Madhur Bhushan: I will not give up my dream of making a biographical film about Madhubala
He says Madhur Bhushan , Madhubala The younger sister, who gives us an idea of the iconic star's life and talks about her passion project, a biographical film about her sister ...
Paeans have been written about her ethereal beauty and stardom, and odes dedicated to her spirit and passion for life. And yet, destiny was such that her beautiful life was laced with tragedy. At 36, after a nine-year battle with illness, she succumbed to death. Days after her 52nd death anniversary (February 23), Madhur Bhushan (originally Zahida), reminisces moments from her sister’s far too short life, and talks about why Madhubala’s story needs to be told.
She says: “Although she is remembered for her classic beauty, there was much more to her than her beauty. I want to do something for her before she dies. She continues to rule millions of hearts and her story needs to be told.
However, Madhur’s dream of making this biopic hit a roadblock after her other siblings raised an objection over it. Reportedly, filmmaker Imtiaz Ali who had procured the rights from her for the biopic earlier, recently terminated the contract because of the same reason. But Madhur is not ready to give up on it, yet. “As of now, the biopic has come to a halt because my sisters have objected to it. I find it strange that they don't want this to materialize… humne uska (Madhubala) namak khaaya hai. Usne apne behnon ko paala hain, ”she says, adding,“ With the help of my spiritual guru, Arvind Kumar Malviya, who’s idea this was, I want to make this biopic. ”
Madhur also plans to write a biography on her sister and title it ‘Nine Years of Madhubala’.
She always told our father, Abba, mujhe filmon mein jaana hai
‘It was written in her fate ... becoming an actress,’ says Madhur, recounting the turn of events that made a nine-year-old Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi land in Bollywood. From Baby Mumtaz to Madhubala, her journey could only be described as that of a dance of destiny. She made her acting debut as a child artiste at the age of nine with 'Basant' (1942) and her first appearance as a lead actress was at 13, when she starred opposite Raj Kapoor in 'Neel Kamal' (1947). It wasn't long before, she became a star and a sensation. Madhur continues, “Madhu aapa was a cute little girl. She would sing, and dance in front of the mirror. She always told our dad (Ataullah Khan), ‘Abba, mujhe filmon mein jaana hai’. However, our father was averse to it because of his conservative background and the belief that girls should not join the industry. But life had plans of its own. Our father lost his job, and eventually, we had to move to Mumbai to survive. At one point, he relented to her wishes and started doing the rounds of studios with her. However, I've never dreamt that she would become such a big star. ”
With 'Mahal' (1949), he captured the imagination of Bollywood. She became a star, overnight. I was about 16 years old then. So, did things change at home with this new stardom? Never, Madhur rushes to point out, and adds: We often feel, my God, she is so beautiful. How can we sit by your side? She reassured us by saying things like, Principal actress hoon na, isliye log mujhe mudd mudd kar dekhte hain. Tum actress bann jaoge toh tumhe bhi log mudkar mudkar dekhenge. She never made us feel less. She was such a loving daughter and an equally good sister. Unfortunately, those people who mistreated her or left her alone.
She never felt that she was a star and did not behave as such
To the outside world, she was an enigma, a mystery. People even said she was an inmate, but what was eternal beauty like in real life? Madhur gets nostalgic as he takes us on a journey down the memory lane. “Hum logon ke saath toh bohot hello masti karti thi - kabhi baal kaat diya, kabhi kuchh kar diya. He loved to drink ice cream and enjoyed listening to music. I would even go to theaters to watch movies with a burkha. If you had met her, aapko aisa lagta hello nahi ki yeh actress hain. He never felt that he was a star and did not behave as such. She wouldn't wear any makeup; I didn't need to do it because it was so pretty. He only dressed in white and tied his hair in a simple bun when he didn't shoot. Madhu aapa did not need to get ready, since my father did not allow him to attend parties. He had told her: ‘Maine izzat bohot mushkil se kamaayi hai, Madhu. Judicial cases jeeta hoon tum bachhiyon ki izzat ke liye. Mera baad koi tum par unlgi nahi utha sakta saying that they were dhandhewali chokris and that his father was exploiting them. My sister always respected him. She was a gharelu ladki, ”says Madhur.
It was very easy to link her with men because she was so beautiful
With beauty and fame came rumors of her linkups, controversies and heartbreaks. Following a courtship of nine years with Dilip Kumar, the couple endured an ugly break-up and Madhubala finally married Kishore kumar in 1960. Madhur says: People have written about their adventure with Kamal Amrohi. Baahar jaane ko milta nahin toh affair kaise hoga? Woh toh Dilip Kumar sahab ke saath itni films mein kaam kiya, waise mulaqaat hui aur pyaar ho gaya. She worked with Kishore kumar sahab in 'Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi' (1958) and 'Half Ticket' (1962), toh pyaar hua. It was very easy to link her with men because she was so beautiful. Prem Nath wanted to marry her, but she told him that our father wouldn’t allow it, because we were Pathans. She was not the kind to have frivolous relationships.”
The legendary romance with Dilip Kumar
However, the highlight of her love life remains her relationship with Dilip Kumar, which made headlines then and continues to pique eveyone’s interest to date. Most believed that the two of them would tie the knot, but sadly, it was not to be. Was it a misunderstanding, a clash of egos or love gone sour? In the Bollywood thespian, Dilip Kumar’s autobiography, which was published in 2014, it has been stated that things soured between them during the making of ' Mughal-E-Azam '. He declared: I felt that Asif (filmmaker) was seriously trying to fix the situation for her when things began to sour between us, thanks to her father's attempt to make the proposed marriage a commercial enterprise. Speaking of her bittersweet love saga, Madhur remembers: Dilip sahab and Madhu aapa were shooting for ' Naya Daur '(1957, Vyjayanthimala was cast in her place ultimately). The makers had scheduled an outdoor shoot (the location was where a previous shoot was attacked by dacoits), and our father was not willing to allow her to shoot at that location. I have feared for my sister’s safety. I asked them to zero in on an alternate location, but BR Chopra (producer) sahab didn’t budge. That’s when Dilip sahab got involved. His only mistake was that he stood by the producer. Finally, BR Chopra filed a case against my father, which went on for four months, jiske dauraan we heard people say ulti-seedhi cheezein about my father. They called him a dictator and that he wanted to dominate my sister. Finally, the case was resolved, and later, Dilip sahab came home and told Madhu aapa to complete the film, and post that, they could get married. But my sister wanted him to apologize to our father. I have flatly refused. We have nothing against him. Had he apologized to my father, aapa would have been Mrs Dilip Kumar. She had immense gratitude for our father, and she couldn’t just let it go. ”
‘Imagine telling a 27-year-old girl that she only has two years to live. We were all in shock!
It was in 1960, while shooting for a film in South, that Madhubala spat blood. She flew to London the next day, along with her husband, Kishore kumar . “We were not aware that she had a hole in her heart. When the doctor said that she had a hole in her heat and the operation won’t be successful, we were all in shock! Imagine a young girl of 27 being told that she had just two years to live. She consulted several doctors in India and they confirmed her worst fears. She was advised to take a break, but she had films lined up. She completed a song and a few scenes in ' Mughal-E-Azam ' (1960) in that condition. It took about nine years to complete the film and that was the phase when she was suffering. In all those years, she rarely met anybody from the industry, barring Geeta Dutt and Waheeda Rehman. She didn’t want anyone to see her in that state. I was with her through the last few years of her life. I would sleep in the same bed with her.”
‘She loved the song Rula Ke Gaya Sapna Mera. She felt that she encapsulated her life
It was a life too beautiful, cut too short. Madhur reveals, “You know… She loved the song Rula Ke Gaya Sapna Mera ('Jewel Thief', 1967). She felt that it encapsulated her life. She would wait every day for the doctors to tell her that they had discovered a cure for her. She wanted to live. I believe that love heals. Yes, we can’t change destiny, but if she had received more love from the people who she loved so much, then I think she would have had more strength to fight her battle for life, longer. ” Did Madhubala get a chance to interact with Dilip Kumar during the last days of her life? Madhur says, “He once went to see her at the hospital. She sent him a message through someone that she wanted to see him, and he came over to see her. This was before his marriage. Later, I came for the funeral. He immediately flew down from Madras (where he was shooting) when learnt that Madhubala was very critical. But he was late by two hours ... she was buried by then. ”
I will not give up my dream of making a biographical film about her
Though she is remembered for her classic beauty, Madhur says that there was so much more to Madhubala than her beauty. She believes that the story of her undying zest for life, fierce loyalty towards her family and quiet courage in matters of the heart, needs to be told to a nation that hailed her the Venus of Bollywood. However, Madhur’s dream has not taken off because her other siblings are not willing to give their consent. But she is not ready to give up on it, yet. She says, With the help of my spiritual guru, Arvind Kumar Malviya, I am keen to make the biopic, as it was his idea. Along with her guru, she also plans to set up an old-age home and a school for young girls in Jodhpur. “Madhu aapa would always tell my father,‘ Abba, jab hamare paas bahut paisa aayega na, toh hum log school banaayenge chhoti ladkiyon ke liye. ”She didn’t get formal education herself and this was her dream.