The greatest Indian movie made on the Salim-Anaarkali saga is unarguably Mughal-e-Aazam (1960). It can be considered as one of the best movies ever made not just in India but all over the world. Legendary director Kareem Aasif took 15 long years in bringing the journey of this epic movie from conception to its release and its making saw many ups and down during this time period. When Mughal-e- Aazam was made, producer M.Kunchakko used the same theme and came up with a Malayalam movie. This movie based on the love story of Mughal prince Salim and an ordinary girl known as Anaarkali is Anaarkali (1966) which came after the audience six years post to the release of Mughal-e-Aazam.
The story is well-known. Prince Salim falls in love with an ordinary girl named as Naadira who is rechristened as Anaarkali. Mughal emperor Akbar isn't ready to allow his the only son to marry an ordinary girl. The clash of the father and the son on this issue, finally reaches a tragic culmination and the prince loses the love of his life forever.
However the significant thing about this love-legend is that it's not supported by the history despite the Mughal prince Salim who later got known as Emperor Jahaangir being a real personality because there is no mention of the character of Anaarkali anywhere in the history. That's why this tragic love legend is considered an imaginary story because the character of the female itself is imaginary. Quite naturally, the other events shown in the movies made on this story are also not considered as historical truths.
And this is the reason why there is a difference in the scripts of the movies made on this movie because not being based on historical truths, this theme is open to molding and twisting for the pens of different script-writers. The events shown in Anaarkali are different from those shown in Mughal-e-Aazam and though the climax is equally tragic in both the movies and takes shape in a similar way, it has been given another, final and more interesting twist in Mughal-e-Aazam whereas in Anaarkali, the obvious only is shown and conveyed to the audience.
Considering the quality of the story, this period movie should have been made on a large scale with high production value. However it is not as grandiose and magnificent when watched on the screen as we expect it to be so, especially when it is contrasted with Mughal-e- Aazam which came six years before to it. Technically, it is okay though. The story flows very well with the help of many melodious songs and impressive dialogs. The complete team including the director (M.Kunchakko) has worked hard and made a decent movie. Prem Nazir and K.R Vijaya were perhaps an ideal on-screen couple. They have come together in certain movies and have always complimented each other very well on the screen. The biggest example of their amazing on-screen chemistry is Shakunthala (1965), another period movie which came one year before to Anaarkali. However they look quite good in this movie too and perfectly fit the bill for their respective roles. Very pretty K.R Vijaya has done well in the title role whereas Prem Nazir was always an ideal choice for costume dramas. Other actors including Sathyan as Akbar are also well in place.
The greatest asset of this movie is undoubtedly the timeless music composed by Baburaj with the lyrics penned by Vayalar Ramavarmma. P.Susheela has given voice to most of the female songs including the immortal Nadhikalil Sundhari Yamuna, Yamuna, Yamuna. K.J Yeshudas has given voice to the male songs. Aruthe Aruthe, Bashpakudeerame, Chakravarthi Kumara, Ee Rathri Than Vijanathayil, Ezhu Chirakulla Theru, Mathalappoove, Mukila Simhame, Pranaya Ganam etc. are all real gems which the music-lovers can keep on listening to without getting tired. There is a song which features K.J Yeshudas and Balamuraleekrishna also.
Overall, Anaarkali is a nice entertaining movie made on the legend of Salim-Anaarkali. We will never be sure as to whether really there was some girl known as Anaarkali (it's said that her real name was Naadira) in the life of the Mughal prince Salim (later became famous as Jahaangir) or not. But those who believe in true love, will always consider it as real only. It's definitely some notches below the epic known as Mughal-e-Aazam, still it's worth watching. If you love its songs, then you will definitely like it.
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