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… Well, no matter how much truth this song holds, yet, we are still scared to fall in love and express it to the world, after all, not every time you fall in love, leads you to a successful love story! Bollywood's one of the most beautiful actress too had dealt with a series of unsuccessful love stories. When you think about cult Bollywood beauties, right from the beginning of the Bollywood industry, whose name comes to your mind? Well, for us, it is none-other-than the beautiful Madhubala, who holds a striking resemblance to Marilyn Monroe. With those deer-shaped eyes, a young girl that ‘looked like butter’, her luscious locks and her ‘oh-so-dreamy’ adaayein had made her the ‘queen bee’ with most of the male actors drooling over her. She was also one of the first female superstars that Bollywood had ever witnessed.
Talking about her love life then in Madhubala's biography, The Mystery and Mystique of Madhubala, freelance journalist and author, Mohan Deep had talked about how she was insecure in her life and lost every man she had ever loved. He had written:
“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."
We must say, gossips and affairs are 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 had come into Madhubala’s life, only to leave her when she had 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 had moved to Mumbai to pursue her love for acting. It was said that Latif, a resident of Delhi was utterly depressed before Madhubala had shifted her base to Mumbai. As a parting gift, she had gifted Latif a red rose, which had served as a symbol of their love. He had kept the rose with him and had placed it on her grave when she had died. It is said that Latif still 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 had given Madhubala her much-needed break in films. Rumours had it that the first time Kidar had seen Mahdhubala, he had fallen for her. Kidar’s one-sided obsession for Madhubala had grown, but she had not reciprocated his feelings. Madhubala, being a young girl at that time, probably had thought that she deserves someone better than a much-elder man, Kidar. And their ‘supposedly’ one-sided love-story had a short end. However, Madhubala’s younger sister, Madhur Brij Bhushan had shared a few insights into this rumour. She had 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 had also approved of their relationship and had 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 already married when the duo had decided to get married to each other. But, apparently, Madhubala had some issues as she never wanted to be Kamal’s second wife and had insisted him to divorce his then-wife and yet another famous Bollywood actress of those times, Meena Kumari. Kamal had refused to do so and had asked Madhubala to adjust with his first wife which had depressed Madhubala. It was also said that Madhubala had put forward an outrageous deal where she had offered to pay Kamal, a sum amount of Rs 9 lakh to marry him. However, her sister, Madhur had 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 had met each other on the sets of Badal. Madhubala was already a superstar by then and their relationship had gone on for a period of 6 months after which the veteran actress had started to distance herself from him. As told to Filmfare by Madhubala’s sister, Madhur, their relationship had broken on the grounds of religion. Madhur had shared:
“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! Dilip Kumar and Madhubala's love story and courtship period was epic and still remembered. Madhubala and Dilip Kumar had met each other on the sets of Tarana. The two had dated for nine long years and had also exchanged rings with each other. It was said that they had ended their relationship on a film’s location because of Madhubala’s father, Ataullah Khan. Madhubala had cried for days and had even tried working things out on the phone but Dilip Kumar would not budge. The actress' sister, Madhur had shared a part of the conversation that Madhubala and Dilip Kumar used to have over the call and had recalled:
“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 Dilip Kumar and Premnath. Neither of them could reject the beauty’s proposal. The book, The Mystery and Mystique of Madhubala shared further insights on this incident. It stated:
"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 had further refuted all such claims on her sister and had shared:
“Tell me, if Premnath and Dilip Kumar were angry over her two-timing, why were they present at her funeral?"
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had come into Madhubala's life in her last few years. Unlike other link-ups from the industry, Zulfiqar was a barrister at the Bombay High Court. He was a wealthy man, owing 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 had gotten tired of all the unstable relationships she had dealt with. She had longed for a stable relationship, a companion and it was then that Madhubala had met Kishore Kumar during the shooting for Chalti Ka Naam Gadi and Half Ticket. They had gotten married in 1960 post which they had flown down to London where she was detected with a hole in her heart and the doctors had said that she only had two years to live. Madhur had shared details on how Kishore Kumar had reacted when he had gotten to know about 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 had done, raising the bar of the Indian film industry. Also, did you know Madhubala also had a habit of regularly writing a diary? When she had died, her diary was buried in her grave by her father at the Santa Cruz Muslim cemetery.