How often do you get to see a Broadway-like spectacle in India? Besides Disney’s Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast, none of the plays in India have managed to match international standards. Feroz Abbas Khan, a theatre veteran seized this opportunity and decided to adapt K. Asif’s classic film, Mughal-E-Azam, into a play. Produced by Shapoorji Pallonji, Mughal-E-Azam is easily the grandest ever play to be showcased in the country.
The story as you know is based on Prince Salim and courtesan Anarkali’s love story. The couple is madly in love and wants to get married, but Emperor Akbar refuses to accept a servant as his daughter-in-law. To prevent the wedding from taking place, the ruler of the Mughal empire even captures Anarkali and fights a war against his own son. You know the outcome if you have watched the film.
Feroz Abbas Khan worked on Mughal-E-Azam as he wanted to challenge himself after spending so many years in the field of theatre. Well, he has delivered and how! Even if you try to nitpick, there is not a single flaw in the play. At the start of the performance, you are informed that the actors would be singing live on stage, and that is reiterated during the interval as many curious members of the audience have their doubts. The dialogues are a mix of Urdu and Hindi and if you aren’t fluent in the language, they are tough to decipher. Kudos to the team for putting up two gigantic screens that display the dialogues in English. Though it may get a bit distracting to look at the screen and the stage at the same time, it will help you understand the dialogues better.
The highlight of Mughal-E-Azam is the dance sequences. While the voices of the lead actors are melodious, it’s the elaborate dances that gets the audience clapping on more than one occasion. In a particular sequence, the only sound in the auditorium is that of ghungroos. It goes on for about two minutes and the entire crowd starts cheering. Even as Anarkali croons the evergreen song Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya, people scream, “Once more!” Well, if only…
The actress who plays Anarkali shines the most as she gets to sing four songs. Besides her, Bahar and Prince Salim are impressive while Emperor Akbar and Jodha Bai give impactful performances. When the cast and crew are called on stage after the play, the audience simply can’t stop applauding. In its previous seasons, the shows for Mughal-E-Azam were sold out quickly, before it traveled to different parts of the world. So keep a tab on the events at BookMyShow to catch this play in your city.