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Mughal-E-Azam: An Epic of Eternal Love - By Shakil Warsi (Book Review By Bobby Sing)


Mughal-e-Azam Book Review 2

Having reviewed another small book on the epic creation before, titled Mughal-E-Azam: Legend as Epic - By Anil Zankar (at this link here), I can easily begin with a simple conclusion that if one wishes to read some informative but brief notes on this legendary classic, then he or she can go for the Anil Zankar pocket size book, readily. But in case you wish to read more descriptive writings on the most magnificent Indian movie of all times, talking about its journey till the re-released coloured version in the year 2004, then just opt for this Shakil Warsi book without any confusion and feel the nostalgia.
Presented in a semi-coffee table format, the book does come at a high price which ideally should have been a bit less to have a wider reach and a general acceptance. But since its elegant designing and packaging gives you the return of your money in terms of impressive content along with few rare pictures, the price doesn’t turn out to be a negative feature at all, as I personally felt.
The book begins with a very detailed chapter on ‘The Historical Films’ made both before & after Mughal-E-Azam, which might not interest the readers who are just willing to read about the cult film specifically. But for the rest this is sure going to be a delightful feature of the book naming all the historical films made till date bringing back the old time memories of the gone era.
After this long account of the historical ventures, next comes a short introduction on the ‘The Legendary Love Story’ followed by a pleasant chapter telling you about the real ‘Dream Merchants’ with whom it all actually began in the fifties namely K. Asif, his key members of the writing team, the courageous producer Shapoorji Pallonji and more. The fourth chapter dedicated to ‘the film’s making’ remains the most enlightening one mentioning many exclusive anecdotes and related facts, presented in an engaging style. And post that we have the individual career glances of its lead actors beginning with Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Madhubala and the rest of the significant supporting cast too, very deservingly.
For all the musically inclined friends, the other enjoyable part of the book remains its sections titled ‘A High Note’ & ‘Unforgettable Moments’ which take you behind the scenes, revealing many unknown trivia about its magnificent songs, lyrics, their recordings, dances and a lot more. So its in these chapters that we get to read some great interesting stuff about our respected creative musical stalwarts such as Naushad, Shakeel Badauni, Lachchu Maharaj, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and more.
Finally the last 4 chapters of the book complete the journey as a full circle beginning from its initial release in August 1960 to the much awaited re-release with a new digitally restored coloured version in November 2004, mentioning the various theater responses too seen at both the occasions. And its really a treat to read all about the original grand event of 1960 being imitated after almost half a century with almost the entire film industry of the new millennium being there.
A brief account of the untimely death of its visionary director K. Asif with few rare pictures of his burial, further makes the book a worth buy indeed and it is truly emotional to know that after this sudden unexpected loss, the whole industry mourned the tragedy by declaring a complete shutdown for a day, which cannot even be imagined in the present times unarguably.
With some adorable, coloured (full page) photographs in its center pages, the book once again makes you realize the unbelievable kind of money, time, effort, patience and hard work put into the making of this legendary classic, simply impossible to conceive in the current commercialized approach of our film-making. And therefore looking at Warsi’s appreciable work in totality, the book does turn out to be highly satisfactory read in the end despite the high price which might be a discouraging factor for many.
However to end on a bitter note, I did find a confusion regarding a reference given in both Shakir Warsi and Anil Zankar’s book having a factual difference mentioned below.
The Confusing Doubt!
Interestingly both the writers have mentioned an instance wherein director K. Asif wanted a very costly pair of shoes (decorated with pearls or gold elements) for one of his key characters. Now since the shoes were not supposed to be in any close shot, therefore the cameraman and the producer questioned this illogical demand of the director quite loudly. But when K. Asif replied to their objections raised, nobody had any answer to give and the shoes were brought in as per the demand, the very next moment.
The reply K. Asif gave to the cameraman was, “Your camera may not see the shoes, but when my character wears them, he will experience the royal feel and that expressions on his face will be captured by your camera!”
That was the visionary director K. Asif,working with a solid conviction to make his majestic masterpiece.
Now the confusion is, that where Anil Zankar says in his book that the shoes were called in for Emperor Akbar, i.e. for Prithviraj Kapoor (Page 111), there Shakil Warsi mentions them to be brought in for Prince Saleem, i.e. Dilip Kumar (Page 62).
Here admittedly, the confusion or disagreement might not be that big and both the writers might have heard the instance from two different persons (with a failing memory). But the fact remains that such factual difference is honestly not expected by many die-hard Hindi movie buffs like myself. And moreover this also clearly indicates that perhaps we couldn’t think of (or completely ignored) the important documentation of ‘the making’ of our great movies in time and have now actually started writing detailed books on those highly creative gems……….too late.
Mughal-E-Azam: An Epic of Eternal Love – By Shakil Warsi
Published by Rupa Publications (2009) – Pages 168 (Hardbound)

Tags : Mughal-E-Azam: An Epic of Eternal Love By Shakil Warsi, Book Review By Bobby Sing, Articles on Cinema and Books on Cinema at bobbytalkscinema.com, Books On Hindi Cinema, Book Reviews by Bobby Sing, Articles on Vintage Books and Films at bobbytalkscinema.com
16 Mar 2014 / Comment ( 2 )
Gandhi Vadlapatla

I did not get an opportunity to buy or read these books. I do prefer to read books on film personalities or TV talk show on such legendry film makers from experts who have a direct connection or family members of the subject. Many a times we get contradictory statements or notes from immature authors who want to make fast buck just by releasing some script in the name of original script.
Your book or film review is helping us to judge the book or movie in advance. I do recommend my friends to read your review regularly.
Keep up your high standards by writing quality stuff.

Bobby Sing

Hi V. Gandhi,
Thanks a lot for your kind appreciation and for recommending my works to your friends too.
I will certainly try my best to keep delivering as per the set standards always with HIS BLESSINGS.

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