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Last Updated 16.12.2018 | 9:16 PM IST
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Book Review: Mughal-E-Azam – An Epic of Eternal Love

Mughal E Azam

You see a book titled ‘Mughal-E-Azam – An Epic of Eternal Love’ on the stands and end up wondering – ‘Oh! Not again. Now what does this book have to offer?’ After all there have been so many documentaries, books and write-ups put together for one of the biggest films ever made in the history of Indian cinema that you don’t quite get excited by the idea of reading yet another one which has been released sans any fanfare.

However, the thing that actually grabbed my attention towards this Shakil Warsi book in the very first place was an excellent packaging and design that does make you a little curious at least. For this, the credit must go to the publishers who make sure that at least the overall layout is striking enough to attract eyeballs. They win in this

endeavour by make you pick up this 170 odd page book which ends up being a satisfactory read.

Of course the book is not devoid of ‘skip the pages as you move’ ability, what with elaborate details around an overview of historical films which kick start the proceedings. Frankly, this is all good information but only for historians and perhaps custodians of Indian cinema. For a common man on the street, there is bound to be just a miniscule part in them that would care much about what happened in the 1920s or the 1940s.

As many as 30 pages go into these historic details and as you are thirsting to get into the world of Mughal-E-Azam, Shakil Warsi changes gears and there is no looking back after that. While there is elaborate detailing on the actual making of the film, there is also a chapter dedicated to each of the principal protagonists in the film.

You not just get to know about Anarkali, the character. In fact you also get a fair idea about the real incidents in Madhubala’s life as he was going through the motions, reprising the legendary character.

For those looking for those spicy details, scoops, gossips, grapevine, speculations, rumours, bitter truths and outright lies, ‘Mughal-E-Azam – An Epic of Eternal Love’ packs in quite a lot for the reader to have a non-stop read. Of course one does take a fair bit of anecdotes with a pinch of salt because most of the cast and crew associated with the film are no more alive to validate the written details. Still, Shakil Warsi manages a balancing act quite well by at least aspiring to bring truth in open

without hitting below the belt.

Along with Shakil’s descriptions of the events that made Mughal-E-Azam a timeless saga as it is today, he also reproduces quite a few scenes along with the dialogues. There were quite a few striking dramatic scenes in the film which are presented in the book with original Urdu dialogues and complimented by their English translations. Again, this entire approach is primarily for those who indeed wish to get into the finer details of Mughal-E-Azam.

The author also does well in not just restricting the book to it’s making but also getting into the details of the pre-release nervousness, the huge premier, the brickbats that followed and finally the golden run that the film enjoyed. He doesn’t stop there but talks about the film’s re-release in colour that took place a few years back. It’s this very sense of nostalgia that makes you want to know more about on what actually transpired in that ‘half a century’ long journey of Mughal-E-Azam.

Another factor that makes this book an enjoyable read for most of its parts is a liberal incorporation of pictures that can be found on literally every page. It could be stills from the movie or photographs captured during its making – all of this never allows you to loose interest till you have reached the last page of the book.

Some of the highlights of the book are:

– When director K.Asif shooed away an over zealous financer who was busy counting the number of pegs that he drowned after the success of Mughal-E-Azam

– How K. Asif never cared about money being spent on the project in his quest to get the best composer on board

– How during the making of the film, the producers were worried about the shooting budget and wanted to replace Asif with another director

– The stranglehold that Madhubala’s father had on her; something which resulted in her pre-mature death

– The broken relationship between Dilip Kumar and Asif when the latter went on to marry the sister of the former

– The reason behind Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai winning the Filmfare award for Best Music instead of Mughal-E-Azam

– The hugest premier that was held for the film

– The real love story of Dilip Kumar and Madhubala that met with an unfortunate end

You must have known a lot about Mughal-E-Azam and the events that happened during the making of the film and post that. Now have a look at this effort by Shakil Warsi – he plugs in enough anecdotes and quite a lot of trivia regarding behind the scene happenings that makes you ask for more as the book comes to an end.

Price: Rs. 795/=

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