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Friday, May 30 1997

Mughal love story


ETERNAL LOVE: Dilip Kumar and Madhubala in K Asif's Mughal-e-Azam.

The first film based on this love story was Anarkali (1928/Silent) aka The Loves of a Mughal Prince -- a big budget film made by the Great Eastern Film Corporation of India in 1928. Earlier, in 1926, Ardeshir Irani of Imperial Films launched his Anarkali (1928/Silent) with Sulochana as the heroine. Also released in 1928, this highly successful film was directed by R S Choudhary, who remade it in 1935 after the advent of sound, with D Bilimoria as Salim and Sulochana again playing the role of Anarkali. In 1953, Nandlal Jaswantlal made Anarkali for Filmistan with Bina Rai and Pradeep Kumar in the lead. This time Sulochana was cast as Prince Salim's mother. This was followed by Vedantam Raghaviah's Anarkali (1955) made simultaneously in Tamil and Telugu, and in Malayalam by Kunchako in 1966.

K Asif had originally picked up the subject in 1944 with Sapru, Chandra Mohan and Nargis as Salim, Akbar and Anarkali, respectively. In 1946, Chandra Mohan passed away, Shiraz Ali Hakim, Asif's financier, migrated to Pakistan and communal riots brought the film industry to a standstill. The film was shelved. Two more Anarkali's were then announced, but Filmkar's Salim Anarkali with Kamal Amrohi as director and Madhubala in the lead role was, abandoned. Filmistan's Anarkali, produced by S Mukerjee, was completed in record time and hit the screen in 1963. In the meantime, with the success of his Hulchul, Asif had begun to revive Mughal-e-Azam (1960), but with Filmistan's Anarkali declared a hit, he was expected to abandon his project as it was based on the same theme. Yet, Asif remained undaunted and not for a moment did he consider changing his mind. He knew that the theme of the Anarkali legend offered tremendous possibilities, and it was up to the film-maker to capitalise on the grandeur of the Mughal Empire at its zenith and, with imaginative handling, create a monumental epic.

In his hands the much-used plot found its most inspired interpreter. Mughal-E-Azam took a record nine years to complete -- from 1951, when Asif took over two stages from Mohan Studios at Andheri, to its final release in August 1960.

* Anarkali (Monument of Tears)

1928; B&W; Silent Direction: R S D ChoudharyCast: Sulochana (Ruby Myers), D Billimoria, Jilloo, Putli.

* Anarkali (The Loves of a Mughal Prince).

1928; B&W; SilentDirection: Charu Roy and Prafulla RoyCast: Seeta Devi, Sawan Singh, Charu Roy, Maya Devi.

* Anarkali

1935; B&W; Hindustani; Direction: R S D ChoudharyCast: Sulochana (Ruby Myers), Jilloo, Chanda D Billimoria, Asooji, Baba Vyas.

* Anarkali

1953: B&W; Hindustani; 35 mmDirection & Story: Nandlal JaswantlalMusic: C RamchandraCast: Bina Rai, Pradeep Kumar, Kuldip Kaur, Mubarak, Sulochana, Manmohan Krishna.

* Anarkali

1955; Tamil/TeluguDirection: Vedantam Raghavaiah

* Anarkali

1966; MalayalamDirection Kunchako

* Mughal-e-Azam

1960; Hindi Direction: K AsifMusic: NaushadCast: Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Madhubala, Durga Khote.

Copyright © 1997 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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