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Updated December 20th, 2023 at 00:30 IST

When Dilip Kumar-Madhubala’s break-up led to a court case over a film’s production

Madhubala had signed to do Naya Daur opposite Dilip Kumar. However, after 10 days' shoot, Madhubala's father instructed her to back out of the project.

Mughal E Azam still
Mughal E Azam still | Image:Pinterest
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Dilip Kumar and Madhubala were just two of the most popular and widely-loved film stars of the 50s, but also were in a relationship for a long time. Their professional and personal relationship is a journey brimming with many ups and downs, one of which included a bona-fide legal case over a film production.

Madhubala's father compelled her to end relationship with Dilip Kumar

The story dates back to 1956 when Dilip Kumar and Madhubala were reportedly willing to take their relationship to the next stage, and tie the knot. However, trouble arose when Madhubala’s father Ataullah Khan came to know of their relationship and expressed his strong disapproval towards their union. Not wanting to hurt his feelings, Madhubala and Dilip Kumar decided to call it off, and keep their association strictly professional.

Dilip Kumar and Madhubala in a movie still | Image: Pinterest

However, the real story was yet to begin. On a professional level, Dilip Kumar and Madhubala had already signed to do B.R.Chopra drama Naya Daur, and Madhubala had even shot for 10 days for the film. However, a few days later, Ataullah Khan informed B.R.Chopra that Madhubala would not be able to travel to Gwalior for the film’s outdoor shoot, requesting the filmmaker whether he could replan his film shoot indoors and near Bombay.

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B.R.Chopra chose to cast Vyajayanthimala instead

A flummoxed B.R.Chopra informed that an outdoor shoot for Naya Daur, which was a story about a village’s tonga-wallah’s battle against the motor vehicle’s use for public commute, was very crucial for the film, and instantly decided to cast Vyajayanthimala in Madhubala’s place. An infuriated Ataullah Khan decided to take legal action against B.R.Chopra for breach of contract. In retaliation, B.R.Chopra too made a counter suit against Ataullah Khan. Eventually, the court ruled in favour of B.R.Chopra and the filmmaker dropped his case when he realised that Madhubala could land up in prison.

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Dilip Kumar and Vyajayanthimala in Naya Daur | Image: IMDb

Meanwhile, Dilip Kumar and Madhubala continued to shoot for their other pending project Mughal E Azam despite not being on talking terms. In his biography years later, Dilip Kumar recalled that the two shot for the iconic feather scene without exchanging a single word outside of shots.

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Published December 19th, 2023 at 23:04 IST

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