RMIM Archive Article "59".
From the RMIM Article Archive maintained by Satish Subramanian
# RMIM Archives..
# Subject: Making of Mughal-e-Azam's songs.
# (compiled from two separate postings)
# Posted by: Satish Subramanian (email@example.com) - first part
# Umesh Garg (firstname.lastname@example.org) - second part
# Source: Part 1: Filmfare
# Part 1: Roshmila Mukherjee
# Part 2: Umesh Garg
From the RMIM Article Archive maintained by Satish Subramanian
Article: Making of Mughal-e-Azam - Part I.
Source: Filmfare 1994
Author: Roshmila Mukherjee
Here is an interesting piece from a Filmfare article on
the making of Mughal-e-Azam. I am just extracting the pieces that
relate to the making of the music and songs of Mughal-e-Azam.
The contents of the other portions of this Filmfare article have
been more or less covered by Umesh Garg in his recent posting
on Mughal-e-Azam. (this article by Umesh is also appended below).
It is interesting to note, from this article, the involvement of
Naushad in various departments of the movie, along with movie's
Article: Making of Mughal-e-Azam
Author: Roshmila Mukherjee
Madhubala was an unforgettable Anarkali. And her portrayal of
Radha in "mohe panghat pe nandala chhed gayo re" continues to
mesmerise movie-goers. Surprisingly, the song was almost edited
out. "It's bakwas.. it'll ruin the film," thundered noted direc-
tor Vijay Bhatt after the recording. "Why show Akbar celebrating
Lord Krishna's birth?"
Music director Naushad argued that with Jodhabai present in the
Mughal court, it wasn't all that illogical. After discussions
with the panel of script writers, a line was incorporated in
Anarkali's introduction scene to Prince Salim. A courtier was
made to say "Aaj Krishna janmashtami hai aur Radha ke liye Anar-
kali theek rahegi." The song went on to become piece-de-
K.Asif wanted the best choreographer for the song. Naushad sug-
gested Lachchu Maharaj. And the great Kathak exponent burst into
tears the minute her heard the song. Asif was baffled. "Why is
he crying," he asked Naushad. "Tell him to start dancing."
Naushad took the dancer aside and asked him why he was weeping.
Lachchu Maharaj confided that his father, Alkaji Bindadin, had
been Nawab Wajid Ali Shah's darbari dancer. And "mohe panghat pe
nandalal" with nawab playing Krishna, was his favourite composi-
tion. "Hearing the number after all these years, I was
overwhelmed. It reminded me of baba".
It took Lachchu Maharaj five days to choreograph the number. His
Radha was lovely..but she was no classical dancer. So the camera
would zoom in on Madhubala for the close-ups. And one of Lachhu
Maharaj's boys doubled for the actress in the long shots. On
every one of those five days, there was an important visitor
across the border of the sets - Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He would
drive down from Worli to Mohan Studio and spend the day there
raptly watching the song being picturised.
For Salim and Anarkali it was love-at-first-sight. It's a moon-
lit night. The prince is caressing her cheek with a feather. "No
dialog," decided Asif. "Just a song playing in the background."
Tansen singing "prem jogan ban jaoo.." in raag Sohni. A purely
classical number which only an ustad could render.
Naushad suggested Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. But Ustadji didn't sing
for films. Asif was convinced he could make him change his mind.
One Sunday morning he drove down to the Ustad's house with
Ustadji hated Asif on sight. He took Naushad aside and
whispered, "Who is this man smoking so arrogantly? Doesn't he
know this is a musician's house? I can't sing for him." But the
director wasn't stymied. Flicking ash on the floor has said,
"You will sing. Just name your price." Affronted, the Ustad
mentioned a staggering sum, "Rs 25000!" Asif immediately handed
him Rs 10000 and promised to pay the rest on the day of the
recording. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan would sing!
On the day of the recording, he was there at the Mehboob Studio
on the dot. Glancing around the studio he thundered, "Where is
the gadda, chaddar, takiya? I can't sing like this!" Within
minutes, the studio was transformed into a baithak. The Ustad
started in the gamak taan but it sounded too heavy for a romantic
scene. When Asif suggested something softer, Ustadji called for
pack-up. "Show me the scene first, only then I will sing," he
said before leaving the baithak.
Fortunately the scene had already been shot. It was edited over-
night and Bade Ghulam Ali Khan saw it the next morning. One look
and he was fida over Madhubala. "Anarkali kaafi khubsoorat hai.
Shehzada bhi kaafi khubsoorat hai. The scene's been photographed
well," he nodded approvingly. He rendered the number four times
and each time the film had to be rewound and played. At the end
of the marathon session, all he had to say was, "Take whatever
you want.. Just see that it's good.".
However, K. Asif was not finished with the Ustad yet. Salim was
returning home after 14 years. Jodhabhai sends word to Tansen to
sing in a raag which would make Salim forget the sound and fury
of the cannon blasts. And Tansen meant going back to Bade Ghulam
Ali Khan. Another Rs 25000! "Shubh din aayo re" was recorded.
And only 15 second segment from it was retained!
Almost 20 songs were recorded for Mughal-e-Azam at the price of
Rs 3000 each. Each one was a classic. And yet, almost ten of
them were left out, including "Husn ki baraat chali" sung by
Lata, Shamshad Begum and Mubarak Begum because the scene where
Salim comes to the boathouse to give away awards to the court
singers was deleted from the film.
So were "akele mujhe chhod ke kahan chale re" and "aai ishq yeh
duniyawale bekaar ki baaten karte hain". Another hummable
Shamshad Begum song "chala ja re nami chhalakte hua" was also
never heard again because Anarkali never did send her prince a
love letter in a floating lotus.
There were times when Naushad wondered why he'd taken on the pro-
ject. He almost hadn't the first time K.Asif had approached him.
"I was upstairs in my music room. The family had strict instruc-
tions that I was not to be disturbed," Naushad reminisces. "But
who could stop Asifsaab? He entered the room and announced, 'I'm
making Mughal-e-Azam.' Immersed in my work I didn't hear him.
He repeated himself. I didn't react. Then he threw a bundle of
notes on my harmonium. I was livid. I glared at him. He still
insisted that I should compose the music for his film."
Meanwhile Rs 75000 lay scattered in the room. When the servant
came up with a trayful of tea, he was horrified. He rushed to
the music director's begum with the news that currency notes were
scattered all over. She shrugged, "Maybe they're counterfiet."
He insisted that they were real. She finally gathered the notes
unnoticed by her husband.
Today Naushad talks of the Mughal-e-Azam experience fondly. "I
remember composing "pyar kiya to darna kya". We had been experi-
menting all day and rejected two lyrics. It was almost midnight
when I remembered a folk song of East UP, "prem kiya kya chori
kari hai". It didn't take Shakeelsaab long to convert that into
a beautiful ghazal. By the time, we had the song wrapped up it
Article: Making of Mughal-e-Azam - Part II.
Posted by: email@example.com (umesh garg)
Actually, colored sequences (and, in fact, full color movies) had
been around in Indian cinema for quite a while before Mughal-e-
Azam came around (MOTHER INDIA and NAVRANG, for example!).
Mughal-e-Azam was made on such a grand scale that the producers
decided they could not afford to shoot it fully in color (there
were no color film processing facilities in India at that time
and the prints had to be sent to London for processing). An exam-
ple of the "scale" of the movie is the sequence when Queen Jodha-
bai grabs the pearl-string "curtain" and distributes the pearls
among her maids when prince Salim arrives to meet her--the
"motiyon kee ladiyon ka pardaa" was reported to have cost Rs 1
lakh (in the fifties!).
There is also a very interesting aside to the filming of the song
"Pyaar kiya to Darnaa kyaa". They constructed this very elaborate
"Sheesh Mahal" set for the song (at the cost of several lakhs of
rupees) but it was not clear how to set-up the lighting to film
the sequence. It seems the producers consulted some leading
western directors, including Sir David Lean, who told them that
it was absolutely impossible to film the sequence as the director
had in mind. Predictably the prodicers/financiers were mad. The
director, K. Asif, the story goes, closeted himself with the pho-
tographic people on his unit and came up with a way they thought
might work. they went ahead and shot the scene (both in color and
in black and white). They could see the results on the B&W ver-
sion right away; they were OK but not very impressive. The color
film was dispatched to London and arrived a month later. A very
private screening was held with only the producer, director,
director of photography, the main financiers and the main distri-
butors of the movie present. Every one waited with nervousness
and trepidation but once the scene unfurled, there was joy all
around. The main distributor is reported to have said something
to the effect that "hang the movie; just give me this song and I
will collect a crore of rupees just with it". And the rest, as
they say, is history. By the way, there was another color se-
quence in the movie too which depicted the last evening that
Anarkali spends with Salim (the song associated with that se-
quence was "Jab raat hai aisee matwaalee, to subah ka aalam kyaa