ByÂ Mahlia Lone
In a case of art imitating life, Madhubala and Dilip Kumar played star crossed lovers in the Indian film classic Mughal-e-Azam while nursing broken hearts over each other themselves, in her case quite literally
In 1942 Bombay, a tall, good looking Yusufzai Pathan who had recently gotten fired from his job at the Imperial Tabacco Company in New Delhi and relocated there with his wife and eleven children, took his angelic looking nine year old daughter Mumtaz Jehan Dehlavi and made the rounds of the studios in the hopes for finding a job for her. Soon Baby Mumtaz was given a small film role and subsequently became the sole breadwinner of her family. Though the father thought of himself as a self respecting Pathan, the truth was that he was extremely domineering and controlling of his star daughter because he was greedy for her income. This is what determined the course of her short and tragic life.
Born on Valentineâ€™s Day 1933 a â€˜blueâ€™ baby (due to oxygen deprivation) with a ventricular septal defect (VSD) colloquially known as a hole in the heart that was undetected till she was in her 20s, Baby Mumtaz did not have a happy childhood. Five of her eleven siblings died in childhood due to their poverty stricken circumstances and even their small house in Bombay burned down due to a dock explosion in 1944. With no house, no job and six daughters to support, Ataullah Khan decided to use his prettiest daughterâ€™s good looks to their advantage and she embarked upon a film career that lasted mostly from 1942 to 1960, though she made a few films in the 60s also. Her younger sister Madhur Bhaushan said in a Filmfare interview, â€˜â€˜What do I say of her beauty? We suffered from a complex when we stood beside her. Being Pathans we were all tall, fair and had long hair.Â But none of us sisters looked like her. We werenâ€™t a patch on Apa.â€
Â It has been reported that aÂ najoomi (fortuneteller) known asÂ Kashmirwalle baba, predicted that Baby Mumtaz would grow up to be larger than life, â€œBadi hokar ye ladki bahot naam kamayegi, Bahot paisa aur shohorat paayegi, lekinÂ (this girl will earn prestige, money and fame but) she will lead a very unhappy life with broken love affairs, a loveless marriage and will die at an early age.â€ His predictions proved to be ominously correct.
Spotting her talent and good looks, actressÂ Devika Rani, founder of the movie studio Bombay Talkies, advised a teenage Mumtaz to assume the screen name Madhubala, meaning honey belle, because whenever she smiled she looked like a blossoming flower. Her first lead role, at the age of 14, was oppositeÂ Raj Kapoor inÂ Neel KamalÂ (1947).Â Madhubala tasted mega stardom at only 16 in 1949 in Kamal Amrohi directed supernatural suspense thriller Mahal in which she plays a ghost. Overnight she became one the most sought after Indian actresses and sex symbols of the Fifties, known as the Marilyn Monroe of Bollywood and the Venus of India. In this blockbuster, the popular song Aayega aanewaala was sung by a teenage Lata Mangeshkar, singing playback for the first time.
â€œShe was extremely popular and I think the only star for whom people thronged outside the gates. Very often when shooting was over, thereâ€™d be a vast crowd standing at the gates just to have a look at Madhu. It wasnâ€™t so for anyone else. That was her personal effect on fans. Her personality was so vivacious,â€ said the love of her life Dilip Kumar
Other significant films of Madhubalaâ€™s career belonged to such different genres as Mehboob Khan directed psychological drama AmarÂ (1954),Â Guru Duttâ€™sÂ satire Mr. & Mrs. â€˜55Â (1955),Â Satyen Boseâ€™s comedy Chalti Ka Naam GaadiÂ (1958),Â Samantaâ€™s mystery Howrah Bridge (1958), Kamal Asifâ€™s period tragedy Mughal-e-AzamÂ (1960) and Santoshiâ€™s romantic Barsaat Ki RaatÂ (1960). Her filmÂ Hanste Aansoo (1950)Â was the first ever Hindi film to get a scandalous (for its time) adults only (A) rating from theÂ Central Board of Film Certification. She worked with the most popular heroes of her time, including Ashok Kumar,Â Bharat Bhushan, Raj Kapoor,Â Pradeep Kumar,Â Shammi Kapoor,Â Dilip Kumar,Â Sunil DuttÂ andÂ Dev Anand. Her memorable performance inÂ Mughal-e-Azam established her as a timeless film icon.
Appearing in the American magazineÂ Theatre Artsâ€™Â August 1952 issue, Madhubala was featured in an article titled: The Biggest Star in the World – and sheâ€™s not in Beverly Hills. The prestigious Life magazine also featured her in a glossy article. Academy Award winner American directorÂ Frank Capra, while visiting Bombay for the International Film Festival of India, even offered her chance to work in a Hollywood movie in a significant role, which she could have done because she had a private English tutor, but her father was not interested in loosening his iron grip.
In their 1962 bookÂ Self-Portrait, Harish Booch and Karing Doyle comment that â€œunlike other stars, Madhubala prefers a veiled secrecy around her and is seldom seen in social gatherings or public functions. Contrary to general belief; Madhubala is rather simple and unassuming.â€
Dilip Kumar is considered one of Indiaâ€™s greatest actors, holding the Guinness World Record for winning the maximum number of awards by an Indian actor with a record 8 wins of the Filmfare Best Actor Award and 19 nominations. Acclaimed filmmaker Satyajit Ray called him â€œthe ultimate method actorâ€Â
â€œShe was aware of her beauty,â€ reminiscesÂ B. K. Karanjia, former Filmfare editor and a close friend of both Madhubala and her father, â€œand because there were so many in love with her, she used to play one against the other. But it was out of innocence rather than shrewd calculation.â€
Co-star Dev Anand recalls, â€œShe liked to flirt and was great fun.â€
Â â€œShe was extremely popular and I think the only star for whom people thronged outside the gates. Very often when shooting was over, thereâ€™d be a vast crowd standing at the gates just to have a look at Madhu. It wasnâ€™t so for anyone else. That was her personal effect on fans. Her personality was so vivacious,â€ said the love of her life Dilip Kumar.
Madhur describes her sister, â€œShe loved wearing plain white saris. At home sheâ€™d wear maxis. She loved mogras (jasmine) in her hair. She was fond of gold and kundan jewellery. She was also fond of sher shayri (poetry) as she knew a bit of Urdu. An English tutor also came home to teach her. She loved eating chaat and kulfi. Sheâ€™d never diet. Those days actresses were healthy women, not size zero! Sheâ€™d drive all of us to Chowpatty in her imported cars, Hillman, Buick and a station wagon but sheâ€™d wear a burqa (abaya) to hide her identity. When sheâ€™d be pulled up by the traffic police for that, sheâ€™d plead, â€˜Please let me wear it or else Iâ€™ll get mobbedâ€™. She even went to watch movies in a burqa. Apa became a craze because she was never seen in public. She wasnâ€™t allowed to attend any function, any premiere. She had no friends. But she never resisted, she was obedient.Â Being protective, my father earned the reputation of being domineering. He was asked why heâ€™d made her join films in the first place. Heâ€™d say, â€˜I had 12 children. We wouldâ€™ve starved to death. Iâ€™ve lost my sons who couldâ€™ve been my support.â€™
The early Fifties were Madhubalaâ€™s best years. She was rapturously and ecstatically in love and exuded happiness. Recalling those days, her friend Gulshan Ewing says, â€œShe thrust on me the mantle of â€˜confidanteâ€™. Many were the whispered conversations she had with me, all rustling with the same rhythm â€” Yusuf, Yusuf, Yusuf. She was so in love, the light leapt out and dazzled everyone. She would squeal when his name was mentioned, she would blush and perspire when his presence was imminentâ€
Apa was emotional by nature. Sheâ€™d be in tears in seconds. Weâ€™d keep wondering what had happened. And sheâ€™d laugh easily too. The moment she began laughing, she couldnâ€™t stop. She wasnâ€™t religious but was God-fearing. She didnâ€™t fast but prayed once a day.â€
Madhubalaâ€™s father kept a constant check on her movements. MadhubalaÂ kept a diary on daily basis like many of the young girls of her time. In this diary, she kept a full account of her romantic involvements, but her father buried the book with her in her grave.
BornÂ Muhammad Yusuf KhanÂ on 11th December 1922 in Peshawar, Dilip Kumar is considered one of Indiaâ€™s greatest actors, holding the Guinness World Record for winning the maximum number of awards by an Indian actorÂ with a record 8 wins of the Filmfare Best Actor Award and 19 nominations. Acclaimed filmmaker Satyajit Ray called him â€œthe ultimate method actor.â€
Like Madhubala, he too belonged to a large Pathan Muslim family. He came from a Hindko speaking Awan family and was one of 12 children of Lala Ghulam Sarwar, an orchard owner and fruit merchant. The family moved to Bombay, where Yusuf attended the prestigious Barnes School. While in his teens, he fought with his father, moved out of the family house and started a successful cafÃ© at the Army Club in Pune, from which he saved up Rs. 5,000, a prodigious amount of money at the time. After his army contract ended, he too met Devika Rani who offered him a film contract worth annually Rs. 1250 working in the Bombay Talkies script department because of his excellent command over Urdu. Impressed with his charm and good looks, she changed his name to the more Hindu sounding Dilip Kumar and cast him as the lead in Jwar Bhatta (1944). He also led the cast in Shaukat Hussain Rizviâ€™s Jugnu (1947) opposite Nur Jehan.
Again similar to Madhubala, Dilip Kumar became extremely successful and popular in the 1950s. He starred in the melodrama Babul (1950) opposite Nargis, as the alcoholic â€˜Tragedy Kingâ€™ in Chakraborty directed Daag (1952) opposite Nimmi, as a swashbuckler in Mahboob Khanâ€™s Aan (1953), as a dark hero opposite Madhubala in Amar (1954), Â in Bimal Royâ€™s Devdas (1955), in Sriramulu Naiduâ€™s comedy Azad (1955) opposite Meena Kumari, as a Roman prince in Bimal Royâ€™s Yahudi (1958) also opposite Meena Kumari, and in yet another Bimal Roy this time a suspense thriller Madhumati (1958) opposite Vyjanthimala. He was advised by a British psychiatrist to not play too many dark and depressing roles, which is why he went against type and started doing light comedic roles.
In yet another uncanny similarity with Madhubala, Dilip too was offered a plum role in a foreign English language film, in his case the role of Sherif Ali in British directorÂ David Leanâ€™s classic Lawrence of ArabiaÂ (1962), but he declined it.Â The role eventually went toÂ the Egyptian actor Omar Sharif. In his autobiography Dilip Kumar: The Substance And The Shadow, he expresses no regrets but simply writes, â€œOmar Sharif had played the role far better than I myself could have.â€
In 1960, Kamal Asifâ€™s big-budget epicÂ period filmÂ Mughal-e-Azam was released to critical and box office success. It is still the second highest grossing film in Hindi film history (in todayâ€™s currency value terms). Dilip Kumar plays the role of Prince Salim (later Emperor Jehangir) who revolts against his father Emperor Akbar (played byÂ Prithviraj Kapoor) and falls in love with a courtesan (played byÂ Madhubala). The film considered a classic was fullyÂ colourized and re-released in 2004, 44 years after its initial release. In the time that ensued between Dilip and Madhubala being cast together in their first film together Tarana (1951) and their controversial film Nayya Daur (1957) marked the beginning and end of their memorable but doomed romance.
Madhubala already had a few short lived broken romances when she hooked up with Dilip Kumar. â€œMadhubala was an extremely passionate and impulsive person,â€ says Khatija Akbar in her biography I Want To Live: The Story of Madhubala. Because she was lonely, she would approach men with a red rose and a handwritten note stating, â€œAccept it if you love me.â€
Her sister Madhu recalls, â€˜â€˜Apa fell in love with (actor) Premnath. Their relationship lasted six months. It broke on grounds of religion. He asked her to convert and she refused.â€
Then, Madhubala, whose enigmatic smile and screen presence enthralled a nation, fell irrevocably in love with â€œthe most charming man of the industry Dilip Kumar. He was not only a hugely successful movie star but a an impeccably well mannered man, one who treated women with love and respect,â€ writes Akbar.
Prior to this, Dilip had a romance with actress Kamini Kaushal who had been married by her family to her deceased sisterâ€™s husband to take care of their child. Though Dilip was willing to marry her, Kaminiâ€™s brother didnâ€™t approve of the match and the relationship ended.
First meeting on the sets of the filmÂ Jwar BhataÂ (1944), Dilip and Madhubala fell in love during the shooting of Tarana in 1951 when she was 18 to his 29. They were both single. She presented him with her customary red rose and a whirlwind romance followed. They also became a popular onscreen pair appearing in a total of four films together.
â€˜Dilip saab urged her repeatedly â€” again and again. He asked if this meant she was not willing to marry him. He told her if he went away now, he would never return. Madhubala was silent. At last, he got up and left â€” alone and out of her lifeâ€™
Actor Shammi Kapoor recalls in an interview, â€œDilip Kumar would drive down from Bombay to meet Madhubala … she was committed to Dilip … he even flew to Bombay to spend Eid with her, taking time off from his shooting stint …Her inability to leave her family was her greatest drawback for it had to be done at some time.â€
Â The couple quickly became intimate and inseparable. They were expected to get married. The early Fifties were Madhubalaâ€™s best years. She was rapturously and ecstatically in love and exuded happiness. Recalling those days, her friend Gulshan Ewing says, â€œShe thrust on me the mantle of â€˜confidanteâ€™. Many were the whispered conversations she had with me, all rustling with the same rhythm â€” Yusuf, Yusuf, Yusuf. She was so in love, the light leapt out and dazzled everyone. She would squeal when his name was mentioned, she would blush and perspire when his presence was imminent.â€
Â But Madhubalaâ€™s father, Ataullah Khan, did not approve of Dilip Kumar. â€œThe reason was simple: money. Madhubala had been providing for her family for more than a decade. Marriage would end that, Khan feared,â€ writes Akbar. During the shoot of Naya Daur (1957) Khanâ€™s interfering ways led to a standoff with the filmâ€™s director and eventually a court case. During the cross-examinations details about Madhubala and Dilipâ€™s love affair came out and were revealed by the press. In the final days of the trial, Dilip declared in the court that he loved Madhubala and will continue to love her until his death. Finally, there was an out of court settlement. It was the final nail in the coffin for the relationship because Dilip had sided with the director against Madhubalaâ€™s father.
Madhur describes their relationship: â€œShe met Bhaijan (brother Dilip Kumar) on the sets of Tarana. They later worked in Sangdil, Amar and Mughal-e-Azam.Â It was a nine year long affair. They even got engaged. Unki apa aayee thi, chunni lekar. (His sister had come with a ring as is the custom.) Bhaijan was also a Pathan. Contrary to reports, my father never stopped her from getting married. We already had enough money by then and were financially secure. Apa and Bhaijan looked made for each other. Heâ€™d often come home. He has even seen me in my school uniform. He was respectful towards us children and addressed us with â€˜aapâ€™. The two would go for a drive or sit in the room and talk.
The breakup with Dilip Kumar happened due to the court case during the filming of Naya Daur in the mid â€™50s. The unit was to shoot somewhere in Gwalior.Â During the shooting of another film Jabeen Jaleel, at the same location, a mob had attacked the women and even torn their clothes off. My father was wary and just asked that the locale be changed. Itâ€™s not that he didnâ€™t let her go outdoors. Apa had shot in Mahableshwar, Hyderabad and other places before. Bhaijan called my father â€˜a dictatorâ€™ in court and sided with the Chopras. Apa used to cry a lot those days. They had conversations on the phone trying to patch up. He kept saying, â€˜Leave your father and Iâ€™ll marry youâ€™. Sheâ€™d say, â€˜Iâ€™ll marry you but just come home, say sorry and hug him.â€™He refused, so Madhubala left him. That one â€˜sorryâ€™ could have changed her life. It was zid (stubborness and ego) which destroyed their love. My father never asked her to break the engagement or ever demanded an apology from him.
Madhubala was confined to bed for nine years and reduced to just bones and skin. Sheâ€™d keep crying, â€˜Mujhe zinda rehna hai, mujhe marna nahin hai, doctor kab ilaaj nikalenge?â€™ (I want to live, I donâ€™t want to die, wonder when the doctors will find a cure?)
Dilip Kumar said of his ladylove Madhubala, â€œShe was a very, very obedient daughter and who, in spite of the success, fame and wealth, submitted to the domination of her father and more often than not paid for his mistakes. Actresses those days faced a lot of difficulties and constraints in their career. Unable to assert themselves too much, they fell back on their families who became their caretakers and defined everything for them.â€
In his candid autobiography, Dilip reveals his side of the story. He writes, â€œWas I in love with Madhubala as the newspapers and magazines reported at that time? As an answer to this oft-repeated question straight from the horseâ€™s mouth, I must admit that I was attracted to her both as a fine co-star and as a person who had some of the attributes I hoped to find in a woman at that age and time. We had viewers admiring our pairing in Tarana and our working relationship was warm and cordial. She, as I said earlier, was very sprightly and vivacious and, as such, she could draw me out of my shyness and reticence effortlessly. She filled a void that was crying out to be filled, not by an intellectually sharp woman but a spirited woman whose liveliness and charm were the ideal panacea.
The announcement of our pairing in Mughal-e-Azam made sensational news in the early 1950s because of the rumours about our emotional involvement. In fact, K Asif (the filmâ€™s director) was ecstatic with the wide publicity and trade enquiries he got from the announcement. It was not anticipated or planned that it would be in production for such a long period as it was. Asif was aware of Madhuâ€™s feelings for me because she had confided in him during one of their intimate talks. And, he was equally aware of my nature as a man who made no haste in taking critical personal or professional decisions. As was his wont, he took it upon himself to act as the catalyst and went to the extent of encouraging her in vain to pin me down somehow. He went on to advise her that the best way to draw a commitment from an honourable and principled Pathan, brought up on Old World values, was to draw him into physical intimacy.
In retrospect, I feel he did what any selfish director would have done for his own gain of creating riveting screen chemistry between actors who are known to be emotionally involved. Also, I sensed Asif was seriously trying to mend the situation for her when matters began to sour between us, thanks to her fatherâ€™s attempt to make the proposed marriage a business venture. The outcome was that half way through the production of Mughal-e–Azam, we were not even talking to each other. The classic scene with the feather coming between our lips, which set a million imaginations on fire, was shot when we had completely stopped even greeting each other. It should, in all fairness, go down in the annals of film history as a tribute to the artistry of two professionally committed actors who kept aside personal differences and fulfilled the directorâ€™s vision of a sensitive, arresting and sensuous screen moment to perfection.
Contrary to popular notions, her father, Ataullah Khan was not opposed to her marrying me. He had his own production company and would have been only too glad to have two stars under the same roof. Had I not seen the whole business from my own point of view, it would have been just what he wanted, that is Dilip Kumar and Madhubala holding hands and singing duets in his productions till the end of our careers. When I learned about his plans from Madhu, I explained to both of them that I had my own way of functioning and selecting projects and I would not show any laxity even if it were my own production house. It must have tilted the apple cart for him and he successfully convinced Madhu that I was being rude and presumptuous. I told her in all sincerity and honesty that I did not mean any offence and it was in her interest and mine as artistes to keep our professional options away from any personal considerations. She was naturally inclined to agree with her father and she persisted in trying to convince me that it would all be sorted out once we married. My instincts, however, predicted a situation in which I would be trapped and all the hard work and dedication I had invested in my career would be blown away by a hapless surrender to someone elseâ€™s dictates and strategies. In the circumstances, therefore, it seemed best that we did not decide to marry or even give each other a chance to rethink because my resolve by then had become strongly against a union that would not be good for either of us.â€
The truth probably lies between these two versions. Madhubala, knowing the seriousness of her condition, knew that she need the fallback support of her family when her health would eventually deteriorate.
It has also been reported that during the making of Dhake ki Malmal (1956) the actor Om Prakash was on the sets of the film when he was startled by a message from Dilip Kumar who asked to see him. Dilip was with Madhubala in her makeup room and the atmosphere was tense. Om Prakash was requested to simply sit down and be a witness to the happenings. He watched as Dilip Kumar implored Madhubala, asking her to go with him and be married that very day. He had a qazi (priest) ready and waiting at his home and he wanted her to leave with him immediately. â€œI will marry her today,â€ he emphasized. It was the condition that he put forth that became the stumbling block: She would have to leave her father and never meet him again. Madhubalaâ€™s refrain was that this was impossible, and apart from this, she said nothing. â€˜Dilip saab urged her repeatedly â€” again and again. He asked if this meant she was not willing to marry him. He told her if he went away now, he would never return. Madhubala was silent. At last, he got up and left â€” alone and out of her life.â€™â€
For the next few years, she drowned her sorrows with work, but the fabulous smile no longer reached her eyes. â€œShe must have been miserable, but she wouldnâ€™t show it,â€ comments Sushila Rani Patel.
â€œAn ethereal beauty,â€ said Gulshan Ewing, â€œwhose eyes were always sad, but whose lips were always smiling.â€ In the presence of her trusted friends and colleagues or in the privacy of her makeup room, there were times when sobs racked Madhubala. It seemed the pair continued to pine for each other from afar after their break up. Dilip drowned his sorrows in alcohol just as he had done in numerous films playing the jilted lover.
Madhubala was literally nursing a broken heart. â€˜â€˜The hole in her heart (ventricular septal defect) was detected when she was shooting for SS Vasanâ€™s Chalak (1954) in Madras. She had vomited blood. She was advised bed rest for three months but continued working as her films would suffer,â€ said Madhur.
One researcher writes, â€œMadhubala vomiting blood on the set was an ominous sign that electrified the Indian media. The history of her heart defect that came to public light as the mid-1950s brought her a string of failures, earning her the label â€˜box office poison.â€™ With skyrocketing notoriety, no longer was Madhubalaâ€™s illness a family secret.â€
In 1953, Madhubala had been chosen to play the definitive role of her career as Anarkali. Bunny Reuben in his BookÂ Dilip Kumar: Star Legend of Indian CinemaÂ claimed that Dilipâ€™s role was instrumental behind this selection given her history of illness. From beginning to end the film took nine years to complete so during the filming of their magnum opus, the relationship between the two stars was already over.
â€œFor Mughal-e- Azam a film whose production was delayed for years, Madhubala and Dilip Kumar played the star-crossed lovers, Salim and Anarkali. It was their first meeting after their break-up. Madhubala was a pallid shadow of her former self,â€ writes Akbar.
The filmâ€™s production schedule ironically mirrored the stars real life love story. During much of the filming, Dilip felt bitter and was not even talking to Madhubala except when shooting required a dialogue delivery with her, but they both remained thorough professionals and didnâ€™t let their inner turmoil mar their acting. Just as in the story Madhubalaâ€™s character Anarkali is compelled into convincing Dilipâ€™s character Salim that she really does not love him, so did Madhubala keep her composure throughout the filming. The tragic final scene when a trapped Anarkali watches with terrified eyes the brick wall that is built around her, so was the real young woman terrified and trapped by her own deteriorating body.
By the late 1950s, her health was deteriorating fast, worsened with the rigors of the shoot. DirectorÂ K. Asif remained blissfully unaware the strain that the long shooting schedules were making on her health. She bravely posed as a veiled statue in suffocating makeup for hours under the studio lights and being shackled and dragging heavy chains. Madhur said. â€œWhile shooting for Mughal-e-Azam she was tied with chains and had to walk around with them. That was stressful. By the end of the day her hands would turn blue. Sheâ€™d even refuse food saying that she had to look anguished and weary for the jail scenes.â€
â€œThe lives of Madhubala and her screen character are consistently seen as overlapping, it is because of the overwhelming sense of loss and tragedy and the unrelenting diktat of destiny that clung to both and which neither could escape,â€ writes Akbar.
Madhubala found solace in the company of singer/actor Kishore Kumar who converted to Islam and took up the name Karim Abdul, until her death in 1969.â€œMadhubala was an uncomplicated person. She was famous and rich but lonely. She needed company and perhaps she thought Kishoreji would be the balm to her feelings,â€ Akbar writes.
Madhubala needed stability in her life and Kishore is reported to have needed financial help. At the time of this marriage, he owed huge amount of tax arrears to the Income Tax department, which had already assessed his Juhu House for auctioning off to pay this. Kishore thought that his rich wife could help him out financially. But Madhubala had severe health problems and was herself looking for a saviour. It was not till 1969 when the songÂ Mere sapnon ki rani from the filmÂ AradhanaÂ became a huge hit that Kishoreâ€™sÂ fortunes changed drastically and he remained a hugely successful singer until his death in 1987, upon which he left behind Rs. 4 crore worth of assets.
â€œOn the rebound Apa got involved with Kishore Kumar who was going through a divorce with Ruma Devi Guha Thakurta (actor/singer). What attracted her to Kishore? Maybe it was his singing or maybe his ability to make her laugh. Their love affair went on for three years through Chalti Ka Naam Gadi and Half Ticket. They got married in 1960, when she was 27. After marriage they flew to London where the doctor told her she had only two years to live. (A corrective surgery was not possible at the time.) If a 27-year-old is told that she has two years to live, what her state will be?â€ poses Madhur. â€œDue to her ailment, her body would produce extra blood, which would spill out from her nose and mouth. The doctor would come home and extract bottles of blood. She also suffered from pulmonary pressure of the lungs. She coughed all the time. Every four to five hours she had to be given oxygen or else would get breathless. After that Kishore left her at our house saying, â€˜I canâ€™t look after her. Iâ€™m on outdoors oftenâ€™. But she wanted to be with him. Heâ€™d visit her once in two months though. Maybe he wanted to detach himself from her so that the final separation wouldnâ€™t hurt. But he never abused her as was reported. He bore her medical expenses. They remained married for nine years, while she was confined to bed and reduced to just bones and skin. Sheâ€™d keep crying, â€˜Mujhe zinda rehna hai, mujhe marna nahin hai, doctor kab ilaaj nikalenge?â€™ (I want to live; I donâ€™t want to die.When will the doctors will find a cure?)â€
Ashok Kumar defended his brother Kishore in aÂ FilmfareÂ interview: â€œMadhubala suffered a lot and her illness made her very bad-tempered. She often fought with Kishore, and would take off to her fatherâ€™s house where she spent most of her time.â€
Madhu said about Madhubalaâ€™s eventual demise, â€œThough Bhaijan (Dilip) never visited her when she was unwell, he flew down from Madras to pay his last respects at the kabrastan (cemetery). Food was sent from his home to ours for three days. I remember when Bhaijan married Saira Banu (22 year old ingÃ©nue and half his age) in 1966, Apa was sad because she loved him. Sheâ€™d say, â€˜Unke naseeb mein woh (Saira Banu) thi, main nahinâ€™. But sheâ€™d also say, â€˜Heâ€™s got married to a very pretty girl. Sheâ€™s so devoted. Iâ€™m very happy for him.â€™ But a vacuum remained in her heart.
A few years back her tomb was demolished as it was in a Wahabi (a Muslim sect that doesnâ€™t allow building of tombs) cemetery. They wiped away the last memories of a legend.â€™â€™
On March 18, 2008, a commemorative postage stamp featuring Madhubala was issued by India Post in a limited edition presentation pack. It was launched by her yesteryear actorsÂ NimmiÂ andÂ Manoj KumarÂ in a ceremony attended by colleagues, friends and surviving members of Madhubalaâ€™s family.
Dilip Kumar went on to achieve a legendary film career. The government of India awarded him with theÂ Padma Bhushan (third highest civilian award)Â in 1991,the Dadasaheb Phalke (highest award in cinema) in 1994 and theÂ Padma Vibhushan (second highest civilian award)Â in 2015 forÂ his achievements in Indian cinema. In 1998, the government of Pakistan awarded him theÂ Nishan-e-Pakistan, (the countryâ€™s highest civilian award) making him only the second Indian to receive this honour. Now at a frail 93, Dilip lives a retired with his wife Saira.