Here’s the mother of all scoops… and, as always, you find the news-break first on Sify.
K. Asif’s magnum opus Mughal-E-Azam has finally got the green signal from the Government of Pakistan. The timeless epic, revolving around Emperor Akbar, Prince Salim and Anarkali, has been cleared by the Pakistani censors [Central Board of Film Censors, Islamabad] for exhibition in Pakistan.
A copy of the censor certificate was sent to this writer by eminent Pakistani distributor Nadeem Mandviwalla of Mandviwalla Entertainment P. Ltd., Karachi [a leading distribution firm in Pakistan]. The censor certificate was issued on Saturday, February 11, 2006.
Since the film was in B & W originally, the censors have mentioned CDV [Colored Digital Version] right next to the title of the film. “The tentative date of release of Mughal-E-Azam in Pakistan is April/May,” Nadeem Mandviwalla informs me, “We still need to work out certain details and the final date will be decided in the next couple of weeks.”
Mandviwalla also reveals that Mughal-E-Azam will be released with 25 prints in the country.
Here’s a brief note by Nadeem Mandviwalla, especially for Sify readers: “Since 1965, Indian films have been banned in Pakistan. However, in 40 years, only two films were given exemption by the late President Zia ul Haq: Noor Jehan [in 1981] and Kashish [in 1982].
“After 24 years, the third Indian film certified by the Censor Board was The Legend Of Love aka Sohbu Mahiwal. Sohni Mahiwal was imported in Pakistan some 15 years ago, but it never got through the censors and since then the importer of the film, Zafar Ali, has been fighting in the courts for its certification. Finally, the Censor Board took the initiative under the current bilateral policies of Pakistan and India to pass the film.
“The fourth film certified by the C.B.F.C. is Mughal-E-Azam [restored version]. The film was presented to the President of Pakistan, General Musharraf, in December 2004 as a gift by Akbar Asif, the son of the legendary director of the film K. Asif. The President gave the permission for its exhibition in Pakistan in May 2005.
“Finally, on February 11, 2006, the C.B.F.C., under the Chairmanship of Mr. Ziauddin, certified Mughal-E-Azam for public exhibition in Pakistan.”
About Nadeem Mandviwalla: In business since 1990, Mandviwalla Entertainment has been importers and distributors of foreign films in Pakistan. Primarily, they have been dealing with major U.S.-based studios like UIP, Warner, Disney, New Line, Fox, Miramax, Coralco. They have the distinction of releasing the highest grosser in the world, Titanic, which also happens to be the highest grosser in Pakistan [foreign films]. Another critically acclaimed film, Jinnah — The Movie, was released by them. Nadeem Mandviwalla also owns Nishat cinema in Karachi.