More than six decades have passed since K Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam was released on the big screen, and it remains to be of the grandest films to have been made in Bollywood. The cast of Dilip Kumar, Madhubala, and Prithviraj Kapoor gave us the iconic film that is still celebrated and remembered, 61 years after its release. However, despite the passionate on-screen bond and chemistry between Salim (Dilip Kumar) and Anarkali (Madhubala), the of-screen bond that the actors shared at that time was nowhere near to what the audience experienced while watching the film.
Kumar and Madhubala’s casting creating an uproar as the audience was elated to see them together in the film. The late actor, in his biography, Dilip Kumar: The Substance and the Shadow, had mentioned that the announcement of their pairing made sensational news because of the rumours of their emotional involvement. He also wrote that they were attracted to each other while filming Tarana in 1951.
However, Mughal-e-Azam took years to shoot because of its elaborate set design, and detailed costumes and that time was enough to change things between the lead pair. By the time they shot the famous feature scene, the actors had stopped talking to each other. Their professional attitude, however, did not let their feud be visible on screen, and they went on to give one of the most romantic scenes in Bollywood’s history. Giving an insight on the same, Kumar had written, “It should, in all fairness, go down in the annals of film history as a tribute to the artistry of two professionally committed actors who kept aside personal differences and fulfilled the director’s vision of a sensitive, arresting and sensuous screen moment to perfection.”
The legendary actor also revealed what broke their pair. The actress’ father Ataullah Khan wanted to turn their marriage into a business deal, which Kumar did not agree with. Madhubala’s father had his own production company and wanted to bring Kumar and his daughter under his wings.
“I explained to both of them that I had my own way of functioning and selecting projects and I would not show any laxity even if it were my own production house. It must have tilted the apple cart for him and he successfully convinced Madhu that I was being rude and presumptuous,” he had written.
Despite Madhubala trying to convince him, Dilip Kumar did not give in.
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