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Stories Behind Story: Why Mughal-E-Azam Took 10 Years To Make?

Mughal-e-Azam is considered a masterpiece in Indian cinema. This all-time hit epic historical drama directed by the renowned K Asif starring Prithviraj Kapoor, Madhubala, Durga Khote and Dilip Kumar was released in 1960. The character of Prince Salim played by Dilip Kumar has been immortalized. But not many know this great masterpiece was made in fits and starts. It took 10 years to complete it. And there were several reasons for it. One was director Asif fell in love with Dilip Kumar’s sister Akhtar and this incensed Dilip Kumar who refused to shoot till the matter was finally resolved. Besides, Dilip Kumar and Madhubala had an affair that ended around the making of this film and this took a toll on the shoots as their on-screen chemistry went awry. Finally, the pearls that were used in the shoot would break every time it fell on the floor, and the shooting had to be cancelled. It was then decided to import unbreakable pearls from Belgium and getting those in the sixties took months. It was finally released with all the fanfare at Maratha Mandir. By evening it was declared flop. This news depressed the cast which met at Asif’s house near Opera House after the premiere. Looking at all of them Asif said, “Kyon, Chehre Latak Gaye! Dekhna Ye Film Zabardast Hit Hogi.“ And it did.