sulagte Hain Armaan" became popular and was sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Talat Mehmood for Dilip Kumar and Madhubala.
  • 1952: Madhubala played the traditional ideal of Indian womanhood in Sangdil (1952). The film stars Dilip Kumar and Madhubala in lead roles. Sangdil was the adaption of the classic novel of Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre.[18]
  • 1955: In 1955, she produced a comic performance as the spoilt heiress Anita, in Guru Dutt's satire Mr. & Mrs. '55. In this film, she played the role of a wealthy heiress, Anita, who met a struggling cartoonist, Preetam (Guru Dutt) at a tennis match. Mr. & Mrs. '55 has the hit songs "Jaane Kahan Mera Jigar Gaya Jee", a duet sung by Geeta Dutt and Mohammed Rafi and "Thandi Hawa Kali Ghata" sung by Geeta Dutt. Mr. & Mrs. 55 was the fifth highest-grossing film of that year.
  • 1956: Madhubala also acted in costume dramas such as Shirin-Farhad (1956), Raj-Hath (1956) (with Pradeep Kumar in both the films.[20] Dhake Ki Malmal was romantic musical comedy directed by J.K. Nanda and produced under the Nanda Film banners. The film starred Madhubala and Kishore Kumar in lead roles. This was the first film to feature them together. Together they acted in several popular "musical comedies" which included Dhake Ki Malmal, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958), Jhumroo (1961) and Half Ticket (1962).
  • 1958: In Howrah Bridge, she starred with her future brother-in-law Ashok Kumar and played the role of an Anglo-Indian Cabaret singer involved in Calcutta's Chinatown underworld. In the song "Aaiye Meherebaan" from this film, she lip-synced a torch song dubbed by Asha Bhosle which has remained popular to this day. Howrah Bridge performed above average at box office. In the 1958 film Kala Pani, Madhubala starred opposite Dev Anand. The film was produced by Dev Anand for Navketan Films and was directed by Raj Khosla. The film was the remake of the 1955 Bengali film Sabar Uparey and which itself was based on A.J. Cronin's 1953 novel Beyond This Place. The song has the hit song "Accha Jee Main Hari Chalo" sung by Mohammed Rafi and Asha Bhosle. Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi features Madhubala and her future husband Kishore Kumar in lead roles and Kumar's two brothers Anoop Kumar and Ashok Kumar. Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi was the second highest grossing film of the year. The film has hit songs such as "Babu Samjho Ishaare", "Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhagi Si", "Haal Kaisa Hai Janab Ka" and "Main Sitaaron Ka Taraana". The film Phagun was directed by Bibhuti Mitra and was the sixth-highest-grossing film of that year. The film stars Madhubala and Bharat Bhushan in lead roles and has the song "Ek Pardesi Mera Dil Le Gaya" sung by Mohammed Rafi and Asha Bhosle.
  • 1959: Insaan Jaag Utha was produced and directed by Shakti Samanta. The film stars Madhubala and Sunil Dutt in lead roles and has the noted duet "Jaanu Jaanu Ri" by Asha Bhosle and Geeta Dutt. The film didn't performed well at box office. Do Ustad stars Raj Kapoor and Madhubala in lead roles. The film also stars Raj Kapoor's eldest son Randhir Kapoor who was very young at that time.
  • 1960: Barsaat Ki Raat stars Bharat Bhushan and Madhubala and became particularly popular for its qawwali songs and was one of the biggest hits at the box office of 1960. The same year, in 1960, she appeared in the magnum opus of K. Asif Mughal-e-Azam. Mughal-e-Azam was the last film that stars both Dilip Kumar and Madhubala together.


Madhubala acted in as many as seventy films from 1947 to 1964, but only fifteen were box office successes. Many senior actors praised Madhubala's acting skills. Madhubala was even compared with the Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe with whom she had some passing similarities and was also called "Marilyn Monroe of Bollywood".[20] Dilip Kumar regrets that "had she lived, and had she selected her films with more care, she would have been far superior to her contemporaries..."[21] Kumar also points out that "actresses those days faced a lot of difficulties and constraints in their career. Unable to assert themselves too much, they fell back on their families who became their caretakers and defined everything for them."[22]


It was the film Mughal-e-Azam that marked what many consider to be Madhubala's greatest and definitive characterization, as the doomed courtesan Anarkali. Although the film took nine years to complete, it was not until 1953 that Madhubala was finally chosen for the role. Bunny Reuben in his book Dilip Kumar: Star Legend of Indian Cinema claimed that Dilip Kumar's role was instrumental behind this selection.[23] Mughal-e-Azam gave Madhubala the opportunity of fulfilling herself totally as an actress, for it was a role that all actresses dreamt of playing, as Nimmi acknowledges that "as an actress, one gets a lot of roles, there is no shortage of them, but there isn’t always good scope for acting. With Mughal-e-Azam, Madhubala showed the world just what she could do."[24]

However, by the late 1950s, her health was deteriorating rapidly, and director K. Asif, probably unaware of the extent of Madhubala's illness, required long shooting schedules that made physical demands on her, whether it was posing as a veiled statue in suffocating make-up for hours under the studio lights or being shackled with heavy chains. It was also a time when Madhubala's relationship with Dilip Kumar was fading out, and the lives of Madhubala and her screen character were consistently seen as overlapping because of the overwhelming sense of loss and tragedy and the unrelenting diktat of destiny that clung to both and which neither could escape".[25]

Mughal-e-Azam was released on 5 August 1960, and broke box office records in India and became the highest-grossing film at that time, a record that went unbroken for 15 years until the release of the Sholay in 1975. Madhubhala was nominated for a Filmfare Award for her performance in Mughal-e-Azam. The song "Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya" from Mughal-e-Azam, was picturized on Madhubala. The song was created by Naushad Ali and was sung by Lata Mangeshkar and chorus. The song, when the film was first released, was in color. It was shot in a set inspired by the Sheesh Mahal of the Lahore Fort. Other songs from this film include "Mohe Panghat Pe Nandalal", "Mohabbat ki Jhooti Kahani", "Khuda Nigehbaan Ho Tumhara", "Jab Raat hai Aisi Matwali" that were hit in their times. Only two songs of this film were released in colour.

Later work[edit]

In 1960, Madhubala was at the peak of her career and popularity with the release of Mughal-e-Azam and Barsaat Ki Raat. She did have intermittent releases in the early 1960s. Some of these, such as Jhumroo (1961), Half Ticket (1962) and Sharabi (1964), performed above average at the box office. However, most of her other films released during this time were marred by her absence and subsequent lack of completion due to her prolonged illness. These films suffer from compromised editing, and in some cases the use of "doubles" in an attempt to patch-in scenes that Madhubala was unable to shoot. [26] Her last released film Jwala, although filmed in the late 1950s, was not released until 1971. It was released two years after her death.


In 1960, Madhubala married her Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi co-star Kishore Kumar when she was 27 years old. When Madhubala was ill in the late 1950s with the congenital heart disease, Kishore Kumar proposed to her and she decided to marry him after realizing that Dilip Kumar was not going to marry her. Kishore Kumar's family never accepted her in their family because Kishore Kumar married Madhubala as per his own wish. The couple had a Hindu ceremony to please Kumar's family but Madhubala was never truly accepted as his wife. Reportedly, Kishore Kumar converted himself into Islam and changed his legal name to "Karim Abdul" to marry her.[27] However, in an interview given to Filmfare, he said that neither he not Madhubala ever changed their religion to marry each other. They went to London soon after their marriage for their honeymoon where the doctor told her that she had only two years to live. According to Madhubala's sister, Madhur Bhushan, after returning India, Kishore Kumar bought a house for Madhubala in Carter's Road, Bandra, and left her there with a nurse and a driver. He would visit Madhubala once in two months and said he couldn't look after her. But he never abused her as was reported and bore her medical expenses.

She added "Often Kishore bhaiya's phone was disconnected. He'd visit her once in two to three months.He'd say, 'If I come, you'll cry and it'll not be good for your heart. You'll go into depression. You should rest'. She was young and jealousy was natural. Perhaps, a feeling of being abandoned killed her". Their marriage lasted for nine years. After Madhubala died in 1969 at the age of 36, Kishore Kumar married actress Yogeeta Bali.[28]

Personal life and controversies[edit]

In their 1962 book Self-Portrait, Harish Booch and Karing Doyle commented that "Unlike other stars, Madhubala prefers a veiled secrecy around her and is seldom seen in social gatherings or public functions." (p. 76), and went on to say that "Contrary to general belief, Madhubala is rather simple and unassuming" (p. 78).[13][29] This is echoed in her sister's interview with Filmfare: "(Madhubala) became a craze because she was never seen in public. She wasn't allowed to attend any function, any premiere. She had no friends. But she never resisted, she was obedient. Being protective, my father earned the reputation of being domineering".[30] Dilip Kumar added: "She was extremely popular... and I think the only star for whom people thronged outside the gates. Very often when shooting was over, there’d be a vast crowd standing at the gates just to have a look at Madhu... It wasn’t so for anyone else. That was her personal effect on fans. Her personality was vivacious."[31] But, "She was aware of her beauty," reminisces B. K. Karanjia, former Filmfare editor and a close friend of both Madhubala and her father, "and because there were so many in love with her, she used to play one against the other. But it was out of innocence rather than shrewd calculation."[32] Dev Anand recalled in a similar way: "She liked to flirt innocently and was great fun."[33][34] However, with Dilip Kumar she had a long association.

Dilip Kumar and Madhubala first met on the set of Jwar Bhata (1944 film) when she was 11 years of age, and worked together again on the film Har Singaar (1949), which was shelved. Their relationship began two years later during the filming of Tarana (1951). But she had to give the courtship with Dilip due to her father's opposition to him. They became a romantic pair appearing in a total of four films together. Actor Shammi Kapoor recalled that "Dilip Kumar would drive down from Bombay to meet Madhubala... he even flew to Bombay to spend Eid with her, taking time off from his shooting stint..."[35][30] But, Madhubala's father Ataullah Khan initially did not give them permission to marry.[36] Dilip Kumar said: "She was a very, very obedient daughter",[37] and who, in spite of the success, fame and wealth, submitted to the domination of her father and more often than not paid for his mistakes.[38] "This inability to leave her family was her greatest drawback", believed Shammi Kapoor, "for it had to be done at some time."[39]

Kumar later revealed that her father eventually gave them permission to marry and was "glad to have two stars under the same roof." However, her father, who owned his own production company, wanted to make "a business venture out of their proposed marriage" according to Kumar, which he did not approve of, after which the relationship began turning sour.[40] The Naya Daur (1957 film) court case happened in 1956 when Dilip Kumar testified against Madhubala and her father in favor of director B.R. Chopra in open court. This struck a fatal blow to the Dilip-Madhubala relationship as it ended any chance of reconciliation between Dilip Kumar and Madhubala's father.[41] Reflecting on this, while Dilip Kumar said he was "trapped",[42] Shammi Kapoor felt "this was something which went beyond him (Dilip) and he couldn’t control the whole situation..." [43]

Madhubala met Kishore Kumar during the making of 1956 film Dhake Ki Malmal. In 1958, Kumar's marriage with his first wife ended, after which he and Madhubala began a relationship. Madhubala married Kishore Kumar in 1960. [44] According to Leena Chandavarkar (Kishore's fourth wife): "When she realized Dilip was not going to marry her, on the rebound and just to prove to him that she could get whomsoever she wanted, she went and married a man she did not even know properly."[45] B. K. Karanjia assumed that "Madhubala may have felt that perhaps this was her best chance" because by this time she became seriously ill, and was about to stop working completely; however, he added that "it was a most unlikely union, and not a happy one either." [46]

Madhubala's illness was known to Kishore, but like all the others, he did not realize its gravity; Ataullah Khan did not approve of his son-in-law at all, but he had lost the courage to disapprove.[47] Ashok Kumar reminisced in a Filmfare interview: "She suffered a lot and her illness made her very bad-tempered. She often fought with Kishore, and would take off to her father's house where she spent most of her time."[48]

However, Madhubala's love-life continued to be the subject of media speculation. Mohan Deep wrote an unofficial biography of Madhubala titled Mystery and Mystique of Madhubala, published in 1996, where he claims that Kishore Kumar regularly whipped Madhubala, who would show her lashes to Shakti Samanta. He also claimed that the versions about Madhubala's sickness and death provided by her family members did not match with those provided by Kishore Kumar's family members and the fact that Madhubala was forced to wear heavy shackles and whipped mercilessly in real life in the secret version of Mughal-e-Azam is proved by the fact that only a minor part of the total number of reels shot were released for public. However, the secret version of the film earned Kishore Kumar a lot of moolah that he earned forcing Madhubala to work as a sex slave in the secret version of the movie.[49] Mohan Deep also questions whether Madhubala was really ill or whether her ailing was a fiction.[50] The book was heavily criticised on its release by industry veterans such as Shammi Kapoor, Shakti Samanta and Paidi Jairaj.[32]

Illness and death[edit]

Madhubala had ventricular septal defect (a hole in her heart) which was detected while she was shooting for Bahut Din Huwe in Madras in 1954.[51] By 1960, her condition had aggravated, and her sister explains that "Due to her ailment, her body would produce extra blood, so it would spill out from the nose and mouth. The doctor would come home and extract bottles of blood. She also suffered from pulmonary pressure of the lungs. She coughed all the time. Every four to five hours she had to be given oxygen or else would get breathless. She was confined to bed for nine years and was reduced to just bones and skin".

In 1966, with a slight improvement in her health, she made a valiant attempt to complete her work in Chalak opposite Raj Kapoor, which needed only a short spell of shooting, but she could not even survive that strain. [52] When acting was no longer an option, Madhubala turned her attention to film direction. In 1969 she was set to make her directorial debut with the film Farz aur Ishq. However, the film was never made, as during pre-production, she died on 23 February 1969, shortly after her 36th birthday.[53] Madhubala was buried at Juhu Muslim Cemetery in Santacruz, Mumbai. Her tomb was built with marbles and incriptions include aayats from Qur'an and verse dedications. Controversially, her tomb was demolished in 2010 along with those of Mohammed Rafi, Parveen Babi, Talat Mahmood, Naushad Ali and Sahir Ludhianvi to make way for newer graves.[54][55]


Madhubala's strong presence in the public memory has been evidenced by all recent polls about top actresses or beauties of the Indian cinema.[56][57][58] Every year, on her birthday, numerous articles are printed and television programmes aired to commemorate her, to the present day. Her posters are still in demand and sold alongside contemporary actresses such as Meena Kumari, Nargis, Waheeda Rehman and Nutan. Modern magazines continue to publish stories on her personal life and career, often promoting her name heavily on the covers to attract sales. In's International Women's Day 2007 special, Madhubala was ranked second in its top ten list of "Bollywood's best actresses".[59] Many believe, however, that Madhubala remains one of the most underrated actresses as "Her beauty attracted more attention than her talent."[60]

In 2004, a digitally-colourized version of the original Mughal-e-Azam was released, 35 years after her death.

Madhubala on 2008 stamp of India

On 18 March 2008, a commemorative postage stamp featuring Madhubala was issued.[61] The stamp was produced by India Post in a limited edition presentation pack. It was launched by veteran actors Nimmi and Manoj Kumar in a ceremony attended by colleagues, friends and surviving members of Madhubala's family. The only other Indian film actress that was honoured in this manner was Nargis Dutt, at that point of time.[62]

In 2012, her 1962 release Half Ticket was also remastered, digitally coloured and re-released after 50 years of its original release.

On 10 August 2017, the New Delhi center of Madame Tussauds unveiled a statue of Madhubala, as the famous courtesan Anarkali (of Mughal-E-Azam fame) as a tribute to the legendary actress. The Madame Tussauds opened in New Delhi on December 1, 2017.

In 2018 the New York Times published a belated obituary for her.[63]


Despite the fact that Madhubala was very popular, she never received any award like her contemporaries, Meena Kumari and Nargis.

Madhubala was nominated for a Filmfare Award for Best Actress in 1961 for her performance in Mughal-e-Azam (1960). However, the award went on to actress Bina Rai who won it for her performance in Ghunghat.[64]


Madhubala appeared in more than seventy films but only fifteen of them were successful. In her career spanning 22 years, she also produced two films and even sang some songs in her early films. Here is the complete list of films:

Year Film Role Notes
1942 Basant Manju Credited as Baby Mumtaz

Sang a song

1945 Dhanna Bhagat Munni Child Artist
1946 Pujari Child Artist

Sang a song

Phoolwari Child Artist
Rajputani Child Artist
1947 Neel Kamal Ganga Debut film as a heroine

Credited as Mumtaz

Chittor Vijay
Mere Bhagwan
Khoobsoorat Duniya
Dil-Ki-Rani Raj Kumari Singh
1948 Parai Aag
Lal Dupatta
Desh Sewa
Amar Prem
1949 Sipahiya
Paras Priya
Neki Aur Badi
Mahal Kamini
Dulari Shobha/Dulari
Aparadhi Sheela Rani
1950 Pardes Chanda
Nishana Greta
Nirala Poonam
Hanste Aansoo First Indian film to get an 'A' certificate
Beqasoor Usha
1951 Tarana Tarana
Saiyan Saiyan
Badal Ratna
Aaram Leela
1952 Saqi Rukhsana
1953 Rail Ka Dibba Chanda
1954 Bahut Din Huye Chandrakanta
Amar Anju
1955 Teerandaz
Naata Tara First film as a producer
Mr. & Mrs. '55 Anita Verma
1956 Shirin Farhad Shirin
Raj Hath Raja Beti/Rajkumari
Dhake Ki Malmal
1957 Yahudi Ki Ladki
Gateway of India Anju
Ek Saal Usha Sinha
1958 Police
Phagun Banani
Kala Pani Asha
Howrah Bridge Edna
Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi Renu
Baghi Sipahi
1959 Kal Hamara Hai Madhu/Bela
Insaan Jaag Utha Gauri
Do Ustad Madhu Sharma
1960 Mehlon Ke Khwab Asha Also the producer of the film
Jaali Note Renu/Beena
Barsaat Ki Raat Shabnam
Mughal-e-Azam Anarkali, Nadira Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress
1961 Passport Rita Bhagwandas
Jhumroo Anjana
Boy Friend Sangeeta
1962 Half Ticket Rajnidevi/Asha
1964 Sharabi Kamala
1971 Jwala Jwala Released posthumously

Only colour film

In film[edit]

In July 2018, Madhubala's sister, Madhur Bhushan, announced that she is planning to make a biopic on her sister. She will not be directing the film but has urged other filmmakers not to plan any biopics on the same subject. Actress Janhvi Kapoor has expressed her wish to play Madhubala. However as of now, the project remains to be at initial stages.[65][66]


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  2. ^ Booch, Harish and Doyle, Karing.(1962). Self-Portraitt. Bombay: Jai Gujerat Press. pp. 75-78.
  3. ^ Lanba, Urmila. (2012). Bollywood's Top 20: Superstars of Indian Cinema (Patel, B, ed.). pp. 114-28.
  4. ^ Gangadhar, V. (17 August 2007). "They now save for the rainy day". The Hindu. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
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Further reading[edit]

  • Akbar, Khatija (1997). Madhubala: her life, her films. UBS Publishers Distributors. ISBN 978-81-7476-153-8.
  • Akbar, M. J. Sunday Magazine, 5 Aug 1996
  • Bajaj, Rajiv K. (ed.). The Daily, 26 May 1996
  • Bhattacharya, Rinki. Bimal Roy: A man of silence, South Asia Books
  • Cort, David. Theatre Arts magazine, Issue Date: August 1952; Vol. XXXVI No. 8
  • Deep, Mohan. Madhubala: The Mystery and Mystique, Magna Publishing Co. Ltd.
  • Joshi, Meera. Madhubala: Tears in Heaven Filmfare, 14 May 2008
  • Kamath M.V. The Daily, June 1996
  • Karanjia, B.K. Dates with Diva, Deccan Chronicle, 17 December 2006
  • Khan, Aisha. "Madhubala, 1933-1969," New York Times, March 8, 2018.
  • Raheja, Dinesh. The Hundred Luminaries of Hindi Cinema, India Book House Publishers
  • Rajadhyaksha, Ashish; Willemen, Paul. The Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema, Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers
  • Reuben, Bunny. Follywood Flashback, Indus publishers
  • Sawhney, Clifford. Debonair', June 1996
  • Singh, Khushwant. Sunday Observer 23–29 June 1996

External links[edit]