Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5  
Mughal-E-Azam (The Mogul) (1960)
PG

As far as classic films go, "Mughal-E-Azam" is epic in every sense of the word - massive budget, 17 years in the making, huge cast, and just over three hours of your life given over to watching it.

Remarkable even by today's standards, and even more so bearing in mind it was made over 40 years ago.

Based on an unauthenticated legend, it follows the fate of Prince Saleem (Kumar), son of Emperor Akbar (Kapoor), who meets the disapproval of his father when he falls for the beautiful court dancer Anarkali (Madhubala).

Disgusted that his son wants to marry below himself - with the implications this would have for the court - the Emperor forbids Saleem from seeing his love.

But Saleem is willing to give up the throne for Anarkali and rebels, causing his father to do everything in his power to kill the romance and crush his son.

Not a great deal of plot to stretch over such a long time scale, you'd think, but the film's forbidden love premise is a deceptively simple one, allowing director K Asif to weave deeper moral conflicts into the tale and build up the thematic resonances to great effect.

Central to this idea is the conflict between love and duty, embodied by Saleem wishing to pursue his desire, and conversely by Emperor Akbar's dedication to the sanctity of the empire, even at the expense of his relationship with son.

With the increasingly high profile of Bollywood cinema over recent years, "Mughal-E-Azam" will hopefully get the attention amongst mainstream audiences that it deserves.

A benchmark film for both Indian cinema and cinema grandeur in general, it's a credit to Asif's dedication that the film remains one of the most memorable Bollywood films around today.

"Mughal-E-Azam" is re-released in UK cinemas on Friday 25th October 2002.

End Credits

Director: K Asif

Writer: Aman , Kamal Amrohi, K Asif, Wajahat Mirza, Ehsan Rizvi

Stars: Dilip Kumar, Madhubala , Prithviraj Kapoor, Durga Khote, Nigar Sultana, Ajit

Genre: Bollywood, Drama

Length: 197 minutes

Original: 1960

Cinema: 25 October 2002

Country: India

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