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 (subraman@cs.umn.edu) - first part
#	     Umesh Garg (garg@neon.helios.nd.edu) - second part
# Source: Part 1: Filmfare 
# Authors: 
#         Part 1: Roshmila Mukherjee
#         Part 2: Umesh Garg

== 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 director K.Asif. -- Article: Making of Mughal-e-Azam Source: Filmfare 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- resistance. 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 Naushad. 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 was 6am". == Article: Making of Mughal-e-Azam - Part II. Posted by: garg@neon.helios.nd.edu (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 hoga.." -Umesh ==
From the RMIM Article Archive maintained by Satish Subramanian