#100days100scenes: Mughal-e-azam the magnum opus

Any writing on Indian cinema is incomplete without the reference to its first magnum opus Mughal-e-azam.  K Asif made a movie of his lifetime trying to get every shot perfect with expensive sets and leaving no stone turned in getting the best talent available for every department.  Even for the songs, he wanted to use classical singer Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and reportedly paid him a princely sum. 

Partly shot in colour with grandiose sets, a tale of epic romance of prince Salim and the courtesan Madhubala is a crucial point in Indian cinematic history.

The star cast was so apt that for a long  time in my life, my image of Akbar was the Prithviraj Kapoor one.  And anything said about the bewitching beauty of Madhubala is less. More than Dilip Kumar , she holds the movie together showing pain, love, dejection with masterful ease. Dilip in his own inimitable way as a self indulgent prince masterfully plods on with a sense of dejection in his eyes..

The movie took more than ten years to shoot and complete. The amount of footage could have been as long as one of the national quadrilateral projects. It had ten extremely hummable songs including the most famous one 'Jab Pyar kiya to Darna Kiya'. Madhubala evokes charm, grace and defiance in a truly epic performance taking this song to a completely different level.

Although not historically accurate, the movie shows how Akbars court was really multi-religious with playing of a devotional Hindu song  and how Akbar believed in being just (the Din-e-Elahi part).  The movie although a love story is about that conflict that has been shown in countless Hindi movies. Can love triumph societal norms and boundaries that have been laid out for the younger generation to follow. Whats the kings foremost duty - is it towards his subjects ie his job as their protector or towards his family?

A true blockbuster it followed what has become the standard template to draw masses into the theatres - great music, wonderful sets to create awe, stars,  romance, drama and above all dialogues that you remember after the movie is over.

Mughal-e-Azam remains that edifice, epoch and epitome of cinematic competence that India has ever seen.

I couldnt take out one scene from the movie, since the movie itself is so memorable. So here it is a 15 min version of Mughal-e-azam. Just like the movie maker, I couldnt edit what has been shot with so much care.