Mughal-i-Azam returns in colour

Published November 9, 2004

MUMBAI, Nov 8: "Mughal-i-Azam", one of Bollywood's greatest classics, will return to the big screen this weekend after 44 years gathering dust, but this time in full colour.

The black and white epic has been lovingly converted by the Indian Academy of Arts and Animation through a process which involved filling colour into each frame manually.

"We first developed software to convert films from black and white to colour specifically for this film," the academy's technical director Rajiv Dwivedi said.

This allowed technicians to have a general overview of the colour before working on each frame to ensure the best results.

"But it took us over a month just to find who held the copyright of the film and to locate the surviving print," he said.

The print was restored and painted in at a cost of 30 million rupees (660,000 dollars), twice the amount the film cost to make when it was originally released in 1960 after taking a decade to complete.

The screenplay tells of the ill-fated love affair between the 16th century moghul prince Salim, son of the all-powerful Emperor Akbar, and courtesan Anarkali.

Many movies have focussed on the same story but critics agree none came close to Mughal-i-Azam's grandeur and splendour.

"Mughal-i-Azam is a film that transcends opening weekend competition and will generate immense curiosity among the public as there are at least two generations of film-goers that haven't seen the film on the big screen and will be dying to do so," said critic and publisher Indu Mirani.-AFP

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