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Mughal-E-Azam 1960 Hindi Romance Movie Review


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Thrity Dalal
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One of the movies which evokes awe in me is the 1960 movie Mughal-e-Azam directed by the legendary K. Asif and produced by Shapoorji Pallonji. Literally translated, it means “The Great Mughal”. I saw it  years back with my mother and wow was I blown away!!

It is a 1960 black and white movie based on a play entitled “Anarkali” depicting the legendary forbidden love affair between the Mughal Prince and heir Salim (later Empreror Jehangir) and the lovely courtesan Anarkali amid clashes with the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar. It is said that when the film released in the iconic Maratha Mandir cinema in Mumbai, there were long queues running into a few kilometers!!

At the time of the making of the film, the budget was a whopping Rs 1.50 crore but went on to do a business of Rs 11 crore  !!

It is said that the idea of the movie came to Mr. K. Asif way back in 1944. It was delayed due to uncertainties and financial problems and could start  only in the early 1950s and could release only in 1960. One can say Mr Asif was a visionary, much before his time he dreamt of making this masterpiece of Mughal grandeur. I can see this movie any number of times. It kind of sucks you into the drama as if you are part of the drama unfolding before your own eyes. It touches some pure section of your heart to an extent that your heart bleeds at the doomed lovers’ plight caught between the mighty Mughal empire and their professed love for each other knowing that it is a doomed love story.

The great legend Prithviraj Kapoor plays  Emperor Akbar with such dignity that we cannot remember the actor but we see only Akbar in front of our eyes. Durga Khote plays Queen Jodabai with aplomb. Prince Salim is played by the great Dilip Saab (Dilip Kumar) with such intensity that every time I watch him on the screen I tend to fall in love. And what do I say about the gorgeous Madhubala!! She plays Anarkali to the T. Wow!! The entire cast takes me into another era where “Tehzeeb” was rather a way of life.

Mughal-e-Azam has the most lilting and soul refreshing music by Naushad Saab and lyrics written by Shakeel Badayuni Remember, ” Pyar kiya toh darna kya”??  The sets constructed for filming this song with the iconic Sheesh Mahal is said to have cost Rs 1 crore!!! It was the only part of the film which in colour. Or “teri mehfil mein kismat aazmakar”, “mohabat ki jhoothi kahani ko roye”, .12 songs in all. Each one a gem for posterity.. sung by the great legends Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Shamshad Begum.

This movie won several awards including the National Award and Filmfare award. This was the first black and white movie which was digitally coloured and re- released in 2004. At that time I jumped at the opportunity to revisit this movie accompanied by my son…. and  I was not disappointed. It was an unforgettable  experience. I was again transported to the magical world of Mughal-e-Azam!!!

If you are looking for a movie which will transport you to another bygone era of romance, pain, dignity, intrigue , this is the movie for you. Go watch it now.

Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.

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