Last week, the gorgeous Madhubala was immortalised when the Indian government released a stamp in her name.
We spoke to her youngest sister, Madhur Bhushan, who gave us a closer insight into Madhubala's life, her romance with Dilip Kumar, her unhappy marriage to Kishore Kumar, and her illness.
Madhur, whose real name is Zahida, is nine years younger than Madhubala. Out of 10 children, she is one of the four still alive. Over to Madhur:
On Madhubala's entry into films
My father, Ataullah Khan, was working in the Imperial Tobacco Company in Peshawar, Pakistan, when he lost his job and decided to come to Mumbai. Madhubala was seven at that time. Her real name was Mumtaz Begum. We called her Mazliappa, as she was the fifth child.
My father started looking for a job. He also took Madhubala to film studios. She got work in Basant (1942) at the age of nine. The leading lady's name was Mumtaz Shanti, so Madhubala was called Baby Mumtaz, when she was a child actress.
She got her first break in Kirdar Sharma's Neel Kamal. Kirdar's wife was supposed to play the lead role but she passed away. As Madhubala knew the dialogues, she became a heroine at the age of 13. From this film onwards, she was credited as Madhubala. The film did not do well, but her work was appreciated.
Madhubala shot to fame in 1949 with Mahal. She was 16. At that time, no one realised that she was sick, not even my father. Madhubala was a healthy child, and very bubbly.
Text: Patcy N | Madhur Bhushan's photograph: Uday Kuckian
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