The classic movie Mughal-e-Azam has been turned into a spectacular stage musical. The timeless love story of Prince Salim and the courtesan Anarkali is the stuff of legends. For the love of this beautiful young woman, Salim rebelled and went to war against his father, Emperor Akbar. With the glamour of Manish Malhotra costumes, technical expertise from Broadway and original hit songs such as Pyar Kiya toh Darna Kya and Teri Mehfil Mein Kismet Aazma Kar, the production promises to be an exhilarating experience. This is one of the best plays in NCPA Theatre, and it is surely going to dazzle you and leave you speechless by the end of it.
The casting is spot on; it really couldn’t be more right, with dictions of Urdu almost perfect, you could see Javed Akhtar shining in the crowd. During Barwe’s performance of Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya, she truly became Anarkali – not the one which Madhubala played, but her own version of Anarkali and such astonishing performance cannot be unseen. Ashima Mahajan as Bahar and Barwe as Anarkali perform song after song, live, complete with the classical technicalities championed by no less than Lata Mangeshkar and Shamshad Begum.
Very few faults can be found with Feroz Khan’s Mughal-E-Azam. Restraining from the excessive use of corners of the stage, which sometimes blocks monologues completely from the sides of the auditorium, it perhaps sets new standards for this theatrical show. Also, how slowly everyone walks off the stage after a scene finishes, the play has managed to do what the movie did for cinema; improvise on the quality and scale in every aspect of a theatre production.
While the dialogues, the songs and the story have been evaluated by time to be a thundering success and classic in their own right, the theatre has guaranteed a good show. The play lifts the burden gracefully and succeeds in giving the audience it’s own, new set of timeless memories from when they watched Mughal-E-Azam the first time during 60’s. This is one of the best plays in Mumbai and the best of what NCPA Theatre has to offer you.