Neither can there be anyone like K. Asif nor can Mughal-E-Azam be made again

I was ten years old when my mother, who, despite our poverty, was very fond of watching Hindi movies, took me and my brother to see a film called “Mughal-e-Azam” at the Neptune Theatre outside Bandra station in Bombay.

By Bollyy
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K. Asif nor can Mughal-E-Azam be made again
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(On August 5, 1960 “Mughal-e-Azam” was first released at Maratha Mandir in Bombay, and the rest is history…)

I was ten years old when my mother, who despite our poverty, was very fond of watching Hindi movies, took me and my brother to watch a movie called “Mughal-e-Azam” at the Neptune theatre outside Bandra station in Bombay. I still remember how there were thousands of men, women, and children not only from Bombay but from other parts of the country and even thousands of people crossing the border and reaching Bombay from Pakistan only to watch this movie which had been in the news for more than fifteen years being made by the first and greatest Mr. Perfectionist of Indian cinema, K. Asif. I don’t know how many times I must have seen the movie in different theatres across the country, wherever I have traveled and on television in my own home, in the homes of my friends and relatives, and wherever I knew the movie was shown…

I have often wondered, what was the magic that attracted and mesmerized me and millions like me to watch the film as many times as possible. The film was released in 1960 and I still know every scene, every song, and every dialogue... Sixty years have passed and now I know why the film was and will be an eternal film! There is no doubt about the seriousness and sincerity with which K.Asif made the film as his do-or-die film. Check out some details about the making of 'Mughal-e-Azam' and you will respect Asif and his magnum opus even more... Asif was an illiterate man but he was very fond of films, writing, poetry, music, and hard work.

“Mughal-e-Azam” was his ultimate ambition and dream! He knew the importance of good writing to make a good film! He appointed some of the best writers in Urdu to work on the script and the team headed by him were some of the most educated and enlightened writers. He was not satisfied with their work until they gave him the soul of Mughal-e-Azam……. He wanted that, every little thing in his film should be real and genuine. To begin with, he appointed tailors, hundreds of whom were from Delhi, to have all the costumes used by all the main characters and even the faces stitched by these tailors who worked day and night for months…. He needed the best embroidery on the costumes and got hundreds of embroidery workers from Surat, which was known for its labor, who specialized in every kind of embroidery and paid them much more than any king or queen of that time. He was obsessed with having only the best in everything and was not willing to compromise when it came to getting the best... He wanted the crowns and headwear of every character to be true to life and so he got the best crown makers from Kolhapur. There were men in Maharashtra who were experts in making every kind of crown and headwear... He wanted the most authentic weapons for which he hired blacksmiths from Rajasthan to craft all the iron and bronze weapons used by Akbar, Salim, and for each soldier who took part in the large-scale battle scenes. He had brought together several states of India to work on his film like a family, which no other filmmaker in India has ever done...

He did nineteen takes of a dramatic scene between Prithviraj Kapoor (Akbar) and Salim (Dilip Kumar) and was still not satisfied and asked the great actor Prithviraj Kapoor to increase his weight if he wanted to continue playing the role of Emperor Akbar… Kapoor who rarely took directors seriously had to listen to Asif and he made Asif increase his weight and the result is the Akbar that you see in the film. The battle scenes between the armies of Akbar and Salim involved two thousand camels, four thousand horses, and eight thousand soldiers (which he got partly from the army), he had asked for their cooperation. There were also many elephants, especially for the use of Akbar and Salim… The “Sheesh Mahal” took two years to be built at Asif’s own big studio in Andheri and during this time, there were thousands of people who came just to see how the palace was being built. Producer Shapoorji Mistry had invited filmmakers from Hollywood and India to give their opinions about the construction of the “Sheesh Mahal“ and all of them said that it was not possible to create the mirror effect in the scene but the more people said that it was not possible, the more determined Asif was to make his dream come true and he rested only when his dream came true. The colored glass used to make the set was specially imported from Belgium... It is said that with the money Asif used to build the Mahal, he or any other filmmaker could have made an entire big movie.

Asif needed none other than Bade Ghulam Ali Khan to sing a song, but the Ustad was reluctant as he did not want to sing for films. He told Naushad, the music director about Asif's inability to sing for the film and Naushad told him to quote a price which no other singer or playback singer had ever charged... Ustad asked Asif for twenty-five thousand rupees and before Ustad could blink, Asif had agreed to pay him more than the price he was asking for. You can imagine the value of twenty-five thousand rupees in the early fifties! The film had a song called “Ae Mohabbat Zindabad”. Asif wanted the song to reverberate in the cinema halls and he shot the song live before a mike with a thousand singers. The impact of his decision can still reverberate in people's minds. There is a scene in the film when Jodha Bai (Durga Khote) rocks the cradle of Bal Krishna. Asif wanted the idol of Bal Krishna to be made in pure gold and he got his way. The shooting got over and Asif thought of melting the idol of gold to earn some money. But it seemed that his passion rubbed off on Naushad as well. He was a Muslim and yet he decided and asked Asif to allow him to take the idol to his home “Aashiyana“.

In Bandra where the “fanatic Muslim” Naushad rocked the cradle of Lord Krishna till the last day of his life! And they now talk of “Hindu-Muslim“ unity! The song “Pyar Kiya To Darna Kiya” was written a hundred times by lyricist Shakeel Badyuni before Asif and Naushad fine-tuned it. The chains in which Madhubala was tied were made of real iron so that Madhubala could give the most natural expression of agony and pain. The most difficult part about making the film for Asif was to shoot the most romantic scenes ever shot in the history of Indian cinema between Dilip Kumar and Madhubala who were almost not talking during the making of the film. Who can forget the scene where Anarkali is lying on Salim’s lap and professing his love for her by looking into her eyes and running a feather over her beautiful face? The film which took sixteen years to make, was finally released in 1960 at the Maratha Mandir Theatre in Bombay. The theatre had a capacity of one thousand one hundred seats, but there was a crowd of one lakh people who had gathered there for several days and the night before the release date. The film reels were carried to the theatre on the decorated backs of four elephants.

Asif finally fulfilled his dream but he had to pay a very heavy price in every way. They were in huge debt and did not even have money to buy his favorite cigarettes and paan and he could not even pay the rent of his house in central Bombay. And yet the Mughal had a big heart. Comedian Jagdeep who had just started his career was completely broke and needed money. He decided to walk from Bandra where he lived to Asif's house and told him about his problems. Asif went to his room, even his family members tried to tell him that there was no money in the house to even buy vegetables but Asif went inside and put his hand in all his pockets and took out all the money that was in it and gave it to Jagdeep and told his family that Jagdeep's needs were more than his or his family's. Asif tried to make other films like 'Sasta Khoon Mehnga Paani' with Rajendra Kumar and Saira Banu but he could not complete it. He started 'Love and Bird' with Guru Dutt and Nimmi, but Guru Dutt committed suicide. He started the film again with Sanjeev Kumar and Nimmi but Asif himself died. K.C. Bokadia, his fan tried to complete the film as a mark of respect to him, but Sanjeev Kumar also died. The film was released in its incomplete version and as expected was a very pathetic flop...... The story of K. Asif's Mughal-e-Azam can never end. And Asif's attitude towards money can be best seen in this simple but real story. Asif and Sanjeev Kumar who had become best friends were travelling in Sanjeev's Mercedes. In Juhu. When Sanjeev asked Asif why he couldn't buy some land in Juhu where stars like Dharmendra and filmmakers like Ramanand Sagar, Mohan Kumar, and J Om Prakash had bought land, Asif took a long drag on a cigarette which he always kept between his thumb and his little finger and said, "My brother, we have made this film, not to buy land and build a palace".

A few months later, Asif died in his two-bedroom apartment in Sea Breeze Apartments in Juhu, leaving behind nothing but the immense treasure of Mughal-e-Azam. Such a crazy emperor has never existed before, nor will there ever be. This is my belief which can never change and no one can change it. Some more stories about Mughal-e-Azam It is the saga of a man who can make a non-believer believe, it is the saga of a man who can make the faith of a believer strong, it is a saga that can make those who do not believe in plans believe in destiny..... Karimuddin Asif was a small-time tailor as a youth somewhere in Lucknow, who came to Bombay to try his luck in Hindi films his power to tell stories in a powerful way helped him fulfill his dream rapidly and he soon started directing films. He had heard about a play called “Anarkali” written by a writer in the days before partition and was obsessed with the idea of ​​making his own film on the same story. Asif formed a team of writers which included Aman (who was Zeenat Aman's father), Wajahat Mirza, and Ehsan Rizvi who wrote a screenplay for his film which he called “Mughal-e-Azam”. He had decided to give the story his own interpretation of “Anarkali”. Not being a writer himself he gave ideas to his writers but his writers knew that he was a producer obsessed with his story. Music director Naushad was also part of the writing team but none of the writers received any individual credit.

Asif had selected Prithviraj Kapoor to play Akbar and Dilip Kumar to play Salim. He was now waiting to find the right actress to play the role of “Anarkali”. His first choice was Nutan who did not want to play the role and told Asif that her contemporaries like Nargis and Madhubala would be better suited to play the role. Asif then released a full-page advertisement in “Screen” (when I saw the advertisement in the archives I felt proud to belong to the paper). The advertisement asked girls from all over India to write to Asif asking if they were interested in playing Anarkali opposite Dilip Kumar. There were hundreds of applicants and Asif selected eight girls but was ultimately not satisfied with any of them. He had some differences with Madhubala and the surprise came when Madhubala herself went to him and told him that she wanted to play Anarkali. And Asif had found his Anarkali. Asif had problems finding finances to make his dream film until he was asked to meet a famous businessman who had nothing to do with films his name was Shapoorji Mistry he had only one interest in films and that was to see Prithviraj Kapoor in plays done under his banner Prithvi Theatre.

Asif watched some plays of Prithvi theatre and met Shapoorji and told him about his plan to make “Mughal-e-Azam” with Prithviraj Kapoor as Akbar and gave him the description of the subject which aroused the interest of Shapoorji who agreed to finance Asif’s film. And then began a long partnership between Asif and Shapoorji which lasted till the completion of the film. They had many differences, they even had verbal wars, but Asif and his passion for making ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ won out and Shapoorji called Asif his son. Shapoorji had spent literally crores of rupees in the production of the film and Asif had spent every single rupee in giving shape to his dream film without thinking about spending any money to buy a proper house for himself and his family or to buy a car. (He traveled in taxis all his life) The people who understood his “madness” were music director Naushad, lyricist Shakeel Badyuni, cinematographer RD Mathur, art director Shirazi, and all his other artists and technicians. And, of course, his family without whose constant support he would not have been able to make “Mughal-e-Azam”.

He was satisfied to see his most cherished dream being fulfilled. Shapoorji earned crores. The names of all his stars and his entire team were known. But, Karimuddin Asif was the same man who started out with a dream that would make the future remember him, but he had to be happy living his life his way without creating any kind of good life for himself and his family. A friend who had seen him months after “Mughal-e-Azam” created history, found him standing at a paan-bidi shop in his white pajamas and kurta asking for a packet of cigarettes, which was his only bad habit. Why have the governments not been able to get K.Asif any kind of award or recognition since the time of the release of “Mughal-e-Azam” when the awards given to tiny and pygmy-like actors, filmmakers, and singers are slowly losing all their significance and meaning? Can't the government in power now prove how much it cares about true talent and how secular it is an honor "Deewana" at least now? This is a time when it can still be done or it will be a time when future generations and history will curse all those who did not recognize the greatness of a man who devoted his entire life to giving Indian cinema all the reasons to be proud? Some films are not films, they are history and the pages of history can never be rewritten. In the box, BJP says K. Asif sahab should be awarded Padma Vibhushan

Song: Become a prem jogan Become a prem jogan, beautiful my love and walk in the love sky Become beautiful my love and walk in the love sky Banke Jogan He who has become a jogan Come come jogan become a prem jogan The eyes of the beloved met When the eyes met, I found peace Dear When the eyes met, you too quenched the thirst of your heart I have become a prem jogan I have become a prem jogan I spent the whole rain with my love I spent the whole rain with my love Become a prem jogan Beautiful my love and walk becoming a prem jogan Film- Mughal-e-Azam Cast- Madhubala and Dilip Kumar Music Director- Naushad Lyricist- Shakeel Badayuni Singer- Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Song: Oh love long live In the path of loyalty, the lover's Eid happens Celebrate, love gets martyred Long live! Long live! Oh, love long live! You are free from the chains of wealth, You live in the temple and the mosque, You and you are the only one in the faiths You are in the tunes of the flute and you and you are the only one in the azaans Because of your strength the world of religions and faiths is inhabited Long live! Long live! Oh, love long live! The storm of love cannot be stopped, The blood of love cannot flow through the walls of hatred Lovers die by daggers and swords, but the memories remain alive Long live! Long live! Oh, love long live! If love rebels then it changes the direction of the world Sets fire to the palaces and leaves the throne Puffs his chest out Plays with death, and doesn't complain Long live! Long live! Oh, love long live! Whose religion is crown and rule, then where is his faith He who does not have love in his heart is a stone, not a human being The enemy of love Come to your senses, you will be destroyed Long live! Long live! Oh, love long live! Film- Mughal-e-Azam Starring- Prithviraj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar Music Director- Naushad Lyricist- Shakeel Badayuni Singer- Mohammad Rafi

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