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Hunt begins for the new-age Anarkali

Forty-five years after K Asif's epic Mughal-e-Azam, his son Asif launches a TV talent hunt for the leading lady.

india Updated: Apr 19, 2006 17:28 IST

Forty-five years after K Asif's epic Mughal-e-Azam starring the beauteous Madhubala and dashing Dilip Kumar, the legendary filmmaker's son is launching a TV talent hunt for Anarkali, the leading lady.

Akbar Asif, a London-based millionaire, plans to find an Anarkali through his television extravaganza Akbar Asif Ko Anarkali Ki Talash.

Spread over six months, the TV show "aims to rock the South Asian television world", a release by the Akbar Asif Entertainment (UK)Ltdsaid.

Anarkali, the ladylove of rebellious Mughal prince Salim, was killed as per the legend. But in K. Asif's 1960 film, Mughal-e-Azam, Akbar lets Anarkali leave the country through a secret tunnel. Salim was told that Anarkali was dead.

  The Anarkali that was

"Through the Anarkali Ki Talash programme I want to bring the people of Pakistan and India together by creating a sense of friendship that would last beyond our lifetime," said Asif.

The programme will involve well-known international and Bollywood celebrities as judges and will be aired globally.

The winner of the talent hunt will net a cool Rs.11.10 million (about $246,000) and a film contract. One winner from India and one from Pakistan will get Rs.2.5 million ($55,300) each for guessing the name of the celebrity who will crown the winner.

Asif has already managed to get permission for screening of Mughal-e-Azam in Pakistan. The film, due for release June 2, is one of the three Bollywood movies being specially allowed by the Pakistan Government.

Asif said he was still negotiating with a major Pakistani TV channel for telecasting the show. He is also negotiating with an Indian TV network for broadcast of the programme in that country.

Asif believes his creation would be the "next big thing" to hit television in the subcontinent. "I hope it earns as much money as possible, as all the proceeds are promised to charity," he said.

First Published: Apr 19, 2006 16:22 IST