Archive for December 20th, 2011

by Allan Fish

(India 1960 195m) DVD2

A pretty petrel

p  Karim Asif  d  Karim Asif  w  Karim Asif, Aman, Kamal Amrohi, Ehsan Rizvi, Wajahat Mirza  ph  R.D.Mathur  ed  Dharamvir  m  Naushad  art  M.K.Syed  cos  Jaggi

Prithviraj Kapoor (Emperor Akbar), Madhubala (Anarkali), Dilip Kumar (Prince Salim), Durga Khote (Maharani Jodha Bai), Nigar Sultana (Bahai), Ajit (Durjan Singh), M.Kumar (sculptor), Murad (Man Singh), Jilloo Maa (Anarkali’s mother), Sheela Dalaya (Suraiya), Jalal Agha (young Salim),

History and legend link the story of our past.  When both are fused in the crucible of art and imagination, the spirit of this great Lord is revealed in all its splendour and beauty.”  So begins the film that has been, at one time or another, claimed as India’s biggest epic, the supreme Bollywood production and indeed India’s most beloved film.  Seek it out on DVD now, however, and a quandary is presented.  Virtually all prints are now of a 2004 colourised version of the film. 

            Colourisation is a topic likely to cause the mildest mannered of film buffs to spurt steam out of their ears like dragons.  To even think of calling it a no-no is to understate the feeling of intense hatred caused by the cronies of Ted Turner and the use of this process from the 1980s.  One recalls poor Orson Welles dying and begging those round him to ensure Turner didn’t get his crayons on Kane.  Or those poor souls unfortunate enough to have sat through colourisations of everything from Laurel and Hardy to Alastair Sim’s Scrooge and It’s a Wonderful Life who still require therapy.  There was always a difference with regard to Karim Asif’s film, however, in that those doing the colourisation felt they were abiding with his wishes.  Asif had wanted Mughal-e-Azam to be in colour throughout its three hour plus running time.  As it is, with the budget swallowed up by the vast sets and colour stock at an absolute premium, he only got enough Technicolor film to shoot two sequences. (more…)

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