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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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In Appreciation of "Pyar Kiya to Darna Kya" Durable Link to this BLOG

Drama unfolds in Mogul Emperor's Court; a still from "Pyak Kiya to Darna Kya"

My friend Raghu Apara pointed out the audio-visual beauty of this 1960s song from the movie "Mughal-E-Azam", and even a harsh critic of Bollywood like me had to admit and enjoy this super-melodious, super-meaningful, movie imagery.

First, Raghu's commentary: translated with permission:

Quote Begin

When I am told that I have only 6:28 minutes to live, I would like to watch this song one last time. It is one of my all time favorite moving images.

I will tell you why this sequence is consuming me.

The clip opens with stunning dancer (actress Madhubala) in a white top that extends to her palms. You won't believe it is the same Anarkali who was crying just a few minutes ago in her prison cell (to the song "Cryin' over the fallacy of love"), because now she is strong and determined. She has to disappear soon after performing this song -- she made the foolish mistake of falling in love with the emperor's son, and is a major inconvenience for the royalty.

Emperor Akbar doesn't know what is coming; a lowly dancer challenging him in his own court?! At one moment Anarkali even despises him while looking in his eyes! No amount of dialogues could tell this story as told by this song and through dance postures. Akbar's facial expression is priceless as he reconstructs her image through the myriad reflections in marble. The dance climaxes with Anarkali's attire exploding and adds yet another dimension to her fury. How subtle and beautiful is the movement of her salute (elegant, but not so respectful).

We sometimes feel that song and dance sequences are obstructions to story telling. I do not think the effectiveness of this song sequence can be retold as powerfully in any other way.

Quote End

My own notes:

I have heard this song all my life -- it is one of my favorite songs -- "I have engaged only love, not theft!", but I didn't know the story or the context.

FYI: as stunning as are the visuals, this song was shot in black-and-white and was only made into color in the year 2004. There is a tribute to digital technology.

There are a lot of subtleties in the clip -- do not miss the withdrawal of another show-girl at 3:30, the tease at 4:44 or the authenticity of the marble art work (roughly same time period as Taj Mahal).

As Raghu says, this song will treat you and haunt you for a long time.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, July 21, 2013
Last Modified: 7/22/2013 5:14:43 PM

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