New Delhi: Khatija Akbar's book 'I want to live' – The Story of Madhubala is the first biography of one of Hindi cinema's most versatile and beautiful actresses. The book scripts the riveting saga of love, passion, heartbreak, betrayal and the struggle in Madhubala's young life.
Madhubala was the lead in iconic cinemas such as Mahal, Mr and Mrs 55, Tarana, Chalti Ka Naam Gadi and Mughal-e-Azam. Published by Hay House Publishers (India) Pvt Ltd and priced at Rs 399, the book reveals the woman behind the actor.
Here are some lesser known facts about Madhubala:
*By 1948, Madhubala's first few films as heroine had been released among which were filmmaker Kidar Sharma's Neel Kamal (1947), NM Kelkar's Amar Prem (1948) and Mohan Sinha's Dil Ki Rani (1947), all with Raj Kapoor.
*"To be beautiful means a lot to me," she conceded once. "But not everything. Happiness comes first."
*She was the leading lady in 66 films.
*To a reader's question in 1953: A neighbour of mine can't digest his food until he sees Madhubala's photograph. What is your suggestion to him? Filmindia's veteran editor Baburao Patel, feared for his dour wit, said: Ask him to see Madhubala; he won't want food.
*Her complexion was so fair and translucent that when she ate paan you could almost see the red colour going down her throat, recollected actor Minu Mumtaz.
*Her excessive and unquestioning obedience to her father, her inability to take the right decision at the right time, and her highly emotional nature complicated her life with disastrous results.
*Madhubala's opportunities for forming close friendships were few. Due to the strict regimen she was made to follow by her father, her only exposure to her colleagues was in the studios.
*She was not seen at parties, premieres, picnics, races or during the fund raising drives in open trucks or in cricket matches and film festivals most stars frequented.
*Her father Ayatollah Khan did not encourage unduly visitors and imposed warnings and constraints on her.
*Madhubala was prone to bursts of laughter which seized her at most inopportune times. For a scene in Amar, Nimmi had to dance before Dilip Kumar and Madhubala, and a wrong step sent Madhubala into giggles. If Nimmi was hurt she did not make an issue of it. "She came to my makeup room and said she was sorry about it," Nimmi said later. With a warm hug the matter was over.
*When her dreams of marrying Dilip Kumar ended, Madhubala plunged into a highly unsuitable marriage to Kishore Kumar.
*Madhubala's real name was Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi and she was born in Delhi on February 14, 1933 to a Pathan family.
*Via Devika Rani and Rai Bahadur Chunilal's Bombay Talikes, the eight year old Madhubala, then known as Mumtaz, found herself before the cameras with a role in the phenomenal hit Basant directed by Amiya Chakravorty. Basant was released in 1942.
*She was the sole earning member of her large family. They were five sisters.
*Filmmaker Kidar Sharma made Neel Kamal that gave 14-year-old Madhubala and 22-year-old Raj Kapoor their first starring roles.
*She worked like a machine, missed a meal, travelled daily in the over-crowded third class compartments from Malad to Dadar and was never late or absent from work.
*Madhubala had started to work at a tender age and there was no time for school. She was proficient in Urdu. Pashtu was spoken at home but she could not speak a word of English.
*She was about 17 when she made up her mind to learn the language.
*She once said: I am not a spendthrift for the simple reason that I do not know what to spend money on. I do not have a passion for jewellery or clothes. I do not travel. I do not go out much. By god's grace I have all the necessities of life and I'm happy.
*Of the few relaxations, one was driving, which she had learnt at the age of 12. Driving was a pleasure and when she wanted a change she took to the wheel and went off for a drive.