It is considered by most movie-lovers to be the one of the most evocative dramas in the history of Indian cinema.
And now K Asif’s magnum opus Mughal-e-Azam chronicling the love legend of Salim and Anarkali which took nine years to complete and is considered to this day one of the historical milestones in Indian cinema, is all set get a renewed life on celluloid.
This Diwali when Asif’s opulent and arresting opus is re-released all over the country it will now be obtainable to audiences in full colour version. (Also Read: Mughal-E-Azam mural at 24 Karat )
The original film shot by the inimitable R.D. Mathur was largely in black-and-white.
“What people don’t know is that Asif Saab shot some portions of the film in colour, not just the immortal song Pyar kiya to darna kya, but also the last four reels of the film. In fact if the director had his way the whole film would’ve been shot in colour,” says Deepak Salgia, the Project Director of the colour version of Mughal-e-Azam. (Also Read: Mughal-E-Azam ahead of its time)
The grand spectacle, the lavish song picturizations and the breathtaking beauty of Madhubala–not necessarily in that order–renders itself remarkably to a colour scheme that takes the epic beyond the black and white shades of the original. (Also Read: Mughal-E-Azam puts Bollywood ahead of Hollywood)
Continues Salgia, “We’ve in many ways done what K.Asif desired. By converting the entire film into colour we’ve given Mughal-e-Azam a completely new relevance.”
And those who have seen the new coloured avatar of the breathtaking epic are going into raptures about it. The verdict on what can be called creative intervention is completely and unanimously positive. (Download: Wallpaper, Old is gold!)
Sanjay Leela Bhansali whom many regard as a successor to K Asif’s epic grandiosity of vision has seldom been so excited about the release of any film. “I’ve seen the colour clippings on television. And I must confess I’m dying to see the new version of Mughal-e-Azam.”
The director doesn’t often see films. But this Diwali he says nothing can stop him from being in the nearest theatre where K Asif’s dream project is being resurrected in ravishing shades.
The majority in the industry indicates a huge curiosity for this once-in-a-lifetime experiment with a film classic. And though some moviegoers are skeptical about tampering with the original vision of its creator, those who have seen the end-product swear K Asif couldn’t have done it better himself.
Says Salgia, “You’ve no idea how this colour version has come into being. Since there’s no technique available to convert a black-and-white film into colour we had to literally pore over every frame. Every shot had to be hand-corrected. Every drop of colour that you’ll see in Mughal-e-Azam has been achieved through hand-craft rather than machines.”
Such an achievement is not just rare but completely unheard-of in the history of Indian cinema? What sort of an audience are the architects of the `neo-Mughal-e-Azam` hoping to get for themselves? Says Salgia, “There will be those who have seen the film over and over again. Then there’ll be the new generations who want to see Madhubala and her chemistry with Dilip Kumar. When they see the legendary romance in newly recording dolby-digital sound they’ll certainly experience a new thrill. Plus there’s Naushad Saab’s immortal music which we’ve just released in a new dolby-digital recording. According to us, it all adds up to a fabulously receptive audience which wants to tuck into the mystique of Madhubala and Mughal-e-Azam.”
And let’s not forget. 2004 is the year of the letter ‘M’.