Mughal-e-Azam, 1st Indian film in Pak. in 41 yrs

New Delhi, April 23 (UNI) Emperor Akbar and Anarkali have pipped Shah Jahan and Mumtaz in the race to hit Pakistani theatres!

Even as there was widespread buzz in recent weeks that Akbar Khan’s ‘Taj Mahal-An eternal Love Story’ would be the first Indian film to make it to Indian theatres on April 28, K Asif’s ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ quietly hits the Pakistan theatres on Saturday, thus becoming the first film to be released in Pakistan after 41 years.

Akbar Asif, son of the late K Asif who produced and directed the legendary classic, said the film would be premiered today at Pakistan’s Gulistan cinema.

The film’s premiere, the preparations for which began late yesterday, was being held for selected government officials, socialites and other important personalities. As part of the preparations for the film’s premiere, Gulistan Cinema was decorated with a special set designed by Tanveer Fatima. Mughal-e-Azam’ thus becomes the first film to successfully open the cinematic gates of Pakistan for Bollywood films.

Considering that the London-based Akbar Asif had planned a grandiose release for ‘Mughal-e-Azam’, including a hunt to find a new Anarkali through a major television hunt spreading over six months, the quiet move to release the film comes as a surprise. Initially, the film was to hit the theatres in Pakistan on June 2 amid grand celebrations. Elaborate plans had been made to release the film in the presence of actors from around the globe and royalty, complete with fireworks from Japan.

Infact, Asif’s initial plans were to make the release as grand as the epic film itself.

However, when it became evident that Akbar Khan’s ‘Taj Mahal’ would beat ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ in the race to hit the Pakistani theatres by releasing on April 28, Akbar Asif dropped plans for a grandiose release as he wanted his film to be the first Indian cinematic venture to hit theatres in the neighbouring country.

With this thought, Akbar Asif quietly moved his papers with the Pakistan government and finally the decision to have Mughal-E-Azam as the first film to be screened in Pakistan came through.

“The move to ensure that ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ turned out to be the cultural bridge between India and Pakistan was to fulfill my father’s dream of getting Mughal-E-Azam to be the first film to get permission to be screened in Pakistan,”Asif said.

Source: The Hindu
http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/009200604230352.htm

R E L A T E D

Pakistan allows showing of Indian films after 6 decades
Last Updated Sun, 23 Apr 2006 15:44:48 EDT
CBC Arts

Film lovers lined up at theatres in Lahore, Pakistan, on Sunday to see the first Indian movie allowed to be screened in the country for almost 60 years.

Mughal-e-Azam, or The Great Mogul, is an historical romance made in 1960 in Mumbai but set in Lahore at the time when Muslim leaders ruled India. The story of a doomed love affair between a prince and a slave girl has been dubbed the India’s answer to the American Civil War epic Gone With The Wind.

Pakistani theatres are forbidden from showing Indian films, but the government bowed to lobbying from the film industries in both countries. Indian movies are available through pirated videotapes and discs and some independent cable stations show them late at night.

“I’ve seen it a dozen times on video, but watching Mughal-e-Azam on the big screen was special,” said Abdul Waheed, 75, after buying his ticket for the first screening of the classic in Pakistan.

Members of Pakistan’s film industry lobbied to have the film and another one, Taj Mahal, released in Pakistani cinemas.

Taj Mahal, a new Bollywood epic, will be released later this week in Pakistan.

Backers of Taj Mahal won over the government by donating millions of rupees to a relief fund for victims of the October 2005 earthquake in the disputed Kashmir region. About 70,000 people died and more than two million in the area are still homeless.

Those working in film on both sides of the border hope the relaxation of rules will lead to greater understanding between the two nations, who have teetered on the brink of war since 1947 when the British partitioned India, creating Pakistan.

Mughal-e-Azam took nine years to make and has special resonance with Muslims in both countries. There are approximately 145 million Muslims each in India and Pakistan and many who left Pakistan 59 years ago have since become prominent members of India’s movie-making industry.

Dilip Kumar, who plays the male lead in the film, was born Yusuf Khan in Peshawar, in northwest Pakistan.

“It is good that the government has allowed the screening of this historic movie. It will not only help revive Pakistani cinema, but it will also strengthen the peace process between Pakistan and India,” Nadeem Mandviwala, Mughal-e-Azam’s distributor, told Reuters.

Source: CBC.ca
http://www.cbc.ca/story/arts/national/2006/04/23/india-film-pakistan.html

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Posted in History, India, Pakistan, South Asia
One comment on “Mughal-e-Azam, 1st Indian film in Pak. in 41 yrs
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