Musical adaptation of the film Mughal-E-Azam
- Uma Anantani

January 24, 2017

Classical dance widened its scope during the 60s and onwards, where its presence was felt as an inseparable entity of films, both Hindi as well as regional. During the last few decades, this art idiomís presence is noticed again in literary and theatrical productions. One such recent experience was the musical play, Mughal- E- Azam, based on K. Asifís timeless epic by the same name. Staged at the NCPA in Mumbai, it was jointly presented by NCPA and Shapoorji Pallonji and directed by Feroz Abbas Khan.

The highlight of the musical, which also left a lasting impression, is the brilliant dance choreography by Mayuri Upadhya. Brilliant because Mayuri has finely  blended classical Kathak with the contemporary dance scenario. The choreographer and the team of excellent dancers give justice to the musical score, which is as intact to the original as possible, rendering nostalgia in the audience, many of whom were heard humming along. Mayuri, with her choreographic talent and adequate understanding of stage craft, has successfully overcome the limitations of stage over film, live over celluloid.


Meaningful use of props, gorgeous period costumes suitable to the classical dance style, highly coordinated group of dancers merging and separating in coordination with the colour schemes of their costumes (Manish Malhotra), symbolic body movements, light designs (David Lander) in sync with dance movements; in toto add to a visual treat which culminates into an unforgettable art experience. Kudos to the team without whose effort the musical play would have only been passive participation of listening to the songs sung live on stage, albeit nostalgic.

Dr. Uma Anantani is the artistic director of Rasadhwani. Ahmedabad.