Dilip Kumar and Madhubala apart from being a successful pair on-screen, were also madly in love with each other off it. After seven years of courtship, Dilip Kumar was said to be keen to get married to Madhubala. But her father Ataullah Khan was said to be against the match as Madhubala was the only earning member of the Khan family and he didn’t want to lose her.
Dilip Kumar and Madhubala in 'Mughal-E-Azam'
It was at this time that she was shooting for BR Chopra’s 'Naya Daur' with her and Dilip Kumar in the lead. Chopra wanted to shoot a schedule in Madhya Pradesh. Madhubala’s father was unwilling to let her go on an outdoor schedule as he was worried that her romance with Dilip Kumar will only get more intense. Madhubala’s sister later refuted this theory saying that her father didn’t want Madhubala to go on the outdoor scheduled as he feared for her safety in Gwalior. Chopra was forced to replace Madhubala with another actress, Vyjayanthimala in the film. Upset at this, Khan is said to have threatened to sue the production company. Chopra sued Madhubala before Khan could take any action for breach of contract. Dilip Kumar testified against Madhubala in the court, even though he did mention that he loved her. Madhubala lost the case. Later, B R Chopra dropped the case when he realised that Madhubala might have to go behind bars.
After that, it is said that when Dilip Kumar still wanted to marry her, Madhubala insisted that he apologise to her father and he refused to do that.
The relationship came to an abrupt end and by the time the duo started shooting for 'Mughal-E-Azam', they were not even talking to each other.
Dilip Kumar talks about this awkward phase in his autobiography, “...half way through the production of 'Mughal-E-Azam' we were not even talking to each other. The classic scene with the feather coming between our lips, which set a million imaginations on fire, was shot when we had completely stopped even greeting each other.”
After 'Mughal-E-Azam', the two never met again. It is said that Madhubala had expressed a desire to meet him a day before her untimely death at the age of 36 due to a heart ailment. But Dilip Kumar didn’t visit her, nor did he attend her funeral.