Remembering Indian Venus Queen Madhubala

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By Amjad Pervez

Part III

A storm breaks out and Shyam lets Leela spend the night at his place after which they fall in love. A little later, Leela gets acquainted with a Rani (queen) (Durga Khote). After Leela leaves Shyam’s place, she takes refuge with the Rani at her house. The widowed Rani’s only son, the musically talented Kumar (Premnath), falls in love with Leela. For the sake of her son’s happiness, Rani wanted Leela to become her daughter in law. However, Leela tells them that she is in love with Shyam and both Kumar and his mother end up accepting this hard fact. Through Rani, Leela even manages to get a painting of Shyam’s entered in a competition through which Shyam attains fame. Leela and Shyam decide to travel to Shyam’s village to have their wedding. But just as Leela is about to join Shyam, she is kidnapped in front of the Rani’s house by a former suitor from whom she had been running away, and who wants to force Leela to marry him and keeps her prisoner. It turns out later that while trying to prevent the kidnapping, Kumar was seriously hurt.

At one point, Leela almost manages to escape her dungeon with the help of a kind-hearted underling of the main villain. After he recaptures Leela, on his own initiative, the villainous suitor arranges a bizarre and inexplicably idiotic meeting between Leela and Shyam to let them take a final leave of one another, at a restaurant where Leela and Shyam had usually been going, and where the owner is a friend of theirs. At that meeting, the villains are overpowered by Shyam, Kumar and others. During the struggle Kumar is shot and wounded. The police arrive to take the overpowered villains into custody. Kumar tells his mother that his wound will heal.

The film ‘Badal’ featured Madhubala and Premnath in lead roles. The film has the hit song “Do Din Ke Liye Mehman” and ‘Un Sei Pyar Ho Gaya’ sung by Lata Mangeshkar. She was the classic fair lady in the adventurer’s role played by Prem Nath as Badal.There were rumours of flirtation with Prem Nath who backed out at the nick of time after watching Dilip Kumar’s deep involvement with Madhubala.

In their 1962 book Self-Portrait, Harish Booch and Karing Doyle commented that “Unlike other stars, Madhubala preferred a veiled secrecy around her and was seldom seen in social gatherings or public functions” and went on to say that “Contrary to general belief, Madhubala was rather simple and unassuming”. This is echoed in her sister’s interview with Filmfare: “(Madhubala) became a craze because she was never seen in public. She wasn’t allowed to attend any function, any premiere. She had no friends. But she never resisted, she was obedient. Being protective, my father earned the reputation of being domineering”. Dilip Kumar added: “She was extremely popular… and I think the only star for which people thronged outside the gates. Very often when shooting was over, there’d be a vast crowd standing at the gates just to have a look at Madhu. It wasn’t so for anyone else. That was her personal effect on fans. Dilip Kumar and Madhubala first met on the set of Jwar Bhata when she was 11 years of age, and worked together again on the film Har Singaar (1949), which was shelved.

Her personality was vivacious.” But, “She was aware of her beauty,” reminisces BK Karanjia, former Filmfare editor and a close friend of both Madhubala and her father, “and 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.

“Dev Anand recalled in a similar way: “She liked to flirt innocently and was great fun.” However, with Dilip Kumar she had a long association.

In his biography, The Mystery and Mystique of Madhubala, freelance journalist and author, Mohan Deep wrote: 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. She married film’Chalti Ka Naam Gaari’ co-star Kishore Kumar in 1960. Together they had worked in films such as Dhake Ki Malmal (1956), Chalti Ka Naam Gaari (1958), Jhumroo (1961) and Half Ticket (1962). He used to crack jokes and made her laugh. It was a bad choice as he abandoned her with her sister and would visit her once in two months. The marriage lasted from 1960 to 1969 on paper. He had turned into Muslim with the name Karim Abdul. In the hearts of hearts both had not changed their religion.

Sangdil was a great movie, the second one of Madhubala-Dilip Kumar pair.

It was based on adaptation by writer Ramanand Sagar of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. This film was produced and directed by RC Talwar. This was one of the best romantic films I have seen in my life. Music by Sajjad Hussain and lyrics by Rajinder Krishen are superb. Talat Mahmud’s ‘Yei Hawa Yei Raat Yei Chandni’ with vamp Shammi playing Sitar and flirting with Thakur (Dilip) is an amazing sequence. Here Dilip is shown as a lost soul. Lata croons ‘Woh Tau Chale Gaye Aei Dil Yaad Sei Un Ki Pyar Kar’ filmed on Madhubala watching Dilip (Shankar) leaving for an errand is superb. By now she and recognized her childhood lost friend Shankar but he had not. When Shankar recognizes her to be his childhood beloved the couple unites and croon one of the most melodious duets of its time ‘Dil Main Sama Gaye Sajjan’ sung by Lata and Talat Mahmud.

Basically childhood sweethearts had been separated. They grew up in different circumstances. The girl is brought up to be a ‘pujaaran’ (priestess) while the boy grows up to be a dejected ‘thakur’, turned vindictive by life’s injustices. Fate inevitably brings them together at a later juncture, and all seems happy and perfect for the young couple, until she discovers his deep, dark secret that Thakur was already married to a mad lady, a role admirably played by Kuldip Kaur with her brother Anwar Hussain’s support.

Amar, according to Wikipedia was a psychological drama, exploring a violent act between the main characters and the crisis of conscience that rocks them. A prosperous, well-respected lawyer (Dilip Kumar), in love with and engaged to a young woman (Madhubala), rapes a poor local village woman Nimmi). The rest of the story deals with the aftermath of this tragic event, with all the inevitable undercurrents of guilt, penitence and pervasive heartbreak that stem from it. It directed and produced by Mehboob Khan and starred Dilip Kumar, Madhubala, Nimmi and Jayant. The rest of the story deals with the aftermath of this tragic event, will all the inevitable undercurrents of guilt, penitence and pervasive heart break that stems from it. Despite excellent plot, music by Naushad and outstanding portrayal of the village girl Nimmi, this film failed to perform well at box office. It perhaps was too mature a theme for the cinema goers of that era. The same fate was met by A. R. Kardar’s ‘Dil Diya Dard Liya’ years later on, which was an adaptation of Wuthering Heights.

To be continued next week.

(The writer is the recipient of the prestigious Pride of Performance award. He can be reached at doc_amjad@hotmail.com)