It is the story of a doomed affair between Prince Salim and courtesan Anarkali, which captured hearts all over the world and in 2006 it became the first Bollywood film to get a release in Pakistan after a gap of 41 years.
Everything about the film was superlative – its lavish production, awesome battle scenes with thousands of camels, horses and soldiers (there was no computer-generated imaging those days), great acting by all the lead players Prithviraj Kapur (Akbar), Dilip Kumar (Salim) and Madhubala (Anarkali), grand ornate dialogues, and above all its timeless music composed by Naushad.
Like everything else about Mughal-e-Azam, the music also had to be opulent and of epic proportions. Naushad had the challenge of surpassing C Ramchandra’s Anarkali, which wasn’t easy. So if Tansen’s Ragini had to waft through the lovers’ secret rendezvous, it had to be who else but Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan singing Prem jogan ban ke.
If expensive sheesh mahal had to be erected just for the making of one song, it had to be it. The song Jab Pyar Kiya to Darna kya is an eternal metaphor for a lover’s defiance of a stubborn authority. The Emperor Akbar’s rage at this challenge, the mother Jodha Bai’s (Durga Khote) understanding the gravity of the situation and Salim’s surprised admiration at Anarkali’s courage are unforgettable images from this song.
Mohe panchayat pe Nandlal ched gayo re (Lata) enacted so beautifully on the screen by Madhubhala remains unsurpassed. Shakeel Badayuni has been credited as the lyricist of this song too. As a matter of fact, this is a much older traditional composition, predating Shakeel Badayuni’s arrival by several years.
You’ve watched this movie or no, we are very sure you must’ve at-least-once Heard the iconic songs from the iconic film.