Mughal-e-Azam: The Musical
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Mughal-e-Azam is a musical based on the 1960 movie of the same name. It has been directed by Feroz Abbas Khan and produced jointly by Shapoorji Pallonji and the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA). The show created new benchmarks in theatre production in India and has taken it to an entirely new level gaining plenty of national and international recognition. It also happens to be India’s first grand-scale Broadway-style musical. The show has received rave reviews from the media, the entertainment industry, and the corporate world. In 2017, it won 7 out of the 14 Broadway World India Awards including Best Play, Best Director for Feroz Abbas Khan and Best Costume Design…show more content… Asif classic from 1960 was inspired by a play called Anarkali, written in Lahore in 1922 by Pakistani dramatist Imtiaz Ali Taj. According to director Feroz Abbas Khan, “It(Mughal-e-Azam) belonged to theatre. So it’s far more exciting that you’re taking that story and bringing it back to theatre.” Prior to Mughal-e-Azam, Khan was known for minimalistic productions and as a director, he felt like challenging that and getting out of his comfort zone. Khan has described how the show had all the essential elements of a musical - a terrific story, a great conflict, and extraordinary music.
In the glorious era of the Mughals, Emperor Akbar's desire of a son is fulfilled when his wife, Jodhabai, gives birth to Salim, who grows up to be a spoiled brat filled with disrespect and self-indulgence. Consequently, he's sent off to war in Akbar's army and returns as a reformed person with perseverance and discipline fourteen years later. Salim, now a young man, falls in love with Anarkali, a lowly courtesan. Bahar, a dancer who covets the love of the Prince, is filled with jealousy upon discovering the secret affair and exposes it to Akbar. The emperor, full of royal pride, vehemently disapproves of the relationship and imprisons Anarkali, which leads Salim to declare an open rebellion against him. The war between father and son changes the lives of everyone in the empire threatening the foundations…show more content… In the 100 shows of Mughal-e-Azam, lip-syncing to pre-recorded songs has been strictly avoided. With a budget of 1.5 crore, the original Mughal-e-Azam was the biggest grand-scale production of Indian cinema at the time, and recreating it required a similar amount of budgeting. Deepesh Salgia, director of the Shapoorji Pallonji group, did not think twice before shelling out massive finances. He was quoted saying, “When it comes to the classic, we don’t talk of budget.” With the creative genius of Khan and the massive financial backing of Shapoorji Pallonji, Mughal-e-Azam began to recruit a strong technical team on board. Striving to achieve Broadway-style lighting for the play, Drama Desk Award-winning light designer David Lander was brought in. John Narun was recruited to handle projection design, whose experience working on Madonna’s concerts and handling productions at the Radio City Mega Hall, New York would come in handy. Designer Neil Patel, a recipient of the Obie Award and Helen Hayes Award, took care of the production design for the show. Lander and Patel also won Broadway World India awards for their immaculate work in Mughal-e-Azam. The clothing had to be selected keeping the scale and authenticity of the project, hence, experienced Bollywood designer