Listening to: Mughal-E-Azam (1960)

Mughal E AzamA prince, the heir apparent of a vast empire, falls in love with a slave, a dancing girl, and wants to make her his future Empress. The Emperor, his father, puts a stop to it. This legend  about Salim (later known as Jehangir), the son of Akbar, and Anarkali has caught the imagination of generations of Indians. I have a post on Anarkali, another film made on the same story. Mughal-E-Azam is a much better version with better production, better actors and better music.

But before I say more – this is not an unbiased review. Some films have such an epic status that they cannot be viewed in an unbiased manner. Can one ever criticize Ben Hur, the Ten Commandments or Gone with the Wind? Mughal-E-Azam has the same status and I can only view it with awe.

Madhubala as Anarkali glows and dances her way into our hearts. Dilip Kumar is dark and intense as only he can be and delivers some wonderful lines.  It is indeed poignant that Madhubala and Dilip were in fact doomed lovers in real life as well; with life echoing the film, Madhubala’s father was opposed to the match. Prithviraj Kapoor is majestic as Akbar and Durga Khote gives great support as Jodha Bhai as does Nigar Sultana as Bahaar.

There are some clever touches throughout the film. The sculptor as the voice of truth, the observer, is nicely integrated. A glimpse of Salim as a spoilt little boy makes us wonder if by fighting a war with his father for his slave girl, is he just being a spoilt little man? It also made me think of Edward VIII who abdicated the British throne for an equally unsuitable woman. Anarkali first comes into the court with anklets tinkling; this is nicely contrasted when she comes later in the movie with chains clanging. In the beginning, the story revolves around her but in the later half, she seems to become no more than a pawn in the ego-game between father and son. The father-son fight for supremacy was not so extraordinary in those times; in real life, Salim will go on to blind his own son in a political move.

Dialogues are impressive and kept me on my toes, given that my Urdu is not so good. The subtitles were indeed useful. Often, I forgot about the story and just enjoyed the words, like for example when Salim faces Akbar with या परवर दिगारे आलम से आप ने मुझे इसी लिए माँगा था कि ज़िन्दगी मुझे मिले और उसके मालिक आप ? साँसें मेरी हों और दिल के धडकनों पे आप का कब्ज़ा रहे ? दीन-ए-इलाही क्या मेरी ज़िन्दगी आप की दुआओं का कर्जा है जो मुझे आंसुओं से अदा करना पड़ेगा ?

The music by Naushad is extraordinarily beautiful and  Shakeel Badayuni has written beautiful poetry in the form of lyrics. But it is Lata who makes this album a triumph with her absolutely impeccable singing.

  • More Panghat Pe Nandalal – Lata Mangeshkar. A slow and incredibly sweet song with nice lyrics to which the stunning Madhubala dances enticingly. It is unusual to have a slow song which sounds so happy. Lata does great justice to  Raga Gara. The lyrics are simple but really nice!
    मोहे पनघट पे नंदलाल छेड़ गयो रे
    मोरी नाज़ुक कलैय्या मरोड़ गयो रे
    कंकरी मोहे मारी गगरिया फोड़ डाली
    मोरी साडी अनाड़ी भिगो गयो रे
    नयनों से जादू किया जियरा मोह लिया
    मोरा घुंघटा नज़रिया से खोल गयो रे
    Dilip Kumar emotes falling in love so well with just his eyes that my heart gave a little flip!   Open-mouthed smileRed heartRed heart
  • Shubh Din Ayo – Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Only part of the song seems to have been used in the film. It did not catch my attention.I don't know smile
  • Teri Mehfil – Lata Mangeshkar and Shamshad Begum. A qawwali with female voices, the lyrics are excellent and beautifully illustrate the feelings of both ladies. Bahar says
    ‘मोहब्बत करने वालों का है बस इतना ही अफ़साना
    तड़पना चुपके चुपके आहें भरना घुट के मर जाना
    किसी दिन ये तमाशा मुस्कुरा कर हम भी देखेंगे’
    ’The story of those who love is to suffer quietly, sigh deeply and die silently. One day I too will watch this act out with a smile’.
    and she goes on to try and destroy the grand romance. Anarkali likewise says
    ‘मोहब्बत हमने माना ज़िंदगी बरबाद करती है
    ये क्या कम है के मर जाने पे दुनिया याद करती है
    किसी के इश्क़ मे दुनिया लुटाकर हम भी देखेंगे’
    ’I agree that love destroys life. But isn’t it enough that once you die the world will remember you? I too will like to see how it is to lose my life in the name of love’. See footnote for lyrics. An important song in the narrative and truly memorable.Open-mouthed smileRed heartRed heart
  • Hamen Kash Tumse – Lata Mangeshkar. Slow song. A little confusing because though there is no need to be sad, it sounds very sad. I don't know smile
  • Prem Jogan Banke – Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. This classical song was sung by the illustrious Maestro in raag Sohni. Very touching, deep. Love it without reservations. There is an interesting story connected with this song, click here to read. Open-mouthed smileRed heartRed heart
  • Ae Ishq Yeh Sab Duniya Wale – Lata Mangeshkar. I don’t remember this song from previous viewings – and I know why! Not included in the colour version. Disappointed smile
  • Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya – Lata Mangeshkar. The combination of memorable lyrics, great melody, Lata’s voice, Madhubala’s dance and a great set makes this THE iconic song of this film. The defiant परदा नहीं जब कोई खुदा से बंदों से परदा करना क्या (When there is no hiding from God, why hide before men?) is a defining moment. See footnote for lyrics. Open-mouthed smileRed heartRed heart
  • Mohabbat Ki Jhooti – Lata Mangeshkar. How effortlessly and sweetly Lata’s voice traverses the octave! Lovely sad song.  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Bekas Pe Karam Kijiye – Lata Mangeshkar. A lovely little prayer song. Open-mouthed smile
  • Ae Mohabbat Zindabad – Mohammad Rafi. This is the message song and has a rousing, political style with a chorus, it is said, of a hundred voices. I am not sure I like it much.  I don't know smile
  • Jab Rat Ho Aisi Matwali – Lata Mangeshkar. Beautiful poetry, Kudos to Shakeel Badayuni for writing these lovely words.
    नगमों से बरसती है मस्ती छलके हैं खुशी के पैमानेआज ऐसी बहारें आयीं है कल दिन में बनेंगे अफसाने
    अब इस से ज़्यादा और हसीन ये प्यार का मौसम क्या होगा
    जब रात है ऐसी मतवाली फिर सुबह का आलम क्या होगा  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Khuda Nigehban Ho – Lata Mangeshkar. The farewell song, sad. But not gripping.Smile

This album would probably feature among the All-Time-Best-Top-10 from Bollywood. To listen to the whole album, click here.

For my selection of the day, I cannot but present the iconic song of the film first :

Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya

Teri Mehfil : Because I like Qawwalis and because the lyrics are outstanding,

If you’ve caught the Mughal-E-Azam bug and want to listen to two more outstanding songs :

More Panghat Pe Nandalal : For Madhubala’s dance and Dilip Kumar’s expression.

Prem Jogan Ban Ke : For the pleasure of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan’s singing and for the simmering and sultry chemistry between Madhubala and Dilip Kumar.

 


 

Footnote (Lyrics) :

Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya

इन्सान किसी से दुनिया में इक बार मुहब्बत करता है
इस दर्द को लेकर जीता है, इस दर्द को लेकर मरता है

प्यार किया तो डरना क्या जब प्यार किया तो डरना क्या
प्यार किया कोई चोरी नहीं की छुप छुप आहें भरना क्या

आज कहेंगे दिल का फ़साना जान भी लेले चाहे ज़माना
मौत वही जो दुनिया देखे घुट घुट कर यूँ मरना क्या

उनकी तमन्ना दिल में रहेगी, शम्मा इसी महफ़िल में रहेगी
इश्क़ में जीना इश्क़ में मरना और हमें अब करना क्या

छुप न सकेगा इश्क़ हमारा चारों तरफ़ है उनका नज़ारा
परदा नहीं जब कोई खुदा से  बंदों से परदा करना क्या


Teri Mehfil :

तेरी महफ़िल मे किस्मत आज़मा कर हम भी देखेंगे
घड़ी भर को तेरे नज़दीक आकर हम भी देखेंगे
अजी हाँ हम भी देखेंगे

तेरी महफ़िल मे किस्मत आज़मा कर हम भी देखेंगे
तेरे कदमों पे सर अपना झुका कर हम भी देखेंगे
अजी हाँ हम भी देखेंगे

बहारें आज पैगाम-ए-मोहब्बत लेके आयीं हैं
बड़ी मुद्दत मे उम्मीदों की कलियाँ मुस्कुराईं हैं
गम-ए-दिल से ज़रा दामन बचाकर हम भी देखेंगे
अजी हाँ हम भी देखेंगे

अगर दिल गम से खालि हो तो जीने का मज़ा क्या है
ना हो खून-ए-जिगर तो अश्क पीने का मज़ा क्या है
मोहब्बत मे ज़रा आंसू  बहाकर हम भी देखेंगे
अजी हाँ हम भी देखेंगे

मोहब्बत करने वालों का है बस इतना ही अफ़साना
तड़पना चुपके चुपके आहें  भरना घुट के मर जाना
किसी दिन ये तमाशा मुस्कुरा कर हम भी देखेंगे
अजी हाँ हम भी देखेंगे

मोहब्बत हमने माना ज़िंदगी बरबाद करती है
ये क्या कम है के मर जाने पे  दुनिया याद करती है
किसी के इश्क़ मे दुनिया लुटाकर हम भी देखेंगे
अजी हाँ हम भी देखेंगे

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Filed under Bollywood 60's Music, Lata Mangeshkar, Shamshad Begum

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