Today’s Google Doodle marks the 86th birthday of actress Madhubala, who is revered in the industry as an icon of Indian cinema. Madhubala, who is also widely known as “The Marilyn Monroe of Bollywood” was born in Delhi on this day in 1933 as Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi. However, she was raised in the slums in a town located near the Bombay Talkies film studio. She appeared in her first film at the age of 9, and was lauded as Baby Mumtaz and she eventually started supporting her family as a child star.
She took the name Madhubala for the first after landing the lead role in Neel Kamal in 1947, where was just 14 years old. The doodle today is designed by Bangalore-based artist Muhammad Sajid, and depicts the on-screen elegance that Madhubala was known for. She appeared in nine films during 1949 and delivered her breakout performance in the box office hit Mahal. She appeared in over 70 films over the course of a rather brief career. The Theatre Arts Magazine termed Madhubala as “The Biggest Star in the World” in 1952.
“Madhubala was a gifted actor with an understated style well suited for comedies, dramas, and romantic roles alike,” Google said in a blog post. Madhubala’s performance in the epic historical drama Mughal-e-Azam remains unforgettable and the film still remains one of the most popular and expensive movies in Bollywood history. She fell in love with Dilip Kumar, her co-star in the 1951 romance Tarana, but her father, who also managed her career, interfered.
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Madhubala appeared on a commemorative postage stamp in India in 2008, and is remembered by many “as one of the greatest to ever grace the silver screen”. She was active between 1942 and 1964 and is referred to as “The Beauty with Tragedy” and “The Venus of Indian Cinema”. She died at the age of 36 on February 23, 1969.