Asif’s ground-breaking historical epic apparently took 17 years to complete, and applies lavish treatment to the perennial theme of star-crossed lovers. The story is introduced and concluded by a voiceover representing Hindustan itself: a land divulging its legends. Theatrical sets offset scenes of swashbuckling and sensual courtship. Meanwhile, the characters’ dialogue is florid throughout. Shot in black-and-white, it suddenly shifts into bejewelled colour, adding charm to the choreography and magnificent classical score. At over three hours, it’s a heavy-going concoction – but the feast of sounds and visuals make it one to savour.