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Mughal-E-Azam is the mother of all films: SRK

After meeting legendary Hollywood filmmaker Martin Scorsese, Shah Rukh feels responsible to do his bit for Indian cinema, produces documentary on “the mother of all films”, Mughal-E-Azam.

bollywood Updated: Feb 26, 2011 14:15 IST
Hiren Kotwani

Actors are usually too preoccupied with their own interests to think of the larger good of cinema. However, Shah Rukh Khan begs to differ. The actor, who launched the documentary Mughal-E-Azam – A Tribute By A Son To His Father, on Thursday night, revealed that the idea to do his bit for the preservation of Indian cinema came during an interaction with acclaimed Hollywood filmmaker, Martin Scorsese, whom he met last year at the Berlin Film Festival, where his film My Name Is Khan was being screened.

"Martin spoke at length about how he wanted to preserve cinema before it’s too late. He also said that he wanted to preserve some Indian films made by directors like Ritwik Ghatak," recalls Khan, adding that hearing a Hollywood filmmaker talk about preserving Indian movies made him feel all the more responsible to do his bit for Indian cinema.

SRKThe thought eventually translated into action when Khan met Akbar Asif, son of the late legendary filmmaker, K Asif, in London, where he had gone to shoot his superhero fantasy flick, RA.One. "I was moved by the passion with which the family spoke about their father’s classic… not to forget their perseverance in fulfilling his dream of releasing Mughal-E-Azam in colour. Akbar mentioned that last year was the film’s 50th anniversary and that he wanted to pay a tribute to his father," says Khan.

Stating that he doesn’t have any commercial interest, SRK, producer of the documentary, adds, "My dad was chosen to play the role of a Pathan, but Asif saab ousted him as he performed badly. Eventually Ajit saab played that part. When I was young, my father would tell me that Asif saab told him to go back home and give birth to an actor," smiles Khan. He went on to say that when he faces obstacles while producing movies, he thinks of Mughal-E-Azam, which overcame all odds.

Even though he’s acted in remakes of films like Devdas and Don, the actor maintained that Mughal-E-Azam is the mother of all films. “Aur maa ka remake nahin hota (And mothers can’t be remade),” he says, adding, “The originality and passion of the filmmaker and the actors is so evident that it can’t be recreated.”

Apart from interviews with K Asif’s family, the documentary, in which Khan plays a narrator, also features Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra and Shahid Kapoor talking about the eternal classic. M F Hussain, who has created a series of paintings on the film, says in the documentary, “I loved the film immensely and really wanted to show the grandeur and power the film shows.”

When asked if he has shortlisted other films to be made into documentaries, Khan said that Indian cinema boasts of many such classics. “But we might lose the negatives which have been stacked for a long time and they could get spoilt. My motive behind making this documentary is that all of us should spend money to digitise such movies. Only then will we be able to preserve our heritage for a long long time to come,” he says.