Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Mughal-E-Azam (1960)
(aka The Great Mughal)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Mughal-E-Azam (1960, India) (aka The Great Mughal)

In K. Asif's lengthy war-time drama and epic love story (part color and part B/W) set in the late 16th century - one of the costliest Indian films of all time (approx. $3 million) that took 16 years to film, and one of the most enduring and blockbuster Bollywood films ever made - and it was historically the first vintage film digitally colorized for theatrical release:

  • the legendary story of India's autocratic Great Mughal (Ruler of Hindustan) Akbar (Prithviraj Kapoor) who was finally able to produce an heir - an infant (the future Emperor Jahangir); the boy turned out to be a spoiled, drunken, playboyish, pampered and misbehaving son Prince Saleem (Dilip Kumar) - who had to be sent away to join the ranks of the Mughal military to toughen him up: ("By God, I'll not see that day when our empire will become the toy of a rake prince! Man Singh, remove the veil of his mother's love on his head and put an iron cover on his head. Take him, raise and teach him in the hot deserts of war. Today, I hand over to you the future of the Mughals")
  • upon Prince Saleem's return, the sequences of his growing forbidden love for commoner palace slave girl-courtesan and beautiful court dancer Nadir/Anarkali (Madhubala) - the name meaning "pomegranate blossom"
  • the great Anarkali dance sequence when she twirled like a top in the royal Palace of Mirrors (with both an overhead shot and a kaleidoscopic shot) - a set completely covered by hundreds of pieces of fragmented colored mirrors
  • the seductive, passionate and erotic moments including the love scene when the returning military hero-soldier Prince caressed, fondled, stroked and tickled Anarkali with a large white ostrich feather and they hid their faces behind it
  • the patriarch Akbar's conflict with his son Saleem for choosing to marry below his status, for disobedience and defiance, and for not disavowing his obsessive love for Anarkali - to make her Queen of Hindustan ("You want a beautiful maid to dance upon the Throne of Hindustan...I cannot change the destiny of Hindustan for my son's love"); in desperation, Akbar ordered Anarkali to be sent away and imprisoned
  • the disobedient Prince Saleem arranged Anarkali's escape (and placed her in a secret hiding place) and incited a open revolt against Akbar, that led to a declaration of war; the 'treasonous' Prince was defeated in a massive and colossal battle against his oppressive and tyrannical father and sentenced to be executed; Saleem was tied to a tower with a huge cannon aimed at him
Conflict Between Prince and His Father
Akbar vs. Saleem
Open Revolt and Civil War
  • the Prince was saved when Anarkali arrived at the last moment - and invoked a holy decree; she appeared before Akbar and offered to take Saleem's place (and suffer the consequences of being walled up and buried alive); she agreed to renounce her own life, and after begging for one dying wish, she was allowed one final night of ecstasy with Saleem, acting as his wife
Public Execution - Cannon Aimed at Saleem Standing on Tower
Anarkali Begging to Take Saleem's Place
One Final Night of Ecstasy with Saleem Before
She Was Secretly Exiled
  • the scene of their heart-wrenching parting the next morning when he melodramatically reached out for her as she was taken away by guards
  • Akbar was forced to honor a previous promise to Anarkali's mother, who was pleading for her daughter's life; without officially releasing Anarkali, Akbar arranged for her escape (into exile) with her mother, without Saleem's knowledge: (Akbar: "This plan must work, for if the Prince finds out you are still alive, I will not let you live and he will not let you die!")

Great Mughal Akbar

Prince Saleem with Slave Girl Nadir-Anarkali

Dance in Royal Palace of Mirrors

Anarkali Tickled with Ostrich Feather

Anarkali Debased

Anarkali's Escape Into Exile With Her Mother


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