At a time when gloom and doom continues to grab news headlines, it’s almost a welcome relief to forget the grim existence for a few hours of magnificent grace.
‘Mughal-E-Azam: The Musical’ delivers a powerful performance of epic proportions that continues to entice generations of fans. It was definitely not an easy feat to recapture K Asif’s cinematic vision and package it as a stage performance, but director Feroz Abbas Khan manages this with aplomb and understated dignity.
The fictitious romance that shook the foundations of the Mughal Empire and immortalised Dilip Kumar and Madhubala as the star-crossed lovers on screen finds a new voice in stage actors Shabab Ali and Neha Sargam.
The duo ooze confidence in their performances; Ali playing a restrained, but deeply torn Salim, while Sargam excels as the innocent palace maid who will capture the heart of the Crown Prince of India. The latter carries the larger burden on her slim shoulders, especially during the live singing interludes.
Nissar Khan’s Emperor Jalaluddin Akbar is a powerful and overbearing performance, showing just the right hint of vulnerability when he feel betrayed by his wife Jodha and son Salim.
Legendary music composer Naushad’s soulful renditions find a new voice in this theatrical production with the classic ‘Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya’ and the Lata Mangeshkar-Shamshad Begum qawwalli, ‘Teri Mehfil Mein Qismat’, particularly standing out during the live performances.
Noted classical performer Mayuri Upadhya adds grace to the choreography with ‘Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya’, exceptionally standing out as one of the finer stage acts of our time. Credit must be given to the production and set design that has recreated the historic Sheesh Mahal or the Palace of Mirrors that mesmerised audiences when the film first came out in 1960.
Khan helms a tight ship with this epic production, while designer Manish Malhotra’s finesse is clearly visible in the meticulous costumes.
The language may be hard at times for some to decipher, but the emotions visible on the faces of the actors that bind ‘Mughal-E-Azam: The Musical’ together speaks volumes on its own.
Don’t miss it!
‘Mughal-E-Azam: The Musical’ is being staged at Dubai Opera until February 1. Show starts at 8pm, with tickets priced from Dh150. They are available online at Dubaiopera.com