Exclusive: Relooking at Mughal-E-Azam as it turns 60

Mughal-e-Azam, the iconic Indian period film, today, commemorates 60 momentous years since its release on August 5, 1960. The multiple award-winning historical saga, celebrated for one of the finest performances in Indian cinema, was directed by filmmaker K. Asif and produced by Shapoorji Pallonji Group.

The project faced multiple hurdles during its making, forcing its temporary abandonment. The political tensions and communal rioting surrounding India’s partition in 1947 stalled the film’s first version. Shiraz Ali, the producer, migrated to Pakistan. In the 1950s, Shapoorji Pallonji Mistry salvaged the film and came on board to produce the film, despite no knowledge about film production.

Shapoorji Pallonji had an inclination towards history and hence wanted to create a landmark historical film. The film cost Rs. 1.5 crores in 1960, ten times the cost of an average film in those days. Shoot commenced in the early 50s with the production canvas involving war scenes with 2,000 camels, 4,000 horses and 8,000 Indian military men.

Mughal-e-Azam was the first black-and-white Hindi film to be digitally coloured and the first to be given a theatrical re-release. Shapoorji Pallonji’s grandson, Shapoor Pallonji Mistry undertook the restoration and colourization of Mughal-e-Azam, originally only 15% shot in colour. Original music composer Naushad Ali recreated the six-track surround sound version for the colour release. In 2004, the colour version of the film was re-released and it was also a commercial success.

In 2016, Shapoorji Pallonji Group produced the theatrical version of the film, Mughal-e-Azam; the Play directed by Feroz Abbas Khan. The musical play has also run to packed houses across Asia. Till date, the musical play has had 180 performances across eight Asian cities. It has won seven Broadway India world awards.

The Mughal-e-Azam film was itself a remake of the theatrical play ‘Anarkali’, written by Imtiaz Ali Taj. The popular epic love saga is remembered for its tragic love story between the Mughal prince Salim and court dancer  Anarkali.

(The film can be watched on MUBI, India)

Below are a few exclusive images related to the film:

K Asif, director of Mughal-E-Azam

Dilip Kumar and Madhubala in the film

K Asif receiving the President’s Award from Radhakrishnan

K Asif with Dharmendra

K Asif with Nutan and Suraiyya in the premiere of Mughal-E-Azam

K Asif with Raj Kapoor

Madhubala in the film

Dilip Kumar as Salim in the film

Prithviraj Kapoor as Akbar in the film

Prithviraj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar in the film

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