March 15, 2007

Madhubala - A legend

Born on Valentines Day 1933, Madhubala is said to be one of the Indian filmscreen's most beautiful and charming actresses with a life story more tragic and fascinating than most of the 70 movies she acted in.

She was the 5th of 11 children in a very poor conservative Muslim Pasthun family in India and at a young age a holy man predicted that she would become very successful but her life would be filled with unhappiness.

Her greatest life work can be seen in the movie Mughal-e-Azam (1960) that took 9 years to film where she plays the role of real life historical figure and courtesan Anarkali, who fell in love with the emperor's son Jehangir (played by Dilip Kumar). It's a tragic love story that also reflects in real life. Madhubala and Dilip Kumar had a relationship/affair for 7 years and she wanted to marry him but he was never serious about her and eventually married a 20 years younger actress named Saira Banu.

She was diagnosed with a heart disease in 1950, before heart surgery was available, yet she concealed it from the film industry and continued working hard, at times coughing blood on set knowing she had a large poor family to support. Many of her friends later recount that she was never the same after her relationship with Dilip ended and many say she suffered from a lifelong depression.

She died with a hole in her heart in 1969 after being bedridden for 9 years, and was buried by her family and husband Kishore Kumar (whom she got married to in 1960).

A must see song & video:
In this scene where she sings one of the most beautiful songs in film history Pyaar kiya to darna kya - having loved what is there to fear from the movie Mughal-e-Azam you see her as Anarkali singing to Jehangir (played by Dilip Kumar, the younger man of two men on thrones in the video without a turban, her failed real-life love) and to his father wearing the turban, the emperor, who strongly dissapproved of their love. Madhubala was ill all through the making of the movie including this scene. She starts singing after about 2 minutes.

It is said Madhubala never stopped loving Dilip Kumar and watched the video to Pyaar kiya to darna kya 500 times on her death bed.

It is hard not to be moved by her song to him, whether she is Anarkali singing to Jehangir, or Madhubala singing to Dilip Kumar.


Sleepless In Muscat said...

I have to say, that in all honesty, I don't really like Indian movies. But there were two favorite scenes in the uploaded movie clip that I liked, the scene where the courtesan dances in the mirror and that is split into a thousand pieces or so, and the part where she secretly looks the other way where she is addressing in the song the son in the song.

Have you noticed that?

goodie girl said...

Argh! I wish I could understand the words. I might have picked out an "Eshgh" or something like that. Eshgh is love in Persian I may just be assuming there is a connection based on Madhubala's/Anarkali's love for Dilip/Jahangir. Great post. It reminds me of Moulin Rouge a bit with the love story encased in another love story. Bittersweet. :)

Destitute Rebel said...

Hey Shaira a great song and a great post. Actually I'm pretty sure Anarkali is singing for the benefit of not the son but she is mocking the father and telling him what she felt. The son was very much in love with Anarkali, and the legend says that he was sent away when she was buried alive in the walls. Goodie Girl Eshgh is urdu for love too.

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

hala sleepless :)

This is one movie that it is hard not to like, especially this scene, it really is so powerful. Yeah I know what you mean, although I havent noticed the part where the mirror breaks? When is that? Do you mean in the end? Or do you mean when it becomes small "mirrors" of her dancing?

G Girl! If one gets the lyrics its even more amazing. Eshgh or Ishq is love of a stronger kind than simply pyaar which is also love. Bittersweet indeed, although somehow more bitter for Madhubala and Anarkali.

D reb, I know, she is singing and dancing in protest of the father however by professing her love to his son. Even in the song I believe she says "parda nahi jab koi khuda se, bando se parda karna kya", is a direct line towards the father as well as in her dance when she points to the son saying "pyaar kiya", then points to the father and twirls and sings "to darna kya."

I love this song!

Diligent Candy said...

Wonderful post. I did not know this. Very interesting.

Radha said...

Great post SS! When beautiful women have tragic private lives, somehow the tragedy adds to the enigma in their public lives(Madhubala, Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe)-- isnt that wierd?

Salim-Anarkali is such a timeless love story; its a classic. I've been wanting to see the tomb of anarkali in Lahore for quite some time now:

Imaan On Ice said...

Beautiful! //Imaan

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

D Candy, there are many tragic stories of old indian actresses in particular, Meena kumari is another one, but none come close to madhubala.

Radha, that is very true. Somehow you look at them and think, well they shouldn't have a hard time finding someone, but love doesn't work that way.

I have just been to anarkali bazaar in Lahore but never to the toomb. I think Madhubala is buried there as well, am not sure. Thanks for the link.

Imaan, visst är hennes dans vacker!

Optimistic Guard said...

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Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Welcome Optimistic Guard (from now on known as OG), thanks for stopping by :)

kaya said...

Though not a big fan Of Dilip Kumar, I have to say Madhubala was a 100 watt smile gal.
Her work in the movie, is par excellence. Though I dont think the DAD was too impressed. LOL!
As for the song.
Lovers through tha ages have used it to remind themselves of the twists that road leads to.
A mere NAUTCH girl taunting the Mughal Emperor and then in the end he has her walled in alive.

The funny thing is the famous ANARKALI bazaar in Lahore, is so named because they say that ANARKALi was buried there. But thats not possible is it? As historically she was buried alive.

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Well kaya jee, she is said to be buried in a wall in anarkali bazaar, there is a mauseleum there for her.

Well Dilip (Yusuf Khan) I found out is Pathan from my fathers hometown Peshawar! What's up with the pathans and Bollywood. lol

Destitute Rebel said...

Hey SS & Kaya, thing is its a misconception that anarkali was buried in the anarkali bazaar in Lahore. Her tomb is actually situated inside the Punjab Secretariat and not many people get to see it since its a high security area. Its a small building which now houses some records for the secretariat. the building has a grave sort of and it has names of Allah and some poetry inscribed on it. Its worth checking out. The building had previously also been turned into a church for a short period during the British period from what iv heard.

kaya said...

I was aware about the ANARKALi bazaar MISCONCEPTION.I knw that ANARKALI was not buried there. And Lahoris ka kya hai. Jitthay marzi mazaar bana chaddnay hai.
But the new bit of info was rather interesting, and thanks for that D Reb.
Inshallah ek trip to Pak, just to chk out this stuff.

EXSENO said...

Even though I couldn't understand the words of the song it was lovely as was her dance. I was in awe of the beauty of the room in which the scene was set in.
Such a pretty woman and such a sad love story. I believe a broken heart can make a person ill.

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

She's lovely Exseno, no doubt.