In the glorious era of the Mughals, Emperor Akbar's desire of a son is fulfilled Mughal-e-Azam, a colossal of theatrical marvel Some movies always take your breath away leaving a historical mark on you, and Mughal-e-Azam is one of them. Who knew that such a spectacular movie could be turned into a musical play.
Feroz Abbas Khan and his team of took up this impossible challenge creative marvels.
The 1960 K. Asif film was inspired by a play called Anarkali, written in Lahore in 1922 by Pakistani dramatist Imtiaz Ali Taj. Feroz Abbas Khan had wanted to recreate the film onstage since he saw the black-and-white film re-released in colour in 2004.In a 2017 interview, Khan said he hadn't wanted to do an imitation of Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam, but rather "pay a tribute to K. Asif sahab". For him, the play was “an interpretation; carrying the legacy forward in a different medium.” Prior to Mughal-e-Azam, Khan was known for minimalistic productions like Tumhari Amrita, and as a director, he wanted to do something entirely different.Inspired by Mughal-e-Azam, he approached Shapoorji Pallonji Group to get the stage rights. The current CEO and director of Shapoorji Pallonji Group, Deepesh Salgia agreed on the condition that the play kept up the tradition of the film and provided creative consultancy for the production.
According to Salgia, after the colourisation of the original black-and-white movie, the company was looking for new ways promote the film.The musical retained Naushad’s soundtrack and Shakeel Badayuni’s lyrics from the original film, along with two newly composed songs. The singers sing the songs live on stage to a pre-recorded orchestral and choral score. The play is in both the Urdu and Hindi languages, with LED screens displaying English subtitles of the dialogue.
Khan has described how the show had all the essential elements of a musical -
Mughal-e-Azam: The Musical is a one-of-a-kind show and so is its stage. After being unable to find a stage suitable for the play, Shapoorji Pallonji decided to revamp a weightlifting auditorium in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium into a stage.
In the movie, it took nearly 110 drafts before the lyrics of Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya were finalised. To this day, the song is every lover’s anthem.
Mughal-e-Azam is the most expensive production in the history of Indian theatre
The First Broadway style musical from India
550 costumes have been painstakingly designed by Manish Malhotra
The cast and crew travels with team of 150 and 4 containers comprising sets and stage properties of the Play.
The musical play has had over 200 performances across six Asian countries since its launch in 2016
Songs from the original film are performed live
From the political class to bureaucrats and from Bollywood to the Corproate World, all have been enthralled by the show.
Mughal-e-Azam ( 1960 ) is the most expensive film ever made in India ( inflation adjusted). Mughal-e-Azam : The Musical (2016) is the most expensive theatre production from India.
The film originally produced the film in 1960 by Shapoorji Pallonji. The same company also released its colour version in 2004 and the same company has now produced it in the form of musical play. Interestingly, Shapoorji Pallonji is a construction giant and has nothing to do with Entertainment industry.
The show has already been performed in Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
The show is a winner of 7 Broadway World India Awards 2017, including the Best Play, Best Director, Best Original Choreography, Best Original Costume Design, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Original Lighting Design and Best Original Set Design.