Heralding a new era, the magnum opus Mughal-e-Azam play made a dazzling debut in the US, with soulful melodies and beautiful Anarkalis’ performing to the tune of ‘jab pyaar kiya to darna kya’
By PI BUREAU
Based on K. Asif’s timeless classic from 1960, “Mughal-e-Azam: The Musical” embarked on a 13-city tour in the United States, starting with Atlanta on May 26, 2023. However, it was the sensational flash mob at the iconic Times Square in New York City that garnered global applause, leaving people of all nationalities awestruck and mesmerized. The play will continue to be screened in the US until August 20, 2023.
Produced by Shapoorji Pallonji, the Broadway-style show brought the streets of New York’s Times Square to life with a Bollywood number, captivating audiences with Indian classical music, Kathak dance, and mesmerizing costumes. Over 150 artists delivered an unforgettable experience, portraying the timeless love story of “Mughal-e-Azam.”
Director Feroz Abbas Khan chose not to recreate “Mughal-e-Azam” but rather pay tribute to its creator, K. Asif, through his play “Mughal-e-Azam: The Musical.” This tribute will run throughout North America for 100 days, from May to August 2023. The inspiration behind this epic love story was a play called “Anarkali,” written by Pakistani dramatist Imtiaz Ali in 1922 in Lahore. The 1960 Bollywood film “Mughal-e-Azam” was adapted from the same play.
Reflecting on the experience, Director Feroz Abbas Khan stated, “A carnival-like atmosphere was created as passers-by joined the chorus. It was equally thrilling to witness the unifying power of art and music, bringing together people who may have never heard of ‘Mughal-e-Azam.’ It was truly a wonderful start to bring this beautiful story to the diverse global audience of the United States.” He added, “We started reliving ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ through our play in 2019 and have since performed over 300 shows. Our recent performance in Times Square has garnered significant attention.” Khan expressed hope that the world would resonate with their play and join in singing along to the iconic line, ‘jab pyaar kiya to darna kya’ (Why fear when in love).
Furthermore, Feroz Abbas Khan emphasized that there could not be a better way to alleviate the gloom induced by the pandemic than by presenting “Mughal-e-Azam: The Musical” to an international audience. An official from the Musical highlighted the immense logistical challenge of managing a cast and crew of over 150 people but expressed satisfaction with the success and warm welcome received at the Times Square.
According to the official account of “Mughal-e-Azam: The Musical,” the Broadway-inspired show, which began in India in 2016 with the goal of immortalizing the love for “Mughal-e-Azam” in the hearts of fans worldwide, has now reached another significant milestone. The Musical’s prelude was showcased at Times Square with a magnificent flash mob performed by elegant Kathak dancers as part of exclusive promotions for the North American tour.
On Twitter, one user commented, “Isn’t it sad that the original author of the play ‘Anarkali,’ written and performed in Lahore in the 1920s by Syed Imtiaz Ali Taj, is forgotten? Bollywood has since taken ownership, while the Pakistani cinema and media industry missed out!” Another netizen remarked, “Stupendous! What a rich depiction of Indian culture!”