10MUGHAL-E-AZAM (INR: 1.5 CRORES)
One of the biggest blockbusters of all time, ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ is a classic film which is not made every day. Starring veterans like Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Madhubala in principal characters and directed by K Asif, the epic historical drama hit the Indian screens on 5 August 1960 to unprecedented response. When the audience saw the film in cinema halls, they could not believe their eyes. Everyone was hell shocked to see the lavishness and grandeur of the film. It was the most expensive film of that time. When people came to know about the budget of the film, their eyes popped out in astonishment. Yes, the must-see classic was made at a humongous budget of Rs. 1.5 crores. Does it sound a paltry sum to your ears? Well, it was an unheard of amount back then. ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ still remains the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time if adjusted for inflation.
So, what made this movie so expensive? ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ was based on a legend revolving around the love story of Mogul prince Salim and one of his courtesans Anarkali. Since the film had a historical background, its scale had to be big and immense. Besides extraordinary costumes, elaborate song and dance sequences, and magnificent sets, there were several war sequences shot with 2,000 camels, 4,000 horses and 8,000 troops were used, which made the film costlier. Only the iconic song ‘Pyar Kiya To Darna Kiya’ cost Rs. 10 million at a time when a film would be made for less than a million.
Filmmaker K Asif did not want to leave any stone unturned to make the film the way he had envisioned it. So, a sum of 1.5 crores was spent on the making of the film. Fortunately, when the movie released, it broke all previous box office records and still tops of the list of most profitable films of Hindi cinema. The popularity of the film can be gauged by the fact that the movie was rereleased on 12 November 2004. ‘Mughal-e-Azam ‘was the first black-and-white Hindi movie to be digitally coloured and the first to have a rerelease in cinemas.
TRIVIA: ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ was a trilingual film with all scenes shot thrice in Hindi, Tamil and English. When the Tamil version failed miserably, the English language version was aborted.