Aishwarya Rai may be dubbed "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World," but even today Hindi film actress Madhubala is widely regarded as possibly the most beautiful actress that Bollywood has produced. She starred in a number of Hindi films in the 1950s and 1960s, including Basant, Mahal and the ever famous Mughal-e-Azam.
Interestingly, in the 1950s, Madhubala attracted attention from Hollywood. U.S. filmmaker Frank Capra had proposed a meeting to discuss Madhubala's welcome into Hollywood although her father was against this and thus ended any hopes for her in Hollywood.
Here is a You Tube video of one of the most renowned songs from Mughal-e-Azam...her dancing is just amazing!
In the present, Madhubala still ranks at the top of polls and surveys as one of the most popular Hindi film actresses ever, most likely due to her ability to change characters in her films so convincingly, from courtesan to heiress to village girl. Wikipedia states that no other vintage Hindi film actress has as large of a video sharing presence on You Tube as Madhubala.
Although our image of Hindi film of the past is a conservative one, Madhubala actually broke some barriers by portraying western and even vamped up characters in her films - a bold move in India back in the 1950s!!
Sadly, Madhubala's love life wasn't without conflict and she passed away at a fairly young age due to illness.