Madhubala and Dilip Kumar were amongst the most celebrated actors of their time. While Madhubala was the beauty queen of Bollywood, Dilip Kumar was one of the superstars that ruled the film fraternity during that era. Though the two have given many hits during their filmy tenure one film that made fans go gaga over the intense chemistry of Madhubala-Dilip Kumar was K Asif's Mughal-e-Azam.
But just as this movie, their real-life love story came to an end due to a war between the lovers and their respective families. A romance which began in the early 50s died a slow death by the beginning of 1960s, sometime after the release of Mughal-e-Azam. For years, people speculated the real reason behind their breakup but couldn't find one.
Years later, Madhubala's sister Madhur Brij Bhushan expressed her desire to bring the real story of the iconic diva on the big screen and revealed the dark secrets of her relationship with Dilip Kumar. Let's take you on a journey that has love, pain, ego, and ultimately, heartbreak.
The 'Tarana' of the Madhubala-Dilip Kumar love story
Madhubala was hands down one of the most beautiful actresses of her time. Seeing her beauty, the shy and reserved Dilip Kumar couldn't help but fall head over heels for her on the sets of Tarana in 1951. Dilip Kumar poured his heart out in his autobiography, 'Dilip Kumar: The Substance And The Shadow', revealing how he fell in love with Madhubala.
"I must admit that I was attracted to her (Madhubala) both as a fine co-star and as a person who had some of the attributes I hoped to find in a woman at that age and time...She, as I said earlier, was very sprightly and vivacious and, as such, she could draw me out of my shyness and reticence effortlessly."
He went on to explain that Madhubala not made him feel alive but also filled the void by being the spirited woman that she was. He wrote, "She filled a void that was crying out to be filled, not by an intellectually sharp woman but a spirited woman whose liveliness and charm was the ideal panacea."
Madhubala and Dilip Kumar Marriage
Madhubala and Dilip fell in love on the sets of Tarana and their love blossomed as they did three more movies together. Madhubala's sister revealed that after dating for nine long years, Dilip finally sent his sister with a wedding proposal to his lady love's house.
"It was a nine-year-long affair. They even got engaged. Unki apa aayee thi, chunni lekar (his sister had come with a chunni as is the custom). Bhaijan was also a Pathan. Apa and Bhaijan looked made for each other. He often came to our home. The two would go for a drive or sit in the room and talk," Madhur told Filmfare.
But reportedly, Madhubala's father was against this union and was the primary reason behind their breakup. Although as per Madhubala's sister, it wasn't her dad's disapproval but a court case that led to differences between the couple.
When 'law' came between 'love'
Madhur revealed that it was Dilip Kumar's ego and not her dad's approval that destroyed the relationship. "The breakup with Dilip Kumar happened due to the court case during Naya Daur in the mid-'50s. The unit was to shoot somewhere in Gwalior. During the shooting of another film Jabeen Jaleel, at the same location, a mob had attacked the women and even torn their clothes off."
"My father was wary and just asked that the locale be changed. Bhaijan called my father 'a dictator' in court and sided with the Chopras (the late BR Chopra was the director)," Madhur added.
Madhubala's sister then went to disclose that "Darare padh gayee, rishtey toot gaye (relationships were broken). We love and respect Bhaijan but I have just one question, 'Aapki mohabbat yahan thi, aapki chahat yahan thi, phir aapne aisa kyun kiya (why didn't you side with your love)?'"
Dilip Kumar's ego ruined the relationship: Madhur
"Bhaijan could've simply said let's change the location. Or remained neutral. Apa used to cry a lot those days. They had conversations on the phone trying to patch up. He kept saying, 'Leave your father and I'll marry you'. She'd say, 'I'll marry you but just come home, say sorry and hug him', said Madhubala's sister.
Madhur added "It was zidd (ego) which destroyed their love. But my father never asked her to break the engagement or ever demanded an apology from him."
But Dilip Kumar has a different take on the same as he disclosed in his book that Madhubala's dad was trying to make a business deal out of their relationship.
Marriage was a business deal for Madhubala's dad
Dilip was not ready to give into Ataullah Khan's dictates and strategies and stood up for what he believed in. He said, "When I learnt about his plans from Madhu, I explained to both of them that I had my own way of functioning and selecting projects and I would not show any laxity even if it were my own production house. It must have tilted the apple cart for him and he successfully convinced Madhu that I was being rude and presumptuous."
"I told her in all sincerity and honesty that I did not mean any offence and it was in her interest and mine as artistes to keep our professional options away from any personal considerations. She was naturally inclined to agree with her father and she persisted in trying to convince me that it would all be sorted out once we married," Dilip added.
By the time they broke up, Dilip and Madhubala had already started shooting for Mughal-e-Azam. Kumar, in his autobiography, revealed that the two had almost stopped speaking to each other when most of the film was being shot. He said, "My instincts, however, predicted a situation in which I would be trapped and all the hard work and dedication I had invested in my career would be blown away by a hapless surrender to someone else's dictates and strategies."
"In the circumstances, therefore, it seemed best that we did not decide to marry or even give each other a chance to rethink because my resolve by then had become strongly against a union that would not be good for either of us," said Dilip.
And just like that, under the pressure of society, families, and egos, another great relationship came to a tragic end. Later, while Dilip Kumar married actress Saira Banu, Madhubala married the legendary singer Kishore Kumar. But till her last breath, nothing could fill the void in Madhubala's heart left by Dilip Kumar.