Dubbed, the Marilyn Monroe of Bollywood, Madhubala was born as Mumtaz Jehan Dehlavi on February 14, 1933, in Delhi, India.
Known for her legendary beauty and her coquettish charm, Madhubala started her film career at the age of 9 and worked in approximately 70 films, only 15 of which were box office hits.
When she was 14, she got her first lead role opposite Raj Kapoor in Neel Kamal (1947) and it was her last film which credited her with her original name Mumtaz.
Actress Devika Rani, who spotted Dilip Kumar and helped him become an actor, had suggested her to assume the screen name 'Madhubala'
Theater Arts, an American Magazine, was bold enough to confer Madhubala with the title of being ‘The Biggest Star in the World!”. A rare honor that the beauty held even though she had never visited Beverly Hills.
Madhubala was romantically involved with actor Dilip Kumar, whom she first met on the film sets of Jwar Bhata but the two got in love while shooting for their film Tarana, two years later.
Not one to go against her father’s wishes, film chroniclers of the time say that it was her father’s strong opposition to her affair with Dilip that caused a breakup.
Dilip Kumar is said to have openly confessed his love for her in the courtroom by saying, “I shall always love her until the day she dies”.
Madhubala and Dilip Kumar were not close any more while shooting of Mughal-e-Azam, considered to be the biggest love saga of all time!
Unable to achieve her love and losing all hope of marrying Dilip Kumar, in retaliation Madhubala hurriedly married Kishore Kumar, who converted to Islam and took up the name Karim Abdul.
Madhubala had a ventricular septal defect disorder, also referred to as a hole in the heart. The ailment was detected while she was shooting for Bahut Din Huwe in Madras in 1954.
According to her sister, 'due to her ailment, her body would produce extra blood. So it would spill out from the 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. She was confined to bed for nine years and was reduced to just bones and skin.'
Despite being gravely ill, Madhubala was all prepared to make her directorial debut in 1969, with a movie named ‘Farz Aur Ishq’. Sadly, the movie could not hit the floor, as she finally succumbed to illness before that.
She passed away on February 23, 1969, shortly after celebrating her 36th birthday. Madhubala was buried at the Santa Cruz Muslim cemetery along with her personal diary.
She is also considered to be one of the most beautiful actresses to have worked in the industry, and is highly regarded as "The Venus of Indian Cinema" and "The Beauty with Tragedy".