Mughal-E-Azam – Musical Play Review

By Shruti Vairagkar (L&T Howden)

Mughal-E-Azam is one of the grandest movies to be made in Indian Cinema. This spectacular movie directed by K Asif has been brought to stage by film and theatre director Feroz Abbas Khan along with producers Khushroo Santook from NCPA and Deepesh Salgia from Shapoorji Pallonji.

The story as shown in the movie has been recreated on stage – Prince Salim rebels against his father, Emperor Akbar due to his love for Anarkali, a court dancer. The dialogues, songs, and unfolding of events are similar to the movie. The only difference – everything is happening in front of your eyes. None of the songs were pre-recorded with the actors singing them on stage! One can hear the thumps of the feet and music of the ghungroos when the dancers perform Kathak in Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya and Mohe Panghat Pe.

The lighting and background of the stage have been designed with the help of experts from Broadway, costumes designed by Manish Malhotra, and choreography by Mayuri Upadhya, it is a delight for the senses. Visually stunning and moving performances by the cast, this musical play is a must watch for fans of this movie.

The dialogues which have been retained from the movie, were loosely translated into English and projected on the walls of the Auditorium for ease of understanding. I observed various audience members mouthing and whispering the dialogues with the most voluble ones being, “Kaanton ko murjhaane ka khauf nahi hota”, “Anarkali, Salim ki mohabbat tumhe marne nahi dega, aur hum tujmhe jeene nahi denge…”, “Yeh kaneez Jalal-ud-din Mohammad Akbar ko apna khoon maaf karti hai

My favourite part of the play was the performance of Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya song. Hearing it live, the choreography, the set with mirrors suspended from the top replicating the effect of the mirror set of the movie, and colours of the costumes left me spellbound.

The cast comprising professional theatre artists have polished their Urdu and learnt various skills for the play. A beautiful production, it is definitely worth a watch to experience live this timeless tragic tale of love.

Images Source – Websites of NCPA, Livemint, The Hindu, and DNA India

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