A royal treat
colour version of Indian cinema’s biggest blockbuster of all time, K.
Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam, will hit the big screen on Divali,
November 12. For the first time, a digitally refurbished version of the
film’s original soundtrack will be released after 44 years.
is for the first time in the history of world cinema that a
black-and-white film is being made in colour for a big screen release.
Hollywood has been successful in colourising films only for TV/DVD
original premiere of Mughal-e-Azam, the love story of Salim,
Prince Shahjahan, (Dilip Kumar), and Anarkali (Madhubala), also starring
Prithviraj Kapoor, was held on August 5, 1960, at the Maratha Mandir
theatre in Mumbai.
prints for the premiere of the film, which was released after almost
nine years in the making, were brought on elephant back. The theatre was
extravagantly decorated and resembled a Mughal arena. The invitations
were designed in the shape of a shahi firman (royal order).
at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore in those days filming took over 500 working
days. It was easily the costliest Indian film till then. Tailors were
brought from Delhi to stitch the costumes, Hyderabad goldsmiths made the
jewellery, Kolhapur craftsmen the crowns, Rajasthani ironsmiths
fabricated the shields, swords, spears, dagger and armour, specialists
from Surat-Khambayat were employed for the exquisite zardosi embroidery
on the costumes while the elaborate footwear was ordered from Agra. For
one of the songs, Ae Mohabbat Zindabad, a chorus of 100 singers
queue for Rs 1.60 ticket stretched 2 km and an estimated 1,00,000 people
gathered at Maratha Mandir to make advance bookings. Shankar Rao
Chauhan, the then Chief Minister, went with his Cabinet to watch the
film. Pakistan also relaxed visa rules to allow its citizens to watch
grand revived version (in coloured prints and Dolby Digital sound) is
not taking place at Maratha Mandir as the theatre is booked for
Abbas-Mustan’s Aitraaz. The refurbished version will see two
premieres in Mumbai city. One will be held in the town-side while the
other in a suburb multiplex.
Dinesh Gandhi acquired the Mumbai rights of the film at Rs 2.25 crore
from original producer Sterling Investment. He will release the film
through his long-time partner Rakesh Sippy of Raksha Film Distributors.
Gandhi and Sippy have decided to release the film with 60-70 prints.
Indian Academy of Arts and Animation (IAAA), Mumbai, which undertook the
project, took nearly one-and-a-half years to develop the technology and
another 10 months to complete the process.
original music composer of the film, Naushad, has been involved in the
digitisation of the track.
film will not have a simultaneous overseas release. An all-time classic,
the film had participated in seven international festivals last year.
— Compiled by