Heir to the throne of Hindustan, Prince Salim (Dilip Kumar) has matured from a decadent only child into a victorious warrior who writes poetry in his own blood. When he falls for beautiful court dancer Anarkali (Madhubala), it provokes the ire of his father, Mogul emperor Akbar (Prithviraj Kapoor), and a conflict of family loyalties escalates into full-blown battle. The story is introduced and concluded by a booming voice-over representing Hindustan itself: a land divulging its legends. Theatrical production design extravagantly offsets scenes of swashbuckling and genuinely sensual courtship. Meanwhile, the characters' dialogue is deeply florid throughout. The film was shot mainly in b/w, but at two points suddenly shifts into a bejewelled colour that adds a dreamlike charm to the lithe choreography and Naushad's magnificent classical score. At over three hours, and an alleged 17 years in the making, this is an undeniably heavy-going concoction - but the feast of intricate sounds and visuals make it one to savour.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||K Asif, Aman|