The title before the start of the film reads "The main characters of this picture are drawn from history but the plot and the incidents are fictitious", thereby giving the makers complete licence to totally fabricate the events of the life of India's first female ruler, but that really doesn't matter.
It starts off looking worryingly like a religious picture with groups of people going off on a pilgrimage, but fear not, after five minutes of this things pick up as we are suddenly transported to the royal palace and introduced to tomboy Hindustani Princess Razia (Nirupa Roy), her chubby drag queen brother (really!) Prince Feroz (Agha), and her evil other brother Prince Seemab (Nisar Ahmad Ansari).
Razia is carrying on an illicit relationship with war hero Altunia (Jairaj bad hair day), but he mistakes her friendship with faithful servant Yakut (Kamran) to be something more, and goes off to rule the Punjab.
When the old Emperor dies, about an hour in, with both his sons in disgrace, he names Razia to be his successor, which given the Indian belief that women should be subservient to men causes no end of problems.
It takes Yakut's death to reunite Razia and Altunia, but then they still her rebel brothers to contend with.
The songs are quite delightful, the performances strong, the pace pretty hectic despite the length, and the melodrama quite hysterical if a little confusing in parts. Pretty much all you could want from a 60's Bollywood picture.
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