Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Celebrating golden Jubilee of Mughal-e-Azam

Celebrating golden Jubilee of Mughal-e-Azam

It was exactly 50 years ago on 5 August,1960, Mughal-e-Azam, the all time greatest film from Hindi film world was released. While it had created all records of popularity, it failed to make big impact on the first week of the release. And then onwards, there was no looking back. The film had seen legend Dilip Kumar at its best. Even Prithiviraj Kapoor, Madhubala had justice with their roles.

It produced under the banner of Sterling Investment Corporation Pvt Ltd ( a firm owned by Shapoorji Pallonji Mistry. Mistry owns majority shares in Tata sons Ltd.) and directed by K Asif. With its lavish production, K Asif`s magnum opus took nine years to finish. This was when a normal film would cost around Rs 1-1.5 million. 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 record.

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. Adjusted for inflation, the movie`s net revenue would put it on top of all Bollywood movies released until 31 March 2009. 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 KCBokadia in 1986. Investment Corp Pvt Ltd., got the film restored and colored and released a new version with great fanfare. .

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."

According to film jourrnalist Harish Chandra, 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.


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