Mughal-e-Azam: A Brief History

  • 13 Jul 2018

The Great Mughal is an epic historical drama directed by K. Asif. It stars the legendary Dilip Kumar as Prince Salim and Madhubala as Anarkali. It follows the love affair between Mughal Prince Salim (who went on to become Emperor Jahangir) and Anarkali, a court dancer. Salim's father, Emperor Akbar, disapproves of the relationship, which leads to a war between father and son.
It took more than 9 years to complete the film due to financial problems. The entire cast had to be changed until the producer Shapooji Paloonji rescued the film from the brink of bankruptcy. The film also received criticism at that time for its historical inaccuracies. 

Though it is known fact that the relationship between father and son, Prince Salim (Emperor Jahangir) and Emperor Akbar was in a bad light, it has never been proved if Anarkali really existed and was the cause of the war between them. Furthermore, the film contains no such disclaimer on the historical accuracy. 

However, once this magnum opus was released, it broke all the records of that time. It has gained a cult following since then. It is one of the most iconic and landmark films in the history of Hindi cinema. The accolades awarded to the film include one National Film Award and three Filmfare Awards at the 8th Filmfare Awards. Mughal-e-Azam was the first black-and-white Hindi film to be digitally coloured and the first in any language to be given a theatrical re-release. The colour version, released in November 2004, was a commercial success.
Another reason why the film piqued interest was because of Dilip Kumar and Madhubala's love story. The duo was engaged but called it off due to some differences. In his autobiography, Kumar stated that the two were not even talking to each other while shooting that scene but worked as two professional artists. 

The soundtrack, inspired by Indian classical and folk music, comprises 12 songs voiced by playback singers including Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar and is often cited among the finest in Bollywood cinematic history.

**Stay tuned for more historical facts on Mughal-e-Azam leading up to the musical in Istana Budaya only on Bollylah.

Photo source:, Times of India, Rajashtan, Scoopwhoop

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