It's love, simply, love
The titans "Mughal-e-Azam" and "Veer-Zaara" have sunk all opposition at the box office. It is simply love, timeless and timely, that is working wonders
Ae ishq ye sab duniyawale bekar ki baatein karte hain
Payal ke ghamon ka ilm nahin, jhankar ki baatein karte hain
IT IS love, love and love. Film lovers have asked the question and the box office acquiesced. Shah Rukh Khan has come riding atop a Punjab bus, swaying to the song of Gurdas Maan. Preity Zinta has swayed along. And people have seldom been happier at this treat, a real feast for cineastes. Yash Chopra has not stopped smiling since as the much-awaited Veer-Zaara has made every moment of anticipation a moment to cherish.
Much the same has been the case with Karimuddin Asif's Mughal-e-Azam. The crowd is not as impressive in 2004 as it was in 1960 when more than a lakh people gathered outside Mumbai's Maratha Mandir for the advance booking. But silently, the film has been making headway. Among the victims of these love birds' flights have been Ram Gopal Varma's Naach which swayed none, and to a lesser extent Aitraaz which has been reduced to a bronze medal in a four-horse race in this festive week at the box office.
The two titans have virtually sunk all the competition, cocking a snook at those who believed Ram Gopal Varma's chutzpah and Abbas-Mustan's verve would be competition for films by a man who has more evenings to look back on than mornings, and another who made one masterpiece. And little else. While Naach has been all but wiped out, Aitraaz has had average pickings. In comparison, Mughal-e-Azam has been marching ahead in regal glory while Veer-Zaara while never quite threatening to join Asif's film in the all-time hit list has proved to be a winner too.
The lover boy patented by the irrepressible Khan, the perky beloved so well rehearsed by Preity and the trademark Yash Chopra stamp have all added to ensure a great initial. And likely to attract a repeat audience is the soft, mellifluous music of the late Madan Mohan, who never worked with Yash Chopra in his life but seems to have left a bounty for him with this collection.
D.V. Prasad, Sales Head at Prasads Multiplex says, "Veer-Zaara has been doing really well. Mughal-e-Azam had an average opening but is picking up. In terms of collections, Veer-Zaara tops the list followed by Mughal-e-Azam and Aitraaz with Naach finishing up last.
Mughal-e-Azam's showing promises to make a neat profit for the producers who spent Rs.10 crores in colouring the original film which cost just Rs.1.5 crore! At Noida's Wave, elephants came to greet the first show crowd. Alongside were girls ready with roses for all visitors. All taking the mind's eye back to 1960 when similar scenes were experienced all across.
While Veer-Zaara has been doing well all over the city, there are those who found the movie "too long and too slow," according to Akshat Misra of Sangeet theatre.
Be that as it may for those in love with love, Shakeel Badayuni has the final word: "Humein kaash tumse mohabbat na hoti, kahaani hamari haqeeqat na hoti." But then love was seldom more enjoyable.
ZIYA US SALAM
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