Emperor Akbar has the last laugh!
MUMBAI :Mughal-E-Azam hits the Pakistan theatres on April 22,11 am, thus becoming the first film to be released in Pakistan after 41 years. The historic film beats Akbar Khan’s film Taj Mahal by three days to hit the Pakistani theatres.Akbar Asif, son of legendary maker K Asif, is thus the first man to successfully open the cinematic gates of Pakistan for Bollywood films by releasing Mughal-E-Azam in the country. The print of Mughal-e-Azam was a gift to President Parvez Musharraf from Akbar Asif during the president’s visit to London in 2004.
Akbar Asif also went on to make Mughal-E-Azam to become the first film to secure permission to get the film released and the first film to get a censor certification in Pakistan. But his initial plans were to make the release as grand as the epic film itself. Using the gateway created by Akbar Asif, other makers moved in and it looked as if the man who paved their way for an Indo-Pak bridge would watch other films make the historical mark of securing the first release in Pakistan.
Considering that the London-based tycoon has plans to find a new Anarkali through a major television hunt spreading over six months, following the release with huge prize moneys, the quiet move to release the film comes as a surprise.Speaking on the historical occasion, Akbar Asif said, “the move to be the cultural bridge between India and Pakistan was to fulfill my father’s dream of getting Mughal-E-Azam to be the first film to get permission to be screened in Pakistan.Elaborate plans were initially made to release the film in the presence of actors from around the globe and royalty, complete with fireworks from Japan.
Agrees Asif, “We initially, wanted the film to get a grand premiere, but the thought struck me a few days ago that a film of the epic nature of Mughal-E-Azam needs no grandiose in terms of release. The film is itself the biggest and the grandest epic ever made in India.” With this thought, Akbar Asif quietly moved his papers with the Pakistan government and finally the decision to have Mughal-E-Azam as the first film to be screened in Pakistan came through.
Asif, who had previously gifted Rs 11,100,000 to the technicians who coloured Mughal-e-Azam and promised the Akbar Asif Ko Anarkali Ki Talash to be the talent hunt of the millennium is elated at Mughal-E-Azam actually being the first Indian film to be released in Pakistan after over four decades.
Says Akbar Asif, “the proceeds from Mughal-E-Azam will go towards the earthquake-affected victims in Pakistan . But this is just the beginning of an Indo-Pak bridge. There is a lot in the offing. Anarkali will bring together India and Pakistan. I want to create a sense of friendship that would last beyond our lifetime”.