Mughal-e-Azam: A party fit for an emperor

Posted on June 19, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Foreign Relations, People, Society, TV, Movies & Theatre
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Adil Najam

Mughal-e-Azam–who many consider one of the greatest Indian films ever made–is coming to Pakistan. Recently re-mastered in color and re-released to a Silver Jubilee reception in India, the movie will get a huge reception in Pakistan where it will be showed as a fundraiser for the October 8, 2005 Earthquake.

According to a report in the Daily Times:

About 20 Indian [Bollywood] artists have confirmed their participation in a telethon transmission on the occasion of the release of the film, ‘Mughal-e-Azam.’ The film is being released to raise funds for the victims of October 8 earthquake.

A special flight of PIA, named ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ flight, will bring these Indian artists to Pakistan. Shilpa Shetty, Neha Dhopia, Sridevi, Bonny Kapoor, Jackey Shroff, Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Urmila, Ameesha Patel, Salina Jaitley, Prem Chopra, Gulshan Grover, Rishi Kapoor and Rimi Sen are some of the artists expected to attend the telethon. During the flight, PTV will record interviews of the artists and their arrival will be covered live. An official dinner will be arranged in honour of the guests in Karachi on June 24 and the ticket to attend this dinner will be sold for Rs 40,000 (US$ 650). PTV will telecast its nine-hour telethon transmission from 10am to 7pm on June 25 without any break.

Pakistani stars and writers including Nadeem, Samina Pirzada, Reema, Zeba Bakhtiar, Javed Sheikh, Nayera Noor, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Haseena Moin, Tina Sani, Arshad Mahmood, Anwar Maqsood, Fahmida Riaz, Talat Hussain, Shahnaz Sheikh, Marina Khan, Rahat Kazmi, Fakher, Sania Saeed, Nouman Ejaz, Shahzad Roy, Hammayun Saeed, Mahar Hassan, Saqib Malik, Rashed Khawaja and Jamal Shah will be participating in the transmission. A special set depicting Mughal architecture has been built for the show at a cost of Rs three million. The income generated from this show will be donated to the President’s Relief Fund for earthquake victims.

Now that is what you call a party. Maybe too much of a party; but at least it is for a good cause. Lets hope that our Indian guests respect the spirit of the event, and even if they don’t that we hold our tempers. Another embarrassment like the Feroz Khan shout-out or the Pakistan President’s reaction to it would not be pretty for anyone.

Of course, Mughal-e-Azam was already released for preview in Pakistan on April 22 at the Gulistan Cinema in Lahore (to rather lukewarm reception) becoming the first Indian movie in 41 years to be released in Pakistan.

There is a certain historical justice in the film coming back to Pakistan. It began in 1944 with K. Asif wanting to make the biggest film even in Indian cinema and Shiraz Ali agreeing to finance it. However, Shiraz Ali decided to move to Pakistan in 1947 and it was not till 1951 that a new financier was found and not until 1960 that the film was finally released; and took the box-offices by storm.

On the movie itself, Mughal-e-Azam has always had legendary status for sub-continental movie buffs of a certain generation, for its music, its elaborate sets, its theatrical acting, and of course for its very regal dialogues–for example, Prithvi Raj as Emperor Akbar saying, “bakhuda hum mohabbat ke dushman nahin, apne usoolon ke ghulam hain” (By Almighty God, I am not an enemy of love; I am just a slave of my principles). The movie, of course, was before my time. However, having seen the B&W versions years ago, I saw the colorized version last year; and it did not disappoint.

By the way, for any movie buff, a visit to the movie’s website is very well worth a visit.

9 responses to “Mughal-e-Azam: A party fit for an emperor”

  1. Jamshed says:

    This movie has some unforgettable songs.

  2. iFaqeer says:

    Thanks for the clarification Altamash.

    But aren’t you buying into the Sangh Parivar’s propaganda when you say, casually, ““Indian Hindusâ€

  3. Lahori says:

    whatever else we embrace or not, ANARKALI HUMARI HAI
    Why isn’t the Anarkali Mazar a greater tourist attraction?

  4. Altamash Mir says:

    Oh I didnt summon the “Indian Hindu” as an insult, but as a compliment. What I was meaning to say (in so many words) that not only Indian muslims definitely take pride in the mughal heritage (and they should) but “Indian Hindus” (The majority in India) who were suppressed during the Muslim rule take pride in the Mughal History and take ownership of it. Now in contrast, Pakistanis do not take pride in their ancient (idol worshipping or not) Indus river civilization heritage.
    I completely agree with you. Pakistanis should realize their true heritage & Identity as an ancient South Asian people.
    So, please dont be offended by the “Indian Hindus” remark as it didnt mean any disrespect. Matter of fact Indian Hindus take pride in the fact that they are hindus with majority in India. My good friend and Business Partner is a Brahman Hindu and doesnt let go of an opportunity to remind me of my hindu past.

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