New Delhi, 19 May-2014, IT: Muslims contributed to the Bharatiya Janata Party and Narendra Modi's…
Anubhuti Matta, Mumbai: Remember the Sheesh Mahal, Emperor Akbar’s mirrored hall that took your breath
away in the 1960 film Mughal-E-Azam? Now imagine it in real life, right in front of you – mirrors everywhere, and multiple reflections of girls swirling in colourful kurtas, executing their kathak movies in unison.
On October 21, Mughal-E-Azam, the doomed love story of Prince Salim and the courtesan Anarkali , will debut as a Broadway-style musical at the National Centre For The Performing Arts. It brings with it lavish costumes, roaring monologues, original and new songs performed live, and yes, the Sheesh Mahal.
The play, directed by Feroz Abbas Khan (who also directed the hit plays Tumhari Amrita and Mahatma vs Gandhi), is aiming to painstakingly recreate the film on stage and take it a step further. There will be six songs originally composed by Naushad, plus two new numbers created for the show. The 120 member cast and crew has been brought in from across India. And while the film’s director K Asif sourced the original costumes from Agra, Hyderabad and Surat, Khan’s play has roped in designer Manish Malhotra for the outfits, Emmy-nominated projection designer John Narun, award-winning lighting director David Lander.
The play’s ties to the film go further than what you’ll see on stage. Construction company, Shapoorji Pallonji, which produced the film 56 years ago, is co-producing the musical, along with the NCPA.For Khan, the play is a dream 14 years in the making; 2002 is when the film was digitally colourised and released to a new generation of viewers. “It was difficult to manage resources then—money, venue, cast and crew,” he says. “But now, the audience is also ready to experience theatre in more than just a small, informal setting.”
Today’s audience prefers younger, fitter actors too.