Hay House India
Friday, February 13, 2015
February 14th is celebrated all over the world as Valentine’s Day. A day when each lover tries to make it the most romantic with that someone special be it over cup of coffee, movie, shopping date or romantic dinner. Valentine’s Day also reminds me of the birth anniversary of someone who bewitched all the men’s heart with a serene expression on her face. She was none other than Madhubala considered to be one of the most beautiful actresses to have once graced the screen of the Indian Film Industry.
In the biography “I Want To Live” – The Story of Madhubala the author Khatija Akbar gives the reader fascinating nuggets of information that throws new light not only on the life and times of Madhubala but also on the Golden Era of Hindi Cinema. The author has done extensive research in terms of conducting interviews with many of them who interacted with Madhubala. The story of this star is covered in the book spread across eight chapters right from her first film as a child star up to the magnificent Mughal–e–Azam bringing about not only the ‘reel life’ but also the ‘real life’ human being in her.
An interesting incident I would like to share with the readers is her professionalism and commitment towards her work. It had rained steadily all night. A heavy downpour had collapsed Bombay (now Mumbai) city. There was no power supply and train services were suspended. Be it the common masses or glamorous film stars most of them preferred to stay indoors by not venturing out the next day in the morning except for one Madhubala. She had to report for the shooting that morning and she did. The studio was flooded, its furniture and equipment standing in water with no one around the studio except for the security guard. How she reached there, what route she took, how early she left, an incident not only motivating but also reflects Madhubala’s benchmark of professionalism. It was late 1948, and the star was just fifteen years of age.
Book has covered each aspect of the actress be it Madhubala’s early death, her long affair and break off with the actor Dilip Kumar or her marriage to Kishore Kumar which witnessed mental turmoil. In her late 20’s at a time when heart surgery was not widely available she was advised to undergo one for a hole in her heart. It only gives the impression that life had not been fair with her in matters of the heart. But just few days before her death, Madhubala had been murmuring I want to live . . . God, I don’t want to die. Nine days after her thirty-sixth birthday on the morning of 23 February 1969 she eventually succumbed to her serious illness.
Born on Valentine’s Day Madhubala had her Villa filled with flowers resembling it as a florist’s shop. But on her last birthday the author says there was only one bouquet for her. Such is the modality of life. But her fans still remember and miss her on her special day as the legend Madhubala lives on who performed successfully despite her illness.
Reviewed by : ~ Niilesh A Raje