The song "Pyar Kiya To Darna Kiya" has an unusual history to it: it cost Rs. 10 million at a time when a film would be made for less than a million; it was written and re-written 105 times by the lyricist, Shakeel Badayuni, before the music director, Naushad, could approve of it; it was shot in the renowned Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors); and in those days of sound recording, editing and mixing, as there was no way to provide the reverberation of sound, Naushad had playback singer Lata Mangeshkar sing the song in a studio bathroom.
The first full feature-length movie to be revived/colorized for a theatrical re-release in the history of world cinema. It has been done for some Hollywood movies but only for re-release on home video.
With the advent of Jhansi Ki Rani in 1951, colour films became a revolution. K. Asif wanted to remake the whole film in colour, but when the distributors lost patience settled for having two songs and the film's 30-minute climax shot in Technicolor, with the rest of the film (85%) black-and-white. However, in November 2004, the whole movie was restored and colorized in a year-long process by the IAAA (Indian Academy of Arts and Animation) and re-released.
For the battle sequence, 2,000 camels, 4,000 horses and 8,000 troops were used, many of them soldiers on loan from the Indian Army. This was arranged through special permission through the Indian Ministry of Defence-a rare occurrence today. The soldiers came from the Jaipur regiment of the Indian army.
The heavy chains Madhubala wore in the film were authentic, not the lightweight models worn in those days. It was her greatest ordeal in the film and she was bedridden for days, nursing the bruises caused by wearing those chains.
This was (counting Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas) the most expensive film ever made in Indian history. Tailors were brought from Delhi to stitch the costumes, specialists from Surat-Khambayat were employed for the embroidery, Hyderabad goldsmiths made the jewellery, Kohalpur craftsmen designed the crowns, Rajasthan ironsmiths crafted the weapons, and the elaborate footwear was ordered from Agra. For the battle sequence, 2000 camels, 4000 horses and 8000 troops were used, many of them soldiers on loan from the Indian Army. Altogether the film cost Rs. 1.5 crores (38.29 crores in present terms).
Cinematographer R D Mathur had to experiment with lighting to shoot the famous Sheesh Mahal setting of Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya. He tried painting the mirrors with wax to check the glare, which worked but also made the visuals dull. He then tried placing strips of cloth strategically to create bounced lighting.
The movie was originally shot three times, once each for lips moving for Hindi, Tamil and English dialogs. The Tamil version of the movie did very poorly, so the dream of having Shakespearean actors from Britain doing the dubbing in English was dropped. In 2004, it was announced that after extensive search, no copies of the English version are available.
K Asif was bent on having Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali to provide the singing voice of Tansen in the film. Ustadji declined and was asked to name his price by the director. He asked for Rs 25,000 - a small fortune at the time - to put K Asif off. Not only did K Asif agree to the price quoted, he also paid Ustadji an advance fee. In the film, Ustadji sings two songs - Prem Jogan Ban Ke and Shubh Din Aayo Raj Dulara.
The song Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya was filmed in Technicolor and K Asif wanted the entire film to be re-shot in technicolour. But due to the impatience of distributors, K Asif released Mughal-e-Azam partially coloured. This song in itself was iconic. Shot at Sheesh Mahal, it cost Rs. 10 million at a time when a film would be made for less than a million. Not only that, it is also alleged that it was written and re-written 105 times by the lyricist, Shakeel Badayuni, before music director Naushad could approve of it. It is also alleged that when Asif approached Naushad, he gave him a briefcase full of money to compose memorable music. This seemed to anger the latter who threw the money. It was only when Naushad's wife intervened and played peacemaker did Naushad agree to come on board. In those days, as there was no way to provide a reverberating sound for songs, playback singer Lata Mangeshkar had to sing the song in a studio bathroom.
Another reason why the film piqued interest was because of Dilip Kumar and Madhubala's love story. The duo were engaged but called it off due to some differences. In his autobiography, the veteran was quoted saying that the director was trying to mend the situation for Madhubala when things soured between them. The iconic feather scene between the two has its own story. In his autobiography, Kumar further stated that the two were not even talking to each other while shooting that scene but worked as two professional artists. He recalled the late actress as someone who was vivacious and who could draw the star out of his shyness and reticence effortlessly.
Before every shot, Prithviraj Kapoor (who played Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar) would look into a full-length mirror. When director K Asif asked the reason for the odd behaviour, Kapoor said he did it to 'get under the skin of the character'.
For the scenes in which Madhubala is imprisoned, instead of using lightweight chains, real, heavy chains were used to tie her up, in order to make the scene look authentic. So much was her dedication that Madhubala would stand, shackled with these heavy chains, even in between shots, so that the pain shown in her face would look real. She was in pain for days after that, with many bruises caused by the chains.
Mughal-e-Azam's original cast featured Sapru, Chandramohan and Nargis. The film was shelved for five years when Chandramohan died, halfway through shooting, and then recast with Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Madhubala. Tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain was considered for the role of the young Prince Salim. The role eventually went to Jalal Agha. Decades later, Zakir Hussain made his acting debut in 1983's Heat And Dust and followed it up with an appearance in 1998's Saaz.
Mughal-e-Azam was the most expensive film made in Bollywood at the time and remained so for decades. No expense was spared for the elaborate costumes, which were stitched in Delhi and embroidered in Surat. The jewellery was made in Hyderabad, the crowns in Kohlapur, the weapons in Rajastha and the shoes in Agra. 2000 camels, 4000 horses and 8000 extras - some of them actual soldiers on loan from the Indian Army - were used in the battle scenes. The film cost a whopping Rs 1.5 crores - almost Rs 40 crores today - to make.
The song Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya cost Rs 10 million to make. It reportedly required 105 re-writes before music director Naushad gave it his approval. The only way Naushad could get the reverberation he wanted was to have Lata Mangeshkar sing the song in a studio bathroom.
K Asif wanted to shoot a Tamil and English versions of Mughal-e-Azam. The film was dubbed in Tamil and released as Akbar, but did so badly that the English version, with Shakespearean actors from England to dub, was dropped.
When bookings for the film opened, there was chaos and near-riots at Mumbai's famous Maratha Mandir. Fans reportedly waited in queue for days, with family members ferrying them food from home. The police had to intervene when the crowd, reportedly a 100,000 strong, became too unruly. The tickets were dockets containing photographs and trivia about the film and are now considered collector's items.
K. Asif 's magnum opus has gained a cult status over the years. Considered to be one of the most iconic and landmark films in the history of Hindi cinema, Mughal-E-Azam set the standards high. Starring Dilip Kumar, Madhubala and Prithviraj Kapoor, this epic is known for its direction, music, sets, costumes and also for the lead pair: Madhubala and Dilip Kumar. Sweeping all major awards, Mughal -E-Azam revolves around the story of Mughal Emperor Salim and his love for a court dancer - Anarkali and how their romance angers Salim's father Akbar. While this story is a popular one that was depicted with grandeur on the silver screen, here are some lesser known facts about the film.
According to an Imdb report, K Asif first considered Chandra Mohan, D.K. Sapru, and Nargis for the roles of Akbar, Salim and Anarkali before finalising on Dilip Kumar and Madhubala. Mughal-E-Azam was one of the only two films that Asif completed directing, the other one being Phool (1945). He left behind two unfinished productions: Sasta Khoon Mahenga Paani and Love and God. K Asif spared no expense when it came to his film. According to a report on Imdb.com, tailors were brought from Delhi to stitch the costumes, specialists from Surat-Khambayat were employed for the embroidery, Hyderabad goldsmiths made the jewellery, Kohalpur craftsmen designed the crowns, Rajasthan ironsmiths crafted the weapons, and the elaborate footwear was ordered from Agra.
Reportedly, Dilip Kumar was not the first choice for K Asif's magnum opus but the actor is said to have been convinced by the film's producer. The role of Anarkali was also allegedly offered to Suraiya but later went to Madhubala. It is said that the latter was suffering from a congenital heart disease at that time but continued shooting for the film. Prithiviraj Kapoor, who essayed the role of Emperor Akbar, took 19 retakes to get one scene right and he was even asked by the director to regain the weight he had lost to play Akbar's role. According to a report on Webcitation.org, tabla maestro Zakir Hussain was quoted saying that he was considered for the role of the young Salim in the film which eventually went to Jala Agha.
The film's conception began in 1944 but it took many years before the film was actually shot. It went through a series of changes. Firstly, the financier had backed out. Secondly, the cast went through several changes and the cost of production for one song was reportedly more than the entire budget of other films that were made at that time. It finally released in 1960 and is said to have broken all records at the box office. According to a report on En.wikipedia.org, the film had the widest release in India, something unprecedented before and people would queue up all day just to buy tickets. Further to reports, it became the highest grossing Bollywood film of that time, a position it retained consistently for 15 consecutive years.
For the iconic battle scene between Salim and Akbar in the film, 2000 camels, 4000 horses and 8000 troops were used and some soldiers from the Indian Army were borrowed too. Lord Krishna' statue in the film was made of pure gold. The film is said to have been shot three times, to get the lip movements correctly for the for Hindi, Tamil and English dialogues.
Madhubala's heavy jewellery in the film is said to have weighed a lot and would often leave the actress bruised and bedridden for days. According to a report on Movies.ndtv.com, the tickets were dockets that contained trivia and photographs of the film. The Tamil version of Mughal-E-Azam did not do well and the English version was subsequently scrapped. Director Asif wanted Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali to give the voice for Tansen in the film. When the latter refused, Aisf offered to pay him his price. When Ghulam Ali quoted Rs 25,000, Asif immediately agreed and the legend sang Prem Jogan Ban Ke and Shubh Din Aayo Raj Dulara.
In spite of being nominated for a Filmfare Award under the best actress category, Madhubala did not walk away with the award. In fact, it was given to Bina Rai for Ghunghat. What was shocking and rather surprising was that Dilip Kumar and Prthiviraj Kapoor were not even nominated for their performance. Even Naushad was nominated for a Filmfare under the music category but he lost out to Shanker Jaikishen for Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai. Art director A. K. Sayyad recreated the replica of the Sheesh Mahal and it took him two years to build it from scratch.