Mughal-e-Azam: An epitome of the grandeur of Indian Cinema
A romance like that of Mughal-e-Azam has everything to offer that does not fail to please people of all generation. This is why the quintessential love story remains relevant even today and is termed as an epic. On August 5, 2020, the country celebrated the 60th anniversary of the classic.
The film has everything romance, rebellion, tragedy. And with a powerful star-cast like Prithiviraj Kapoor, Madhubala and Dilip Kumar, the film seems to be ageless. The director K Asif spent around sixteen years to film it. And the classic is remembered for the true justice; the director did to the film and its characters. If adjusted for inflation, Mughal-e-Azam (1960) is the highest-grossing Indian film of all-time, netting over INR 2,000 crore.
The film transports us to an era of palaces and battles. The film, much ahead of its times, captured all the grandeur aesthetically. The film illustrates a picture of India's Mughal days and at the same time sheds light to some bitter realities that still plagues the subcontinental society. The dialogues of the film and dramatic and strong, instilling a sense of strong traditions and stronger emotions.
This year, as a tribute to the evergreen film, Akbar Asif, K Asif's son, submitted the film's screenplay to Academy Awards library. But what makes this larger-than-life film so captivating? Was it the grandeur of the effort of the director?
Here are some lesser-known facts about the epic
Pyar kiya toh darna kya: The production of the famous song 'Pyar kiya toh darna kya' cost the film a crore. Back in those days, films would be completed in lakhs. In 1957, Mother India became the most expensive Indian film with a budget of Rs 60 lakhs. The song was re-written more than 105 times before the music director Naushad approved it. Naushad to get a reverberation effect to the sound, made Lata Mangeshkar record the song in a studio bathroom. The song was also shot in the renowned Sheesh Mahal (Place of mirrors) that houses more than a thousand mirrors, and the camera is not visible in a single mirror!
Madhubala and the chains: At the end of the film, the heavy chains worn by Madhubala are authentic. K Asif kept her in the chains for long hours to ensure the expression of pain was authentic. The actress later spent many days nursing herself to health from the bruises caused by the heavy chains.
Indian Army to the rescue: The director sought special permission from the Indian Ministry of Defence for the battle sequence and loaned soldiers from the Indian Army. The battle sequence features more than 2,000 camels, 4,000 horses and 8,000 troops. The soldiers came from the Jaipur regiment of the Indian Army.
Golden Krishna: Even though it was a black and white film, director K Asif was all about authenticity and paid great attention to detail. The idol of Lord Krishna used is the film was made of pure gold.
In Colour: Mughal-E-Azam was the first full-length feature movie to be colourised for a theatrical re-release in the history of world cinema.