Ah the beauty!She lives,breathes,and walks in beauty,her very name being the yardstick of beauty in Bollywood to this day.Life for such beautiful people however is very cruel.In her short life Madhubala made the kind of impact and left the kind of legacy some people would have given their tooth and eye for.Beautiful beyond belief, incredibly talented,star of many successful films including Mr.and Mrs.55,Chalti Ka Naam Gadi and enduring magnum opus Mughl-E-Azam,a fairytale romance with Dilip kumar,and sought after by top filmmakers to even Hollywood bigwigs Madhubala’s life seemed too good to be true until death so cruelly snatched her away at the age of 36,when long suffering from a heart illness she succumbed to it soon in 1969.
She came,she saw,she ruled.When Divya Bharti started acting in films at 14,she was initially noticed for her uncanny resemblance to Sridevi. She found commercial success with films like Vishwatma and Deewana after which she became one of the most sought after actresses of her time.Such was her popularity that during a time when only Sridevi and Madhuri charged fees equal to male stars,Divya had the appeal to demand fees even close to theirs.Throughout her career she not only worked in superhit commercial films but also played strong female characters. All that ended when Divya allegedly fell from her Versova apartment at an age of 19. Speculation is rife about her sudden death, and it's still not certain if it was an accident, suicide or murder.
The tragedy queen’s life almost seemed to mirror her screen persona.Regarded as one of the most talented actresses of Bollywood ever,Meena Kumari’s star shines the brightest among others. Her grief stricken eyes full of emotion,the untold sagas behind her lips,and her quite,demure but powerful screen performances painted a picture of tragedy & sorrow.In Sahib,Biwi Aur Ghulam she gave a performance that so finely blended the character with the actress that it seemed unreal. She found success in films but love and happiness eluded her in real life,as a result she died due to alcoholism in 1972. Pakeezah initially opened to a lukewarm response from the public; however, after Meena Kumari's death less than two months later, people flocked to see it, making it a box-office success.
Is 39 an age to die? That's what Dev Anand often asks about his friend's passing away.It's so ironical that while Dev is referred to as forever young for his zest for life, his best friend did not live to see his Kagaz Ke Phool and Pyaasa -- two of his most under-rated films at the time -- acquire a cult status.More than 40 years after he succumbed to a life-long battle with alcoholism and depression, Guru is looked at with fondness and reverence.People used to walk out of his films in the 50s,today they’re remembered as world cinema classics and Dutt as India’s Orson Welles.
Starting off as a television anchor, the dusky actress' talent was first spotted by Shyam Benegal who became her chief mentor and went on to direct her in some of his finest films, including Manthan, Mandi and Bhumika.Smita along with Shabana Aazmi heralded the parallel cinema in the 80s and became the favourite actress of the intelligentsia. Each of her performances have been distinctively unique,earth-shattering & versatile,and each of them showed a keen eye for detail. However in 1986 when the two time National Award winner passed away within weeks of giving birth to son Prateik Babbar, it robbed us off one of the most dynamic actresses of our time.
There emerged in his death a strange paradox. A young Sanjeev, through his life played older characters did not even live to touch 50. However, his films and his sparkling performances in them are his greatest legacy.Whether it was a deaf and mute man in Koshish,a chess obsessed Lucknowi in Shatranj Ke Khiladi,a double role in comedy classic Angoor,or the iconic,self-respecting Thakur in Sholay,Sanjeev Kumar’s career is full of gems of performances that captured the essence of the ordinary man. Almost foreseeing his death at the age of 47 due to a heart attack, despite his mother's persistent appeals, did not marry.
GEETA BALI(1930-1965;AGED-34 TO 35):-
When she danced to “Shola Jo Dhadke Dil Mera Dhadke”,the hearts of fans all across the country leaped around joyfully in flames.The playful,button-cute actress started off as a child star but later became one of the most popular actresses of the 50s,working in classics like Albela,Anand Math,Baazi,etc,. and meanwhile also became Shammi Kapoor’s wife. However her joy-de-reverie was put to end when she was contracted with smallpox in 1965 at the age of 35.
Wife of director Guru Dutt,both husband and wife were unfortunate to die young. The singer with a mesmerising voice gifted Indian cinema some of its most enduring tunes. Right from Babuji Dheere Chalna to Ja Ja Bewafaa and Tadbeer Se Bigdi Hui, Geeta's songs have survived the test of time. After her husband's death, Geeta started experiencing nervous breakdowns and could never recover.
Recently she was brought back into public consciousness by Vidya Balan’s “The Dirty Picture”, The name Silk Smitha instantly conjures up the image of a sex-starved trophy wife from Sadma, who goes to great extents to entice the object of desire. The siren from down south who fuelled a million imaginations with her raunchy portrayals in films, died in 1996 of depression, reportedly caused by financial problems, disillusionment in love and alcoholism.
SOME OTHER STARS WHO DIED YOUNG ARE:
Rasika Joshi(39) who'd appeared in films like Gayab, Malamaal Weekly and Bhul Bhulaiya, succumbed to leukemia.Nirmal Pandey(48)who rose to prominence with his role in Bandit Queen, suffered a heart attack.Southern actress Soundarya(31) died when she was aboard a Cessna 180 aircraft that caught fire near Bangalore right after take off and crashed.Filmmaker Manish Acharya (41)who rose to fame through ‘Loins Of Punjab Presents’died after he fell from a horse while holidaying in Matheran and suffered fatal head injuries.Laxmikant Berde(50), better known as the genial house help from Sooraj Barjatya's Hum Aapke Hain Kaon....! died due to a kidney ailment. Child actor Taruni Sachdev(14), who gained recognition with Rasna ads and went on to work in Paa with Amitabh Bachchan, passed away in a plane crash in Nepal.
The hottest bombshell in the world.Ever.No one even comes close to the kind of iconic status Marilyn Monroe has experienced before or after her death.What is it about Marilyn that still endures? Why is it that legends and myths surround her? Born in poverty,after spending her childhood in foster care, she took up modelling and subsequently films. With The Seven Year Old Itch, Some Like It Hot and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Marilyn proved her mettle as an actress. But what truly made her iconic was her sex appeal.The image of Marilyn standing above a subway grating blowing the dress up is one of the most iconic images of the 20th century. She was 36 when she died,many reports hint at foul play and don't consider her death as suicide.Today,four decades after Marilyn's death,she's regarded as the world's greatest sex symbol and has had legends and legends woven around her name,and millions of tributes to her magnetic sex appeal.
American teenagers in the 50s identified themselves with James Dean’s roles in Rebel Without A Cause. Dean's iconic appeal has been attributed to the public's need for someone to stand up for the disenfranchised young of the era and to the air of androgyny that he projected onscreen.His effervescent screen persona was best embodied in, Rebel Without a Cause in which he starred as troubled Los Angeles teenager. The other two roles that defined his stardom were East of Eden and Giant. Dean remains the only actor to have had two posthumous Best Actor Oscar nominations.For a man who died at 24 due to a car crash,the man made it Big,like real Big.
“Why so serious?Let’s put a smile on that face!!”When Heath Ledger growled and with a snarl carved a smile in his enemy’s face,my hair stood up.A character played by a dead man is the most alive on screen,and Heath as The Joker overshadowed everyone and everything.With his face smeared with clown makeup and a sinister gleam in his eyes,Heath Ledger as the Joker gave a performance so impactful,so mind blowing,terrifying but honest performance,that it just numbed the brain.Probably the best I've ever seen.Unfortunately just weeks before The Dark Knight’s release Heath died due to an alleged drug overdose at the age of 28 giving the film major publicity,and garnered a posthumous Oscar nomination,following which he became only the second posthumous Oscar winner(Best Supporting Actor),which in my eyes is one of the most well-deserved of all time.Just watch his poignant portrayal of a closest gay cowboy in Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain and witty turn of an outlaw student in 10 Things I Hate About You,and you’ll just scream out loud-“IS THAT THE GUY WHO PLAYED THE JOKER???”
Nirvana founder and frontman Kurt Cobain was not just a rocker who made it big, he had become a phenomenon.Back in the early 1990s when the band's iconic songs like Smells Like Teen Spirit and Come As You Are released, it seemed like teen angst and rebellion had finally found a spokesperson. Cobain, however, was often uncomfortable and frustrated, believing his message and artistic vision to have been misinterpreted by the public, with his personal issues often subject to media attention and on April 5, 1994, he was found dead in his house with a gun in one hand and a suicide note in the other at the age of 24.His death remains of public fascination to this day,and it gave rise to the myth of “Club 27”,that refers to the death of many popular musicians at the age of 27.
Bruce Lee, a Chinese American actor from Hong Kong, was considered one of the greatest martial arts exponents of all time.He is credited with popularizing the martial arts in the west by showcasing his skills in many Hollywood films. But before he could expand his body of work, he died as a result of hypersensitivity to a certain medicine he was being administered at that time. He was 32.Given his iconic status, there are many conspiracy theories still doing rounds about his death.
Elvis or The “King”is regarded as one of the most important figures of 20th-century popular culture,and the spokesperson for the teens of the 50s. His energized interpretations of songs, many from African American sources, and his uninhibited performance style made him enormously popular and controversial. He had a versatile voice and unusually wide success encompassing many genres, and is the best-selling solo artist in the history of popular music. Prescription drug abuse severely compromised his health, and he died suddenly in 1977 at the age of 42,leaving behind a legacy impossible to replicate.
As the founder member of the “Beatles” Lennon spent half his life under the strains of Beatlemania and of being the biggest pop culture phenomenon the world had ever seen. The Beatles' influence in revolutionising sound, style, and attitude of popular music and of opening rock and roll's doors to a tidal wave of British rock acts expanded rock's stylistic frontiers by the end of the 60s.Lennon remains one of the greatest & most influential songwriters of the 20th century and is also regarded as an advocator of world peace.In December 1990 however, Mark David Chapman shot Lennon in the back four times at the entrance to his building.
Known as the "blonde Bombshell" and the "Platinum Blonde"Harlow starred in several films, mainly designed to showcase her magnetic sex appeal and strong screen presence,Harlow's enormous popularity and "laughing vamp" image were in distinct contrast to her personal life, which was marred by disappointment, tragedy, and ultimately her sudden death from renal failure at the age of 26.
American actress Brittany Murphy rose to fame with films like Clueless, Girl Interrupted and the noir graphic film by Robert Rodriguez Sin City.The actress died of a supposed cardiac arrest when she collapsed in her bathroom in 2009.
Many other musicians died at a young age including Jim Morrison(27)who died due to an alleged heroin overdose,African American electric guitarist Jimi Hendrix(27),British singer and songwriter Amy Winehouse(27)who died due to alcohol poisoning and Janis Joplin(27)who died due to drug abuse and alcoholism,all belong the mysterious “Club 27” group,consisting of musicians who eerily died at the young age of 27.Freddie Mercury(45)an Indian born British lead vocalist and lyricist of the band “Queens”died due to AIDS in 1991. Buddy Holly(22) singer-songwriter and a pioneer of rock and roll known for wearing horned-rimmed glasses,died in a plane crash in Iowa. Sid Vicious(21)a member of punk rock group “Sex Pistols”died due to a heroin overdose with a suicide note found on his person.River Phoenix(23)who garnered an Oscar nomination at the age of 18,died in 1993 due to drug induced heart attack.
There have been other instances where young talents met with sudden death, cutting short a journey that could have been richer and more inspiring. When these young,famous people died legends were created around them.Death may have cruelly snatched them and their sparkling talent from us,but instead they left behind a legacy so rich and diverse,so influential,that to this very day it seems irreplaceable or irrevocable. Gone but never forgotten. RIP:(