Regal epic Mughal-e-Azam has beaten off tough competition from the 100 years of Indian cinema to be crowned as the greatest Bollywood movie of all time. The big-budget historical narrowly beat second placed Sholay, which traditionally tops Bollywood lists, in a first of its kind poll conducted by the UK based Eastern Eye newspaper, which combined votes, box office, cinematic impact and critical acclaim.
The now legendary K. Asif directed epic about the doomed affair between Prince Salim and court dancer Anarkali became the biggest grossing Bollywood movie of all time when it released in 1960, smashed records and gave iconic stars Dilip Kumar and Madhubala their career-defining roles.
The masterpiece was successfully coloured and re-released more than four decades later, inspired the last collection of paintings done by India’s greatest artist MF Husain before he died and in 2006 became the first Bollywood movie to be get released in Pakistan after a gap of 41 years and so opened the door to many others that have followed. Clearly proud of the movie’s latest achievement, late director K. Asif’s son Akbar Asif said: “My father’s movie Mughal-e-Azam being declared the greatest in the year Indian cinema celebrates its 100th anniversary is a great honour and a moment of immense pride for the entire family. The love it continues to receive from around the world more than 50 years after its release shows the countless sacrifices my father K. Asif made to create this masterpiece were worthwhile. I am sure in 100 years time, audiences will still watch Mughal-e-Azam, which showed us all that the most impossible dreams can come true.”
Eastern Eye showbiz editor Asjad Nazir, who put together the list of 100 greatest Bollywood movies and is chairman of the judging panel thinks Mughal-e-Azam is a worthy winner. “The subject that has been covered in Bollywood more than any other is romance and this is the mother of all romantic movies. Poetic dialogue, one of the greatest soundtracks ever produced, glorious costumes, lavish sets, a great story and big performances from a stellar cast combine to make this a perfect movie,” said Asjad.
The lead stars with the most movies in the top 10 were Amitabh Bachchan and Nargis, who featured in three each. Yash Chopra was the filmmaker with the most number of movies in the top 10, two as a director and one as a producer. The rest of the top 10 movies in the list of 100 Greatest Bollywood movies were Sholay (2), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (3), Mother India (4), Awara (5), Deewar (6), 3 Idiots (7), Kabhi Kabhie (8), Andaz (9) and Maine Pyar Kiya (10).
Other notable movies in the list, which is a cross-section of cult classics, path-breakers, box office smashes, award-winners, leaders in their genres and ones that helped expand the horizons of the biggest movie industry in the world include Lagaan (11), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (14), Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (16), Aradhana (17), Zanjeer (23), Shree 420 (24), Pyaasa (31), Mr India (41), Dil Chahta Hai (46), Krrish (48), Munnabhai MBBS (51), Amar Akbar Anthony (57), Qurbani (67), Raja Hindustani (70), Chandni (74), Tezaab (82) and Baiju Bawra (91) .
The full list of 100 Greatest Bollywood Films is published in UK’s most established and popular Asian newspaper Eastern Eye on July 19.