Mughal-e-Azam turns 61: Dilip Kumar and Madhubala were not on good terms when they shot the most romantic scene in Indian cinema
K Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam is often considered one of the most iconic films in Hindi cinema. The grand sets, majestic dialogue, and glorious cast of Dilip Kumar, Madhubala and Prithviraj Kapoor have moviegoers celebrating the film even 61 years after its release. But what is it now remembrance as a triumph on the silver screen was exactly the opposite in real life for its main cast.
The late actor Dilip Kumar’s turn as Salim is often considered one of his best works, but it was not only Salim who marked the history of cinema. Anarkali from Madhubala was applauded for her delicate screen presence and balanced performance. the Cursed Love Story gave Indian cinema one of its first iconic love stories that proved to be timeless. But this is where the difference between the reel and the real thing is felt. What we saw on screen was starkly opposite to what was happening in real life.
When Dilip Kumar and Madhubala were chosen in K Asif’s Magnum Operations, they were said to be the perfect couple. Stories of their raging romance were everywhere and Yusuf Sahab himself wrote about it in his biography, Dilip Kumar: The Substance and the Shadow. “The announcement of our twinning with Mughal-e-Azam caused a sensation in the early 1950s due to rumors of our emotional involvement. In fact, K Asif was delighted with the wide publicity and commercial inquiries he received following the announcement, ”he wrote.
He candidly shared that they were both drawn to each other while filming Tarana (1951), so when Mughal-e-Azam finally landed on their knees, they were more than happy to embrace the roles of divine lovers. He wrote: “She filled a void that cried out to be filled – not by an intellectually strong woman, but by a spirited woman whose liveliness and charm were the perfect panacea for the wound that was taking its time to be filled. to cure.”
Given that Mughal-e-Azam took years to shoot due to its expansive sets and production design, things were drastically different between the two protagonists by the time they shot the famous feather scene. Dilip Kumar and Madhubala “had completely stopped greeting each other” when they shot for the scene which is now considered one of the most romantic scenes in Hindi cinema history. For having shot this film successfully, he paid tribute to their professional attitude which respected the vision of the director. “This should, in all honesty, go down in the annals of film history as a tribute to the artistry of two professionally engaged actors who kept aside their personal differences and realized the director’s vision of a moment’s worth. sensitive, striking and sensual screen to perfection. ” he wrote.
But what really tore the famous couple apart? Dilip Kumar shared in his biography that contrary to popular notion, Madhubala’s father Ataullah Khan was not opposed to their match but instead wanted to turn this marriage into a business venture that did not land well with Dilip Kumar. . Madhubala’s father had his own production company and wanted to bring the two stars under his roof but Dilip was not in favor of the idea.
“I explained to both of them that I had my own way of operating and selecting projects and that I would not be lax even if it was my own production house. It must have tipped the scales for him and he managed to convince Madhu that I was rude and cocky, ”he wrote. Dilip Kumar shared that Madhubala tried a lot to convince him and promised that “everything would be settled once we get married”, but Dilip was not ready to “give in to someone else’s dictates and strategies”.
This led to their breakup, which made Dilip think it was probably for the best. “I was really relieved when we broke up because I had also started to have an idea that it was very good to work together as artists, but in marriage it is important for a woman to be ready to give more than to receive, ”he said. wrote.
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