In time there is seldom a movie that comes along with such grandeur that it is remembered and revered by the generations to come. One such film is Mughal-e-Azam. Released on 5 August 1960 the film completes 60 years. To commemorate one of the most defining works of the Indian Film Industry, it has been included in the Oscars Library.
ADDITION TO THE LIBRARY
The late director K. Asif’s son, London based Akbar Asif presented the screenplay to the Academy to mark the occasion. The Screenplay will be available in Hindi and English translation with Roman text at the Margaret Herrick Library as part of its renowned reference and research collection.
Akbar Asif commented in a statement featured in the Hindustan Times ” The journey of Mughal-e- Azam started with words from the greatest writing team ever assembled in Hindi cinema and I thought the best way to honour them was to permanently preserve their screenplay in the world’s most renowned film library”.
The story revolves around Salim, the son of Emperor Akbar and his love interest Anarkali, a courtesan. As the romance progresses Akbar expresses his disdain for it given the low stature of the courtesan. Events unfold as Akbar tries to stop the impending union at all costs whereas Salim vouches to fight for his love till his last breath. The film is not solely about the romance between the two characters but more about Akbar’s role as an emperor and as a father. The dynamics of the father-son relationship with the courtesan even though a meek character challenging status quo are the highlights of the film. Thus the film was named Mughal-e-Azam against the original title of Anarkali.
HISTORY OF MUGHAL-E-AZAM
The screenplay is based on a play titled ‘Anarkali’ written by Imtiaz Ali ‘Taj’ in 1922. It was rewritten in 1931. K Asif started to work on the project in 1944 but could not continue due to various issues such as partition and the death of one of the original cast members. Later the project was revived and Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, and Madhubala were cast in the now-iconic roles of Akbar, Salim, and Anarkali respectively. The famous on-screen and off-screen couple Dilip Kumar and Madhubala reportedly parted ways while shooting for the film in 1957.
The screenplay was developed by the director along with Aman, Kamal Amrohi, Wajahat Mirza, and Ehsan Rizvi. The ever-green soundtracks including the famous song Pyaar kiya toh darna kya were composed by music director Naushad and the lyrics were written by the poet Shakeel Badauni. The tracks were famously sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Shamshad Begum along with many others.
It is considered one of the most expensive films ever to be made in the history of Bollywood and it broke all box office records when it was released.
In 2004 Mughal-e-Azam became the first-ever full-length Indian feature film to be colourised for theatrical release.
In 2013 Mughal-e-Azam was declared the Greatest Bollywood films of all time to mark 100 years of the industry.