Book Review: Madhubala

For many youngsters today, Madhubala might be the name of a television serial that did not work, or just a name that is taken in passing, when we speak of the golden age of Bollywood. Very few people today would know that Madhubala was, and is still considered to be one of the most beautiful women to have ever graced the screen. This is the complete review of the book Madhubala – I don’t want to die, written by Manju Gupta.

The biography Madhubala is an important part of Indian culture and the glorious past of Indian cinema, as it is one of the few books that speaks of Madhubala the actress as well as the person, and tries to find answers of questions in her personal and professional life.

The book has quotes from the peers, family members and persons closely related to Madhubala, and could be considered to be a balanced story of the sequence of events that led to the final moments of Madhubala, one of the first women who made their presence felt in Hollywood too.

The book discusses in detail Madhubala’s personal life, and more importantly the men in her life. While the book succeeds in creating a picture of the person that Madhubala was, but what is missing is a detailed journey of Mumtaz Jehan to Madhubala, the breathtakingly beautiful lady, whose love affair with Dilip Kumar is said to be that what legends are made of.

The life of the book are the impromptu quotes that Madhu’s contemporaries have provided, and the detailed talk that the book writer has had with Dilip Kumar and his erstwhile wife, Saira Banu.

For anyone wishing to research about Bollywood in the twenties through the fifties, the book does provide relevant and valuable information, but should be considered to be just a primer. Of course, no book can do justice to wade through thirty years of Indian cinema, but Madhubala provides just a small glimpse of the life of times of what could be the world’s most beautiful actress and an age bygone of Indian cinema.

The book takes pains to recreate in the reader’s mind all the situations and the scenarios that a young Madhubala might have gone through in her life.

This is a must read for anyone who’d like to know more about Bollywood back in the golden era, and of course, for those who’d like to have a intimate read of Madhubala, the face that none forgets.

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