>Bollywood fillm Actress Madhubala as a Star

5 Jun

>Madhubala had many successful films following Mahal With pressure to secure herself and her family financially she acted in as many as twenty-four films in the first four years of her adult career. Consequently critics of the time commented that Madhubalas beauty was greater than her acting ability This was in part due to careless choices in film roles As sole support of her family she accepted work in any film causing her credibility as a dramatic actress to be seriously compromised. Something she later expressed regret over

She did have aspirations to appear in more prestigious films with challenging roles. Bimal Roys Biraj Bahu (1954) being a case in point. Madhubala having read the novel, was desperate to secure the lead in the film adaptation. Assuming she would command her market price one of the highest Bimal Roy passed her over in favour of a then, struggling Kamini Kaushal. When Madhubala learned that this was a factor in her losing the part, she lamented the fact that she would have performed in the film for a fee of one rupee. Such was her desire to improve her image as a serious actress

As a star Madhubala did ascend to the top of the industry. Her co-stars at the time were the most popular of the period: Ashok Kumar, Raj Kapoor Rehman, Pradeep Kumar Shammi Kapoor Dilip Kumar Sunil Dutt and Dev Anand. Madhubala also appeared alongside many notable leading ladies of the time including Kamini Kaushal, Suraiya, Geeta Bali, Nalini Jaywant and Nimmi. The directors she worked with were amongst the most prolific and respected: Mehboob Khan (Amar), Guru Dutt (Mr. Mrs 55 Kamal Amrohi (Mahal) and K. Asif (Mughal-e-Azam) . She also ventured into production and made the film Naata (1955) which she also acted in.

During the 1950s Madhubala proved herself a versatile performer in starring roles, in almost every genre of film being made at the time. She was the archetypal lady fair in the popular swashbuckler Badal (1951) and was next seen as an uninhibitted village belle in Tarana (1951) She was convincing as the traditional ideal of Indian womanhood in Sangdil (1952) and was well received in a comic performance as the spoilt heiress, Anita in Guru Dutts classic satire Mr. & Mrs. 55 (1955) In 1956 she had success in historical costume dramas such as Shirin-Farhad and Raj-Hath. Equally successful in contemporary characterizations she was memorable in a double role in the social film Kal Hamara Hai (1959) Madhubala played the cigarette smoking dancer Bella, and her more conventional saintly sister Madhu.

Suddenly in the mid-1950s her films, even major ones like Mehboob Khan’s Amar (1954) fared so badly commercially that she was labelled Box Office Poison”. She turned her career around in 1958 with a string of hit films: Howrah Bridge opposite Ashok Kumar featured Madhubala in the unusual role of an Anglo-Indian Cabaret singer embroiled in Calcuttas Chinatown underworld. She made a big impact with a daring for the time Westernized image with her cascading locks, deep cut blouses fitted Capri pants and tailored Chinese dresses. Madhubalas sensuous torch song from the film, Aye Meherebaan, dubbed by Asha Bhosle was a popular hit with audiences and is widely quoted and celebrated to this day Howrah Bridge was followed by Phagun opposite Bharat Bhushan Kalapani opposite Dev Anand, the perennial hit Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi opposite her would-be-husband, Kishore Kumar and Barsaat Ki Raat (1960) opposite Bharat Bhushan again

In 1960, she consolidated these successes, and her super-star status when she went on to appear in the epic mega-budget historical Mughal-e-Azam. This film is widely perceived to be the crowning glory of her career and perhaps the decade of filmmaking in India

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