Mughal-e-Azam’s Etawah connection - Hindustan Times
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Mughal-e-Azam’s Etawah connection

Feb 12, 2024 08:30 AM IST

Filmmaker Tigmanshu Dhulia speaks about the brilliant and charismatic K Asif on whom he plans to make a biopic, at Koshala Literature Festival in Lucknow

LUCKNOW: Movie buff or not, it’s hard to find someone who’s oblivious of “Mughal-e-Azam”, a classic from 1960 captivating people since generations. However, not many may be aware that its maker, K Asif, was born in Etawah.

Volunteers take a selfie-break on the final day of the lif fest in Lucknow on Sunday (Deepak Gupta)
Volunteers take a selfie-break on the final day of the lif fest in Lucknow on Sunday (Deepak Gupta)

While there aren’t many films or documentaries that talk about directors from that era at length, all-rounder Tigmanshu Dhulia’s upcoming project, a biopic, is likely to take a deep dive into Asif’s brief but brilliant cinematic career.

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Informally announcing his upcoming directorial venture, Dhulia, 56, said he was planning to make a movie on Asif. He was speaking on the final day of Koshala Literature Festival during a session, titled ‘Qissebaazi’, with professor Nishi Pandey here on Sunday.

“Though I’ve been asked not to talk much about it, but a movie on him (Asif) is in the pipeline,” said the director who has helmed movies like ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ and ‘Haasil’.

“Banunga to badi banunga (If I make a movie, it’ll be a grand one). The subject will be big but not the actor,” he said referring to the trend in recent movies.

“That man saw struggles. He studied only till class 5 but eventually became a successful film director and producer. He made the film (Mughal-e-Azam) in 12 years. He only made two-and-half movies in his lifetime but they were iconic. He was a godsend. Made technically perfect and critically acclaimed movies just like how Sachin was made to play cricket,” observed Dhulia. “I’m yet to decide the cast.”

He felt that biopics should not be made earlier than they should be.

On 1857 uprising, Irrfan and ‘qissebaazi’

Dhulia is also mooting a movie on the 1857 uprising. “It’s a big event of our composite culture. People from all faiths and communities rebelled together against the British. However, no one has worked on that subject very well.”

On being asked whether he wanted to make a film on Awadh’s Wazid Ali Shah, he said, “His is not a success story but a tragedy as he exiled in Metiabruz (Kolkata). He will be a part of the movie on the 1857 rebellion,” added Dhulia.

Dhulia also remembered his National School of Drama (NSD) friend Irrfan Khan, who played the titular role in ‘Paan Singh Tomar’, and called him the greatest actor of all times. He also spoke about Govinda with whom he had been badly wanting to make movies.

While talking about his love for ‘qissebaazi’ or storytelling and reminiscing about his younger days, Dhulia, who was born and brought up in the erstwhile Allahabad, said, “My family would go to the first day-first show (of new launches) and take me along. I watched Sholay in awe, and ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ 11 times.”

“Mine was a regular love story that started from Allahabad. I was in class 7 and my wife in class 8. “All my brothers married girls from the same locality thus we gave no chance to my parents to find brides for us,” he laughed.

Trip down memory lane

Kasturika Mishra and Deepak Balani, in their nearly hour-long session ‘Sound of Poetry’, performed excerpts from ghazals and old Hindi songs, and took the audience on a nostalgic trip of the musical history of Lucknow. They sang ‘Abhi na jao chhod kar’ by Sahir Ludhianvi and Fayyaz Hashmi’s ‘Aaj jaane ki zidd na karo’.

Curtains come down with some sher-o-shayari

The last evening of the three-day festival ended with a musical and mushaira performance by a city band, ‘Shadaj’. Members Harsh and Kartik’s rendition of ‘Wo jo tha kbhi mila nahi’ by Jaun Elia followed by ‘Hamesha der kar deta hu mai’ by Munir Niazi had people on their feet. Shayaris by Abhishek Shukla, Zia Alvi and Aqeel Nomani also performed.

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