By Anindita Mukherjee Last Updated:
Jab pyaar kiya toh darna kya…jab pyaar kiya toh darna kya…pyaar kiya koi chori nahi ki, chup-chup aahein bharna kya…jab pyaar kiya toh darna kya…
When we think of cult Bollywood beauties, right from when the film industry started, whose name comes to your mind? A striking resemblance to Marilyn Monroe, the beautiful Madhubala? No doubts about it, we say! With those deer-shaped eyes, a young girl that ‘looked like butter’, her luscious locks and her ‘oh-so-dreamy’ adaayein; made her the ‘queen bee’ with most of her male stars drooling over her and also made her one of the first female superstars that Bollywood had ever witnessed. In fact, at her biography, The Mystery and Mystique of Madhubala, freelance journalist and author, Mohan Deep wrote:
“She was a woman possessed. Haunted by her own insecurities until the very end. She loved men. And lost them. Latif, Mohan Sinha, Kamal Amrohi, Premnath, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Dilip Kumar, Pradeep Kumar, Bharat Bhushan, Kishore Kumar."
Gossips and affairs is not just a ‘today’s thing’ in Bollywood. Relationships, affairs and darkest secrets have always scored a permanent corner in the life of many stars. And, one such star, who defines the word ‘beautiful’ is Madhubala. From dying a much-undeserved death to her involvement with multiple stars of her time, let us take you on a journey of all the men that came into Madhubala’s life, only to leave her when she needed someone the most.
Almost everybody has a childhood love and so did the Mahal star. For the uninitiated, Madhubala was born and brought-up in Delhi, before she moved to Mumbai to pursue her love for acting. It was said that Latif, a resident of Delhi was utterly depressed before Madhubala shifted base to Mumbai. As a parting gift, she gifted Latif a red rose, which served as a symbol of their love. He had kept the rose with him and placed it on her grave when she died. Now a retired IAS officer, Latif visits Madhubala’s grave every year on February 23 (the day of her demise) and places a red rose on top of it.
Kidar Sharma gave Madhubala her much-needed break in films. Rumours had it that the first time Kidar saw Mahdhubala, he fell for her. Kidar’s one-sided obsession for Madhubala grew, but she did not reciprocate to his feelings. Madhubala, being a young girl at that time, probably thought that she deserves better than a much-elder Kidar. And their ‘supposedly’ one-sided love-story saw a short end. However, Madhubala’s younger sister, Madhur Brij Bhushan shared a few insights to this rumour. She shared,
"Kidar Sharma and Mohan Sinha were old enough to be her father.”
The next man to join the list is Kamal Amrohi. He was the director of Bollywood’s biggest cult horror movie, Mahal, which went on to become a superhit of all times. And, why wouldn’t it be? When you are in love with the director of a film, it shows! It was said that the two would spend hours with each other and that her time with Kamal, was the best time of her life. Reportedly, Madhubala’s father also approved of their relationship and said:
"Aage chalke ein donho ki shaadi ho jaaye to mujhe koyi aitraaz nahin hai” (I have no objection if they marry each other in the near future.)
Kamal was an already married man when the duo decided to get married to each other. But, apparently Madhubala had some issues. She did not want to be Kamal’s second wife and insisted Kamal to divorce his the-then wife and yet another famous Bollywood actress of those times, Meena Kumari. Kamal refused to do so and asked Madhubala to adjust with his first wife which largely depressed Madhubala. It was also said that Madhubala put forward an outrageous deal where she offered to pay Kamal, a sum amount of Rs 9 lakh to marry him. However, her sister Madhur refuted all such rumours and had said:
“Kamal Amrohi was a married man and given our economic conditions how could she, the sole earning member of our family, offer him Rs 9 lakh?”
Premnath and Madhubala met each other on the sets of Badal. Madhubala was already a superstar. Their relationship went on for a period of 6 months after which Madhubala started to distance herself from him. As told to Filmfare by Madhubala’s sister, Madhur, their relationship broke on the grounds of religion. Madhur shares more:
“Apa [Madhubala] first fell in love with Premnath. The relationship lasted six months. It broke on grounds of religion. He asked her to convert and she refused.”
Yes, we bet many of you were waiting for this point. Their love-story and period of courtship was epic. Madhubala and Dilip Kumar met each other on the sets of Tarana. Theirs was a long relationship that went on for nine years. Both of them even got engaged to each other. It was said that they broke-up over a film’s location that involved Madhubala’s father, Ataullah Khan. Madhubala kept on crying for days and even tried working things out on the phone but Dilip Kumar would not budge. Madhur shared a part of the conversation that Madhubala and Dilip Kumar used to have over the call:
“Leave your father and I’ll marry you’. She’d say, ‘I’ll marry you but just come home, say sorry and hug him’. It was zid (ego) which destroyed their love. But my father never asked her to break the engagement or ever demanded an apology from him.”
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Another interesting rumour has it that Madhubala had sent two identical notes with two red roses to both to Dilip Kumar and Premnath. Neither of them could reject the beauty’s proposal. The book, The Mystery and Mystique of Madhubala shares further insights on this incident. It said:
"She wanted both her heroes—Premnath and Dilip Kumar. Unknown to her, however, Dilip and Premnath were fast becoming friends. Working together in Aan, the Pathan and the Punjabi shared several private moments together. Such moments were spent in exchanging cigarettes and sharing thoughts. Sometimes, the two buddies confided their secrets. And, the name of Madhubala cropped up. Suddenly, it dawned on them that they had been taken for fools by their young co-star. Both had received a red rose sent through the star's hairdresser. Both had received identical notes. And the most degrading part—both had replied in the same manner.... The young girl, who looked like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth, had made ulloos of them."
Madhur further refuted all such claims on her sister and shared:
“Tell me, if Premnath and Dilip Kumar were angry over her two-timing, why were they present at her funeral?"
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto came in the last few years of Madhubala. Unlike other link-ups from the industry, Zulfiqar was a barrister at the Bombay High Court. He was a wealthy man and owned loads of estate in Mumbai, back then. Zulfiqar was a regular visitor on the sets of Mughal-e-Azam, where he would just come to catch a glimpse of the beautiful Anarkali. Their alleged affair was short-lived and it was said that there was no hope for a perspective future in their relationship as Madhubala was still in pain from her last break-up with Dilip Kumar. Her relationship with Zulfiqar still remains a mystery.
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It was the final years of her life when Madhubala got tired of all the unstable relationships she had had. She longed for a stable relationship, a companion. It was then that Madhubala met Kishore Kumar when they were shooting for Chalti Ka Naam Gadi and Half Ticket. They got married in 1960 post which they flew down to London where she was detected with a hole in her heart and the doctors said that she has only two years to live. Madhur shares details how Kishore Kumar reacted when he got to know of Madhubala’s illness:
“After marriage they flew to London where the doctor told her she had only two years to live. After that Kishore left her at our house saying, ‘I can’t look after her. I’m on outdoors often’. But she wanted to be with him. He’d visit her once in two months though. Maybe he wanted to detach himself from her so that the final separation wouldn’t hurt. But he never abused her as was reported. He bore her medical expenses. They remained married for nine years.”
Even though Madhubala had multiple link-ups, we would like to remember her through the commendable work she did which raised a bar of the Indian film scenario.
Also, did you know Madhubala also had a habit of regularly writing a diary? When she died, her diary was buried in her grave by her father at the Santa Cruz Muslim cemetery. Just imagine, if you had a hand at her diary, what other information could you possibly find? Let us know in the comments section below.