Madhubala was born Mumtaz Jehan Dehlavi, on 14 February 1933 in Delhi to Attaullah Khan who was her father and a Yusufzai Pashtun from the Swabi District of North-West Frontier Province It is modern-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan. Her mother was Ayesha Begum. Hers was an orthodox middle-class family and she was the fifth of eleven children.
Her father worked at Imperial Tobacco Company in Peshawar. Later on, the family relocated to Delhi when her father lost his job. They then shifted to Mumbai.
Madhubala's siblings i.e. three sisters and two brothers died very young.
The dock explosion followed by fire of April 14, 1944 destroyed their home. However, the family survived as they had gone to a local theatre to watch a movie. Their financial condition was worsened and the family worked hard to earn for their living. It was during this period that young Madhubala started visiting Bombay film studio. Consequently, she got her first role at the age of 9 years to financially help her family.
Madhubala married Kishore Kumar in the year 1960. Kishore Kumar converted to Islam and took up the name Karim Abdul for this marriage. Their marriage touched rock bottom due to consistent conflicts between the two. They remained married for nine years.
Following are some of the movies in which Madhubala worked:
• Basant: Released in the year 1942, it was Madhubala's first movie that was a box-office hit.
• Neel Kamal: Released in the year 1947, it was her first lead role, at the age of 14 opposite Raj Kapoor. This was the last film in which she was credited as Mumtaz her real name. After this she assumed her screen name 'Madhubala'.
• Mahal: Released in the year 1949. Madhubala received stardom and popularity with this role that was originally intended for well-known star Suraiyya.
Some other popular hits by Madhubala were:
• Dulari: Released in the year 1949
• Beqasoor: Released in the year 1950
• Tarana: Released in the year 1951
• Badal: Released in the year 1951
• Mr. & Mrs. '55: Released in the year 1955
• Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi: Released in the year 1958
• Mughal-e-Azam: Released in the year 1960, this movie established Madhubala as one of the icons of the Indian Film Industry and she is still remembered for her role as Anarkali.
• Barsaat Ki Raat: Released in the year 1960
• Jwala: It was her last movie that was shot in the 1950s but was released in the year 1971.
In the year 1966, with a slight improvement in her health, Madhubala tried to complete her work in the movie Chalak opposite Raj Kapoor. Though, the movie required shooting for a very short period, but she could not even bear that strain as well.
Her attempt as a director:
Due to her ill health, Madhubala focused her attention towards direction and made her debut as a director in the year 1969 with the movie Farz aur Ishq. However the film was never complete, as during its pre-production stage the actress passed away.
HER LAST YEARS
Madhubala had ventricular septal defect or a hole in her heart. It was detected while she was shooting for Bahut Din Huwe in Madras in the year 1954. By the year 1960, her condition aggravated and she suffered from pulmonary pressure of the lungs and coughed all the time. Hence, she was bed-ridden for nine years.
Madhubala passed away on February 23, in the year 1969, shortly after her 36th birthday.
Her tomb was built with marble and inscriptions included awaits from the Quran and verse dedications. However, her tomb was demolished in the year 2010 to make space for new graves.
To commemorate her
• A digitally-colorized version of the original Mughal-e-Azam was released in the year 2004, 35 years after her death.
• Another of her movies titled Half Ticket released in the year 1962 was also made digitally colourised in the year 2012.
• A commemorative postage stamp featuring Madhubala was issued on 18 March 2008. The stamp was produced by India Post in a limited edition presentation pack. It was launched by veteran actors Nimmi and Manoj Kumar. The ceremony was attended by friends, colleagues, and surviving members of Madhubala's family. Nargis Dutt was the only actress at that time who was honoured in this manner.