Mughal-E-Azam review

One peek at Mughal-E-Azam's frighteningly long running time might lead even the most devoted cineaste to run a mile - - but fans of contemporary Bollywood cinema would do well to risk a numb arse in return for experiencing K Asif's 1960 epic.

Based on an unauthenticated legend, it centres on the clash between Emperor Akbar (Prithviraj Kapoor) and his son Saleem (Dilip Kumar), who meets the wrath of his father when he falls for a dancer (Madhubala).

Considering this is Bollywood - - and one of the most expensive Indian films ever shot - - it should come as no surprise that the sets are lavish, the dance sequences spectacular and the battle scenes epic. What may shock is that Mughal-E-Azam sports a dramatic story as well, weaving conflicts between father and son, love and duty into a gripping tale of thwarted romance.

At a time when Bollywood fever is spreading to Western audiences (Devdas, Asoka), it's well worth visiting a seminal movie that set many of the thematic traditions for contemporary Indian cinema.

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