Frequently filmed Mughal romance in which Prince Salim (P. Kumar) falls in love with the common Anarkali (Rai). In Imtiaz Ali Taj’s play of 1922 she was a slave girl (cf. Loves of a Mughal Prince, 1928); in Mughal-e-Azam, 1960, she is a court attendant. Director Jaswantlal alludes to his precursors by casting Sulochana, who played Anarkali in R.S. Choudhury’s famous 1928 version, as the hero’s mother. The Filmistan production does not acknowledge the play and claims to be a direct, unmediated treatment of the Mughal legend with story and script credited to the directors Hussain (Tumsa Nahin Dekha, 1957) and R. Saigal (Railway Platform, 1955). Constructed as a fantasy flashback, Jaswantlal opens the film with a big close-up of Rai’s lips before going on to the customary establishing shots that set the scene. Sustaining his emphatic use of close-ups throughout, the film intercuts emotional episodes with elaborate war scenes used like fillers in between dramatic sequences. On occasion, the visual flair detected by reviewers of Jaswantlal’s work for the Imperial Studio emerges in this Filmistan product: the slow crane movement when Akbar (Mubarak) is told of his son’s secession threat and the abrupt dimming of the lights when he is confronted by his brother-in- law, the Rajput Raja Man Singh (Puri). The music, which by convention dominates this genre, includes hits like Mangeshkar’s Yeh zindagi usi ki hai.
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This film was a big hit and was the highest grossing film of 1953. Read More