When we think about yesteryear Bollywood, we can’t miss thinking about Madhubala, otherwise known as Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi. The actor was one of Bollywood’s most beautiful and talented individuals and is an absolute legend. So no wonder she was so loved, all over the world.
In fact, Madhubala garnered quite the fan base in Greece. Especially after the second world war. And we’ve even come across this brilliant Twitter thread by The Paperclip describing how the actor’s work and essence was a subject of admiration and a source of solace during the difficult time.
On the death anniversary of Madhubala, we recount how the working-class citizens of Greece once fell in love with the evergreen beauty. A thread on a Greek love song on Madhubala, that graced the Olympics. (1/13) pic.twitter.com/HJMc5tf2X0— The Paperclip (@Paperclip_In) February 23, 2022
While the upper-class elites had leaned towards embracing the European genre of art, the working class and the refugees took shelter inside the magical world of optimism and love stories offered by Bollywood. (3/13)— The Paperclip (@Paperclip_In) February 23, 2022
What’s interesting to read is how Greece and India were, at one point, almost running parallel in terms of societal themes. So Greece’s working class and immigrants found comfort in the many songs they hummed from Indian the films of the 1950s and 60s.
Because at the time, India had separated from Pakistan and Bangladesh, and our films were depicting themes of the trying times of refugees, migrants and citizens being displaced. Which was similar to the kind of grief that the people of Greece were feeling then.
The themes of these movies perfectly blended into the lives of suffering Greek families, abandoned children, poor factory workers, and immigrant labourers living in abject misery – who could see themselves on the silver screen desperately seeking a ray of hope. (5/13) pic.twitter.com/qOJeGGP3Lw— The Paperclip (@Paperclip_In) February 23, 2022
Madhubala was so popular among the working-class that the famous Greek singer Stelios Kazantzidis, in 1959, dedicated a legendary song to celebrate the beauty of Mandoubala (Μαντουμπάλα), written by great refugee lyricist Eftihis Papayiannopoulou. (7/13) pic.twitter.com/GfYzgz72cV— The Paperclip (@Paperclip_In) February 23, 2022
So many Bollywood films had been released in Greece at the time, that the country ended up making renditions of the films’ songs in their native language. Multiple Greek singers have performed songs featuring Madhubala as a tribute to the country’s people and the actor herself, who was also fondly referred to as ‘the Aphrodite from India.’ Phew! Talk about appreciation for someone’s beauty!
In the song, Mandoubala is the lost love of the singer, who he searches for and pleads to return to him. Papagiannopoulou wrote the moving lyrics remembering her daughter, who had died that year. (9/13)— The Paperclip (@Paperclip_In) February 23, 2022
The song Mandoubala loosely can be translated to— The Paperclip (@Paperclip_In) February 23, 2022
“My sweet love
I long for you to come close to me again
since then when I lost you I melt
your name I shout with pain
Madhubala, Madhubala, Madhubala” (11/13) pic.twitter.com/QSkFozXuqz
Acknowledgement: “Hindi Films of the 50s in Greece: The Latest Chapter of a Long Dialog’, by Helen Abadji. https://t.co/InLby1k3Wz.— The Paperclip (@Paperclip_In) February 23, 2022
Translation: Panayiota Bakis Mohieddin (https://t.co/FnvE1my3A4)
Video courtesy: : https://t.co/ZUoW5E6uL5 (13/13)
What a beautiful thread! We’re glad we found this one.