American daily pays homage to Madhubala in obituaries special

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Mar 11, 2018, 05:57 AM(IST)

File photo of Madhubala. Photograph:( )

An American newspaper has paid homage to Bollywood's tragedy queen Madhubala. The actress of the bygone era was featured in its new segment, Overlooked. They introduced Madhubala, who preferred to be addressed by her first name, as the one who "transfixed Bollywood".

The New York Times has produced a new piece which remembered the contribution of 15 remarkable women in its new obituaries section called, Overlooked on March 8, International Women's Day. The article profiles the life of Hindi cinema icon Madhubala as one of those remarkable women.

The legendary Bollywood actress who has worked in over 70 movies in her short career is compared to the tragic screen icon Marilyn Monroe. "She has been compared to Marilyn Monroe, the smoldering looks, the short career, the tragic end. There was a remarkable similarity in the soft vulnerability of their faces. The same abandon to their laughter, head thrown back, that same incandescent glow," the article read. 

“Since 1851, obituaries in the New York Times have been dominated by white men. Now, we are adding the stories of 15 remarkable women,” the newspaper read. 

It wrote, " Madhubala (born as Mumtaz Begum) often portrayed modern young women testing the limits of traditions. She has been compared to Marilyn Monroe: the smoldering looks, the short career, the tragic end", the newspaper said while recalling her first major role, at the age of 16, as the leading lady in 1949 film 'Mahal' opposite Ashok Kumar.

About her untimely death at the mere age of 36, the daily wrote, "She died 20 years later as an icon of beauty and tragedy - her dazzling career, unhappy love life and fatal illness more dramatic than any movie she starred in".

The actress was featured in some of the best timeless classics such as 'Amar', 'Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi', 'Mughal-e-Azam', 'Barsaat Ki Raat'.

The article emphasized on Madhubala's "understated" acting style that didn’t win her any awards in her lifetime. However, Theater Arts, a New York magazine, published from 1916 to 1964, called her “the biggest star in the world.”  

The obituary chronicled her romance with veteran actor Dilip Kumar, and her failed marriage with iconic singer 'Kishore Kumar'. Madhubala was also offered a job in Hollywood but her father refused to send her. 

The segment talked about her deteriorating health in her later years, her portrayal of strong women on screen, and choices of eternal classics.

The segment also features names such as Margaret Abbott, the first American woman to win an Olympic championship, writer-poet Sylvia Plath, Ada Lovelace, a gifted mathematician credited as the first computer programmer, Henrietta Lacks, whose cancer cells were taken from her body without permission and led to a medical revolution, transgender pioneer Marsha P Johnson, photographer Diane Arbus and feminist poet Qiu Jin.

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