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29. September 2010 3 29 /09 /September /2010 17:06

Mughal-e-Azam (Hindi: मुग़ल-ए आज़म, Urdu: مغلِ اعظم, English: The Greatest of the Mughals) is a 1960 Indian epic film produced under the banner of Sterling Investment Corporation Pvt Ltd. ( a firm owned by Shapoorji Pallonji Mistry) and directed by K. Asif. With its lavish production, K. Asif's magnum opus took nine years and $2 million to finish. This was when a typical Bollywood film would cost around $20,000 only. The film broke box office records in India when released and held the record for the highest grossing film ever until the 1975 film Sholay broke its unadjusted record.[2]

In 2004, Sterling Investment Corp Pvt Ltd released a restored a color version of the film. This again was a huge success and the film ran for 25 weeks at the Box Office.

This is one of the biggest box office hits in Indian cinema. The film netted $11.5 million at the box office worldwide. Adjusted for inflation, this amounts to $308 million (in 2010 prices). This was one of only two films K. Asif completed. When he died in 1971, he left behind two unfinished films, Sasta Khoon Mahenga Paani and Love and God, the latter released by K. C. Bokadia in 1986.

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[edit] Plot

The film re-tells a popular Indian tale, which was previously filmed as Loves of a Mughal Prince (1928) and Anarkali (1953). It is loosely based on an episode in the life of the Mughal Prince Salim, who went on to become the Emperor Jahangir (r. 1608 - 1627). In the movie, the great conqueror Akbar (played by Prithviraj Kapoor) and his Rajput wife, Jodha Bai (played by Durga Khote) have a son - the weak and pleasure-loving Salim - played by Dilip Kumar. Salim falls in love with Anarkali (Madhubala), a court-dancer. He wants to marry her and arranges secret meetings between Anarkali and himself. However, the jealous Bahaar, a dancer of a higher rank, wants the crown of India and she attempts to make the prince love her so she may ascend to queenship. She exposes the love between the prince and the dancer. Salim pleads for Anarkali's hand, but his father objects and throws Anarkali into prison. Despite imprisonment, Anarkali refuses to reject Salim.

Salim rebels against his father, is defeated in battle, and is sentenced to death. Anarkali pleads for his life in exchange for her own, and is condemned to be walled up alive. However, it is revealed that Akbar owed a favor to Anarkali's mother, since she informed him of the birth of his son. Anarkali's mother takes advantage of this, and begs for her daughter's life. The emperor relents, and arranges for Anarkali's secret escape into exile. Unfortunately, it is still announced that Anarkali was killed, and Salim is heartbroken.

Most tales of Salim and Anarkali end with the death of the latter, even though the movie version is slightly more optimistic. However, Salim is still left to believe that Anarkali is dead and the lovers are separated for the rest of their lives.

[edit] Cast

[edit] Crew

  • Assistant director: Rashid Abbasi
  • Chief assistant director: Khalid Akhtar
  • Art Direction: M.K. Syed

[edit] Production

[edit] Background

K. Asif first started work on the project in 1944, with financier, Shiraz Ali, owner of the famous Mahalaxmi Studio, Mumbai. He casted Chandramohan, Sapru and Nargis for the roles of Akbar, Salim and Anarkali, but the project was shelved because of political tension. Communal rioting stopped filming and shortly after the Partition of India in 1947, Shiraz Ali migrated to Pakistan, leaving Asif without a financier[3]. He finally found one in business tycoon Shapoorji Pallonji but it took Asif almost four years to get his film on the floor.

The film was started again in 1951 with an all new cast of Prithviraj Kapoor, Madhubala, Dilip Kumar, Durga Khote and Ajit. In this version, Tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain says, "I was considered for the role of the young Salim. But the role was eventually played by Jalal Agha." [4]. Jhansi Ki Rani (1953), was the first color film in India and by 1957 color was creeping into Indian films. K Asif shot one reel in color which included the song Pyar Kiya to Darna Kya. Impressed by the results, he shot three more reels in color (towards the end of the film). Now, K. Asif wanted to remake the whole film in color, but the distributors lost patience, who were not willing to accept any further delay. Asif released the film with 15% in color and remaining 85% in Black & White. Asif dream to see the full film in color remained unfulfilled till 2004, when Sterling Investment Corp Pvt Ltd., got the film restored and colored and released a new version with great fanfare. .[5].

This was (counting Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas) the most expensive film ever made in Indian history. Tailors were brought from Delhi to stitch the costumes, specialists from Surat-Khambayat were employed for the embroidery, Hyderabadi goldsmiths made the jewelery, Kolhapuri craftsmen designed the crowns, Rajasthani ironsmiths crafted the weapons, and the elaborate footwear was ordered from Agra. For the battle sequence, 2000 camels, 4000 horses and 8000 troops were used, many of them soldiers on loan from the Indian Army. All together the film cost Rs. 1.5 crores (38.29 crores in present terms).

The statue of Lord Krishna used in the film is made of pure gold. The heavy chains Madhubala wore in the film were authentic, not the lightweight models worn in those days. It was her greatest ordeal in the film and she was bedridden for days nursing the bruises caused by wearing those chains.

[edit] Filming

The song "Ae Mohabbat Zindabad" had singer Mohammed Rafi with a chorus of 100 singers. The song "Pyar Kiya To Darna Kiya" has an unusual history to it: it cost Rs. 1 million at a time when a film would be made for less than a million; it was written and re-written 105 times by the lyricist, Shakeel Badayuni, before the music director, Naushad, could approve of it; it was shot in the renowned Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors); and in those days of sound recording, editing and mixing, as there was no way to provide the reverberation of sound, Naushad had Lata Mangeshkar sing the song in a studio bathroom. Prithviraj Kapoor would look into a mirror as tall as himself before each shot. When Asif asked him why he did so, he replied, "I do so to get under the skin of the character."

Its most famous dance sequence takes place in the Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors) of the Lahore Fort, where Anarkali dances for the Mughal Emperor and his court, singing Pyar Kiya to Darna Kya, "I have loved, so what is there to fear?" This song was one of three sequences shot in Technicolor, while the rest of the movie was in black and white. The singing is, of course, playback singing by Lata Mangeshkar and lip-synched by Madhubala.

This song has more to it, than actually appears. It is said that the small engraved mirrors in the area where the song was shot, would sparkle under the camera's intense lights and made it impossible to shoot. Anything that would be shot would be completely white light. Director K.Asif thought of an idea: all those small mirrors, roughly in thousands, would be covered in a very very thin covering of wax, so that they did not reflect any light and still you can see as clean as it can be without any blur. This alone costed the film, more importantly, time.

For the battle sequence, 2,000 camels, 4,000 horses and 8,000 troops were used, many of them soldiers on loan from the Indian Army. This was arranged through special permission through the Indian Ministry of Defence-a rare occurrence today. The soldiers came from the Jaipur regiment of the Indian army.

The movie was originally shot three times, once each for lips moving for Hindi, Tamil and English dialogs. The Tamil version of the movie did very poorly, so the dream of having Shakespearean actors from Britain doing the dubbing in English was dropped.

 

[edit] Music

Mughal-e-Azam
Soundtrack by Naushad
Released 1960 (India)
Genre Film soundtrack
Label EMI
Producer Naushad
Naushad chronology
Kohinoor
(1960)
Mughal-e-Azam
(1960)
Ganga Jamuna
(1961)

The well acclaimed and successful soundtrack was composed by renowned musician Naushad and lyrics penned by Shakeel Badayuni. Mughal-E-Azam's soundtrack was named as the second best Bollywood soundtrack ever[6], by planetbollywood.com. Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan did a very rare classical number, Prem Jogan, that went on to become a classic.

Song Singer (s)
Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya Lata Mangeshkar
Bekas Pe Karam Keejeye Lata Mangeshkar
Khuda Nigehbaan Lata Mangeshkar
Mohabbat Ki Jhooti Lata Mangeshkar
Mohe Panghat Pe Lata Mangeshkar
Teri Mehfil Mein Lata Mangeshkar, Shamshad Begum
Prem Jogan Ban Ke Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan
Shubh Din Aayo Raj Dulara Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan
Ae Mohabbat Zindabad Mohammed Rafi
Humen Kash Tumse Mohabbat Lata Mangeshkar
Ae Ishq Yeh Sab Duniyawale Lata Mangeshkar [7]
Ye Dil Ki Lagi Lata Mangeshkar
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