Had she been alive, she would have turned 78 on Valentine’s Day today. Tragically enough, actor Madhubala died nine days after her 35th birthday, craving for true love and companionship from the men she had loved. Her youngest sister, 65-year-old Madhur Bhushan pledges to bring out her elder sister’s biography next year.
“I’m tired of reading fake stories about my sister’s life. Someone writes my father and sister were paupers. Someone else writes she was made to stand on streets, and sell water in pots in return for money. I want to put an end to all this, and chronicle my sister’s life the way it was. I’m looking for a writer. Also, I’m collecting everything I possibly can to put into the book,” says Madhur. “I’ll bring it out next year.”
She recalls recent articles written on her deceased sister and father, and admits she finds them in bad taste. “My father, a sixth-class pass Pathan, and father of 10 kids, came to Mumbai with a few rupees in his pocket. We were a poor but dignified family. We earned our living with odd jobs. And eventually, we rose to the status that we have today,” reminisces Madhur, adding, “Abba was protective of his daughters. He came to this city only because someone had assured him that Madhu aapa was talented enough to make it big in the movies. And after they died, people said that my father was a tyrant and my sister a beggar. What a shame!”
Madhur was the one who was with Madhubala during the last nine years of her life, when she was struggling with a heart ailment. The actor was told that she wouldn’t live for more than two years. At that point, she had just been married to singer-actor Kishore Kumar, who was crazily in love with her.
“Madhu aapa couldn’t believe what the doctors said because she had no symptoms. But, in about 18 months, she showed signs. Kishore left her at our home because he was too tied up to look after her,” she says with tears in her eyes. “My sister survived for nine years on her will power, every single day longing to be with Kishore. I spent most of my growing up years seeing her die, day by day. But in those last moments on February 23, I couldn’t even speak to her and that hounds me even today.”
The 65-year-old also recalls getting extra attention in school thanks to her sister’s stardom. “My classmates would give me their books to get her autographs,” Madhur says, adding, “She was a lively person and didn’t deserve to be left alone.”
The only time Madhur had been to her sister’s sets is when she was shooting for the Mughal-E-Azam (1960) song Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya…. “I had taken my school friends along. She ensured we were seated nicely and fed. It was a beautiful set but after a while, the retakes became boring for us, and we left,” she says, adding, “That was one of her last movies with Dilip Kumar, whom she had been in love with for nine years. Whatever transpired between them was sad. She had to leave him because he refused to apologise to my father. Eventually, she married someone she thought loved her. But even he left her alone when she needed him the most. In a 35-year-life, she craved for love and died waiting for it.”