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Mughal-e-Azam in Pak from June 2

The much-awaited release being seen as a catalyst in India-Pakistan relations.

india Updated: Mar 31, 2006 13:05 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

The historical epic film Mughal-e-Azam will finally hit Pakistan's cinemas June 2 with the much-awaited release being seen as a catalyst in India-Pakistan relations.

The official announcement was made at a press conference in Karachi that had an ornate Mughal Darbar theme befitting the occasion.

The official stamp came with the presence of Ziauddin Khattak, chairperson of the Central Board of Film Censors, who said: Mughal-e-Azam is a reflection of the common heritage our two nations have.

The movie is a timeless classic and now that it has been digitally preserved, re-mastered and coloured, is sure to be enjoyed by viewers... and is a glorious tribute to the Muslim rule in the sub-continent."

Nadeem Mandviwalla, head of Mandviwalla Entertainment, the official distributors of the film in Pakistan, said: "The showing of Mughal-e-Azam in Pakistan, is historically, no less significant than the film itself.

It is an opportunity for, and is the best catalyst, for the revival of cinema in Pakistan, at the same time cementing relationships between India and Pakistan."

Mughal-e-Azam is K Asif's rendition of the tragic love story of Prince Salim and a humble courtesan, Anarkali, with Akbar as a father and emperor who, bound by his principles as a ruler, is opposed to the union.

The film, featuring Dilip Kumar as Prince Salim, Madhubala as the beautiful courtesan and Prithviraj Kapoor as Akbar, was nine years in the making and broke all box office records at the time of its release.

The film's resurrection in colour is a triumph of Indian IT.

Deepesh Salgia of Sterling Investment Corp India, project director for the restoration of Mughal-e-Azam, explained some of the technical details involved in digitising and re-mastering the film.

He said the team opted for specialised software developed in India to enhance the 300,000 frames of movie time, over commercially available, off-the-shelf software such as Adobe.

The research for the project took almost a year-and-a-half while the process of restoration spanned 13 months.

Also present was Saad Shiraz, son of Shiraz Ali Hakim, the original director of the film till 1944 when Asif took over, and Naeem Tahir, son-in-law of Imtiaz Ali Taj whose theatrical rendition of Anarkali was the inspiration for Asif.

Khattak said any profits from the movie would be donated to charitable causes in Pakistan.

A short clip on the worldwide launch of Mughal-e-Azam was shown introducing K Asif.

The environment created at the conference was that of a palace court during the Mughal period complete with Mughal era crockery and mirrors.

The press conference saw a re-enactment of the Mughal Emperor Akbar and his wife entering the Mughal court followed by an actor announcing the guests of honour as they took their seats.

First Published: Mar 31, 2006 13:05 IST