As a born lover who has lived all my life living in love, I think I have the right to ask the Creator of love why true lovers have to go through both the ecstasy and the agony of love... Ali Peter John

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As a born lover who has lived all my life living in love, I think I have the right to ask the Creator of love why true lovers have to go through both the ecstasy and the agony of love. Why did Romeo and Juliet have to suffer so much? Why did Heer and Ranjha have to go through the pangs of love? Why did Sohini and Mahiwal have to bear the humiliation of the world to keep their love alive? And why did Saleem and Anarkali have to fight so many difficult battles to make their love immortal? These are just a few of the divine lovers or as they are called legendary lovers, but what about the lakhs of lovers who have and still love the same way as these lovers but are not noticed or written about? 

Today is Valentine's Day and lovers all over are celebrating their love in different ways, but I am sitting here alone and I am thinking about one great lover who could love as intensely as true love is supposed to be, whose love went unfulfilled and unrequited. The name the whole world knows by now is Madhubala who was also known as Venus, the God of love and the queen of beauty. 

Madhubala was not only Madhubala. She was born as Mumtaz (which also means love ) in a lower middle-class Muslim family in Delhi. The financial condition of her family brought her to Bombay. Mumtaz didn't have a formal education and her beauty caught the attention of some filmmakers she got her first break as a child artist with the name Baby Mumtaz and by the time she was in her teens, she was a leading lady and then they say there was no stopping her. 

It was the well-known director Kidar Sharma who had made stars out of K.L. Saigal and Raj Kapoor among others who gave her the name Madhubala and little did Kidar Sharma know that the name Madhubala was to create history and grow immortal. 

Madhubala was known for many other talents that she worked wonders in her life, but the one dominant thing was falling in love and losing in love. It was her pristine beauty and especially her face which many believed and said was a reflection of God's grace ( khudah ka noor) and glory. Men fell in love with her at first sight, but if there was one lover who loved her like very few lovers could have, it was Dilip Kumar. They were the leading pair in Taraana, they grew into admirers and finally into the kind of lovers very rarely seen or heard of. The love story kept growing and spreading its fragrance. One has to only see the one love sequence of the film, Taraana in which they look into the eyes of each other and,  even if you are not a lover, you will or your heart will dance with love. 

The love story continued for some years and took a maddening turn with their teaming up as Saleem and Anarkali in Mughal-e-Azam, the story of a prince falling in love with a slave - woman (daasi). However, like all great lovers, they too had to face a storm. Madhubala was to be teamed with Dilip Kumar again in Naya Daur which was to be made by B.R. Chopra even while Mughal-e-Azam was being made ( Mughal-e-Azam was made during a span of 14 years). Madhubala's father Ataullah Khan who made all the decisions about her career had a whiff of the romance between her daughter and "the tragedy king " and didn't want his daughter to get too close to her lover. Chopra wanted to shoot in Poona, but Khan put his foot down and told Chopra he would not send his daughter to Poona for the shoot of Naya Daur. This led to an ugly situation that ended up in court and the industry was shocked when Dilip Kumar openly stood by  Chopra and gave evidence against Khan and his daughter. Madhubala was caught between the love of her father and the love of her life, Dilip Kumar and she opted for her father. That was the beginning and the end of what could have been one of the greatest love stories. It is extremely difficult to believe that Dilip Kumar and Madhubala did the most intimate love scenes in Mughal-e-Azam when they were lovers who had broken up on a bitter note.  Can you imagine that one of the greatest love scenes of Anarakali lying in the lap of Salim with her eyes closed in ecstasy and Salim running a feather on her face to show his love for her was shot when the true lovers in real life were not even on talking terms? The two actors who had done 8 films together brought their story to a sad end and never worked together again. They had created history again while they were in love and even after they lost out on love. And the reasons for what led to the breakup is still being discussed after half a century...


Dilip Kumar however was not the first actor to fall for the beauty of the heart and soul of Madhubala. The first young and new actor who was smitten by her was Shammi Kapoor who has gone on record to say how he fell in love with her at first sight during the shooting of 'Rail Ka Dibba'. He even confessed that he used to forget his lines and stammer when Madhubala came before his eyes. It was only when Shammi knew that she was too big a star that he could even think about falling in love with her, and forget to marry her. It was difficult to give up his love for her but he had no choice. 

The other actor who was crazily attracted to her was Premnath, but this love story ended fast, especially when Premnath realized that Madhubala was in love with his friend Dilip Kumar. 

I come to the end of the story by describing how the story of a lover like Madhubala with a heart (dil) also ended in a heartless way decided by the Creator of love (?) Soon after the end of the love story with Dilip Kumar, Madhubala took a "strange " decision to marry the singer, actor  and filmmaker   Kishore Kumar who had worked with her in his own film Chalti ka naam gaadi and in another film called Half Ticket. Kishore had heard stories about Madhubala not being well and suffering from a rare heart disease but he still married her (it was his second marriage). This marriage appeared to be a very happy marriage till the couple flew to London for their honeymoon and the doctors there diagnosed a hole in her heart which they said would give her just two more years to live. It was during these two years that Kishore Kumar made sure that he gave her all the happiness, but that couldn't be a cure for the hole in her heart. The most beautiful woman was in bed for more than 9 years and none of her lovers or any of her directors visited her and when she was in pain she kept crying "mujhe marna nahi hai , mujhe marna nahi hai". She was only 36 years old when she took her last breath and I wonder what thoughts about love and life must have crossed her mind during those last few breaths of her life.


I have been visting her grave at the Juhu kabristaan which is well kept, but not many or no one comes to visit her, I think it is because the dead are of no use to the living . And one of her favourite songs plays in my mind which says "guzra hua zamaana aata nahi dobaara, haafiz khuda tumhara" and everytime I hear this song I feel like telling Madhubala,"aana hoga, aana hoga iss zamaane mein naa sahi,  kisi aur zamaane mein, iss jahaan mein nahi toh kisi aur jahaan mein."

Kya Madhubala meri awaaz sunegi ? Kya khoobsurti ki mallika meri duaa qubool karegi, mere liye nahi sahi toh zamaane ke liye jo mohabbat ke bina marr rahi hai?

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