Born as Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi, Madhubala was not an aspiring actress, but entered Bollywood at the age of 9 as a child artist to support her family. She not only went on to become one of the most sought-after and admired actresses in India, but also caught the attention of Hollywood. She had a great on screen appeal and there were speculations about her potential for international recognition and success. When Frank Capra from Hollywood showed interest in giving her a break in Hollywood, her father declined and Madhubala went with his decision. She also broke up with Dilip Kumar with whom she was in love, because her father disapproved of their marriage.
One of the prettiest actresses to shine on the big screen lost her life at the tender age of 36. Here is the list of 10 movies of Madhubala you can enjoy just for the sheer joy of looking at the beautiful actress.
Released in the year 1949, Mahal was the film that brought Madhubala aged just 16 to the limelight. This was the first film which introduced re-incarnation drama to Bollywood which is a popular theme even to this day. Directed by a stalwart like Kamal Amrohi, Mahal can be said to be the launching pad of the director himself along with Madhubala and Lata Mangeshkar.
The same year Mahal became a box-office hit, Madhubala went on to win the hearts of audience with her performance as an innocent gypsy girl in the film Dulari. With this film, she found a firm foothold in the slippery Bollywood grounds.
8. Howrah Bridge
Released in the year 1958, the film gave Indians the most sensuous song to come from Bollywood –the club number Aaiye Meherbaan picturized on Madhubala and sung by versatile singer Asha Bhonsle. Madhubala gave a memorable performance as the dancer Edna in the film.
7. Kala Paani
Produced by Dev Anand, Madhubala portrayed the role of a journalist Asha who helps the hero solve a murder mystery. The song Achcha ji main haari chalo maan jaao na, Sung by Asha Bhosle and Mohammad Rafi, showed the naughty side of the leading actors Dev Anand and Madhubala, which is still quite popular with movie goers.
6. Do Ustad
Released in the year 1959, Do Ustad had the then most popular personalities Raj Kapoor and Madhubala in the leading roles. This was the first movie which gave Bollywood the sibling separation theme. Madhubala did a good job with whatever little she had to do in the film dominated by Raj Kapoor in dual roles.
Directed by Mehboob Khan, the film boldly showed that the hero of the movie can have negative side to him as well. Madhubala played the role educated, socially-conscious young woman, who faces the dilemma when the man she is engaged to is accused of raping a poor milkmaid.
4. Mr. & Mrs. ’55
Mr. & Mrs. ’55 is a romantic comedy directed and starred by Guru Dutt with Madhubala as his leading lady, released in the year 1955. Madhubala shone in the role of Anita, a wealthy and westernized heiress who is controlled by her feminist aunt who does not want her to lead a regular married life.
3. Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi
In Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Madhubala starred with her would be husband Kishore Kumar. This comedy was an unexpected runaway hit, though it is said that Kishore Kumar made the film intending it to flop so that he could avoid paying income tax by showing losses. The film endeared to the audience with entertaining songs and lovely comedy.
2. Barsaat Ki Raat
This classic movie is widely appreciated not just for its notable Qawwalis but also for the three strong female characters brought to life by three highly talented actresses. The romantic film allowed Madhubala to leave a lasting mark on the minds of the movie goers before she gave up acting due to health issues.
Mughal-e-Azam can be considered the swan song of Madhubala. Released in the year 1960, the mega film broke all the previous box office records in India, and became the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time, a distinction it held for 15 years. Madhubala played the role of court dancer Anarkali, who falls in love with Prince Salim. It is said that she suffered abrasions on her skin and fainted during the filming of the movie due to its harsh demands and her delicate health. But she was determined to finish the film at any cost. Madhubala gave a sterling and memorable performance for the evergreen super hit song Pyaar kiya to darna kya.