This film was 15% technicolour and 85% B&W!

And the film is none other than Mughal-e-Azam! Not very surprising considering the facts I am about to shower on you lucky people. Hehe.

Directed by K.Asif over ten (yes TEN!) long years, this film is a true saga in every sense. Once colour films became really popular, Asif wanted to re-shoot the complete film in colour. His distributors wouldn’t hear of it, so a consensus of sorts,albeit weird, was reached. Only two songs and a 30 minute climax were shot in technicolour, and the rest was left black and white! Imagine the audience’s surprise when Madhubala suddenly jumps out in vibrant hues…And hey, did I mention that the song “Ae Mohabbat Zindabad” sung by Rafi Saab had a chorus of 100 singers? Can you think how difficult it must be to get a 100 people to sing TOGETHER?! I was floored!

Prithviraj Kapoor who played Akbar, used to stand in front of the mirror and practice his dialogue so that he could get into the character’s mind. Method acting of those times, one could say.

A word on how ridiculously expensive the film was, even for its times. On the other hand, it goes to show what a perfectionist K. Asif was. So here it is – even by comparison with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas, this is to date one of the most expensive films ever made. Tailors from Delhi for the costumes, jewellers from Hyderabad, craftsmen for crowns from Kolhapur, ironsmiths from Rajasthan for weapons and footwear from Agra. And oh, that’s not all. A HUGE army had to be formed, so 2000 camels, 4000 horses and 8000 troops were also hired for the battle scenes. Altogether, the cost of the film is <wait for it…> 1.5 whopping crores! Translated to present day cash that is around 39 crores. That’s aaaall.

And guess what? (This is really funny because my father is in the army) Many of the soldiers were taken on loan from the then Indian Army 😀 which by the way, rarely happens now.

Talk about a grand scale! Mughal-e-Azam definitely wins the prize!

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16 thoughts on “This film was 15% technicolour and 85% B&W!

  1. Madhubala really looks beyond any comparison in this movie. And what chemistry between her and Dilip Kumar. The movie made Saleem-Anarkali immortal, our own Romeo Juliet.

    • i know!!! At first, i thought “Dilip Kumar and Madhubala” naah.. but i found this photograph online, and you should take a look at it! it’s fanTAStic!
      As an idea, i am plannin to upload some really nice b&w pics i found, something ppl might wanna take a look at.. vintage album of sorts..lets see 🙂

  2. Great Blog Neha! Hmmm… Mughal-E-Azam, this is one of the rare Bollywood movies I’m dying to watch.

    Its wonderful that you’re writing about Classic good ol’ movies than the filth Bollywood churns out these days, which is sooo the reason I stay away from it.

    • hey lisa, this is one of those classics like Casablanca that you can’t afford to miss! And well, the new b’wood movies aren’t all bad really! There are a few gems, but the reason i wanted to write this blog is that there are a whole lot of ppl talkin about the latest blockbusters, but there are hardly any who talk about these masterpieces!

      • U bet! Haven’t read anything like it. Its really interesting how you find and also put together all this absolete information 😛

  3. heyyy!! this is what you call a brilliant piece of work.. i love the detailing which is very apt and crisp. good going neha!! looking forward to more of it.. 🙂

  4. Well written Neha…
    But I think this post is incomplete without the famous dialogue…

    “Aftab ki roshni poore jahan ko roshan karti hai, fir aftab ne kyu takleef ki???”

    Love this filmmm……

  5. There is one more story add to the greatness of this film which veteran Music director Naushad woudl always tell. They wanted to film the song on Tansen. While thinking of a suitable singer for GREAT TANSEN, Naushad suggested the biggest towering talent at that time “Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khaan”. Both K. Asif and Naushad went to him. Ustadji first denied saying he never sing for films. But K. Asif kept on insisting. At the end Ustadji asked for four to five times more money as compared to that time just to get rid of this producer. Ustadji was sure that after hearing such a big amount K Asif will leave the place. But to his surprise he immediately agreed and now we get to see ” Prem Jogan Ban Ja” in Moghul E Azam sung by Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan for Tansen. 🙂

  6. Teri mahfil mein kismat aajma kar ham bhi dekehenge, these are great lines from a great film. The movie is mindblowing. Thanks for another good take

  7. Apart from Bade Ghulam Ali episode, there is a scene in the movie which shows diamonds dropping on a floor. Can you believe it that those were all REAL diamonds? Asif saab wanted them since glass diamonds would have broken to pieces.

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