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Commemorating 100 years of cinema: A tribute to Indian Venus Madhubala

June 11, 2012 07:08:36 PM IST
By Enkayaar, Glamsham Editorial
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If a survey was done all over the world to select biggest fans of cinema arguably Indian fans would win the competition hands down. We Indians live cinema, eat it, savor it and use it as a reference point in our day to day discourses as well. Where else can one find fans viewing cinema on a screen made out of jute inside snooty godowns, or on a white screen being viewed from both the sides in an open expanse in the country side. From the times when there were only moving images, to the times when one can really be part of the cinematic oeuvre panning on the screen, cinema is elixir of life. For a country which cannot provide various forms of entertainment, it is cinema that has been able to provide the much needed relief and it arguably is the only secular institution in our country that continues to vibrate and pulsate with raw energy.

For the present generation as also a generation from the past, to revive the magic of cinema, to relive it, as also to underscore the vital flag posts in the Indian cinematic history, there would not be a much better reference point than to travel this journey through the books that have been written on Indian cinema. Here a caveat needs to be introduced, that the volume of work related to cinema is not that copious as it is in Hollywood, may be it could be owing to the fact that we believe more in oral history than in written one. Even then, what is at disposal provides an interesting insight into the legends of Indian cinema, who have been responsible in their own way to take the Hindi cinema to its exalted glory.

So here we go.




Cinema is celebration of beauty, of forms, proportions. When one talks about beauty in the Indian context, first name that pops in in everybody's mind across generations is that of Madhubala, whose beauty is still to be surpassed by any other female actor till date. Her sheer presence on the screen lit it up, and bathed it in a glorious light of happiness, well-being and enjoyment. Her posters still sell like hotcakes along with other female stars, and it is therefore imperative that this journey of cinema begin with a book written on her life. She was after all, the Venus of the Indian screen, the title was conferred on her by Baburao Patel, and nobody has been able to displace her from that mantle. A timeless beauty, who had so much pain in her till date. One does not know whether the radiance and beauty that she possessed was in some way leveraging on the pain and pathos that she had in personal life and transformed it into a radiant charm. Even though it has been more than fifty years since she passed away, hers is the poster that continues to adorn male hostel rooms to this day all across the country.

Khatija Akbar has done a monumental service by bringing out a book on her 'I want to Live- The Story of Madhubala' as it encapsulates vividly the life and times of Madhubala in as succinct details as could be possible. The title is indeed apt, as during her last years, when Madhubala was inflicted with multiple health related problems, her yearn to live became more predominant, but she did not express it, as she had done throughout her life and passed away from this world in painful silence.


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