Dilip Kumar, Madhubala, Prithviraj Kapoor
By Subhash K. Jha IANS
Words fail as we listen to this revived version of a timeless soundtrack created 44 years ago.
It is said that Naushad was the only composer whose name appeared above the film's title on hoardings. Listening to the grand opulence of the sound he creates in "Mughal-e-Azam", one would agree that Naushad's awesome reputation is entirely deserved.
Shakeel Badayuni's lyrical pearls cascade in a flow that makes one gasp in appreciation.
The entire soundtrack has now been re-recorded by Uttam Singh, Gurmeet Singh and Naushad's son Raju. Having heard the original, one is overwhelmed by the startling sound quality achieved in this digital stereophonic avatar.
Wisely, the new version places all eight solos by Lata Mangeshkar and her qawwali with Shamshad Begum, "Teri mehfil mein kismet azma kar", together.
Lata is the soul of "Mughal-e-Azam's" music.
What would Madhubala be without Lata's voice singing the effervescent "Pyar kiya to darna kya", "Mohe panghat pe", "Ae ishq sab duniyawale" and the heart wrenching dirges, "Mohabbat ki jhooti kahani pe roye", "Humen kaash tumse mohabbat na hoti", "Bekas pe karam kijiye" and "Khuda nigahenban"?
Each track has been re-recorded with meticulous care to preserve the pristine and sublime quality of Lata's voice.
Mention must be made of legendary vocalist Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, who broke his classical diktat by singing "Prem jogan ban" and "Shubh din aayo".
The way incidental sounds coalesce into the larger epic design of the compositions in a format that exudes the scent of nostalgia is indeed a marvel of technical and artistic creation.
The use of chorus in "Pyar kiya to darna" and "Teri mehfil mein kismet" is so broadened that it actually enhances the beauty of the original composition.
Then there's Mohammad Rafi, who sings his only solo with "Ae mohabbat zindabad", lauding the spirit of immortal love that this album celebrates.
But the soundtrack clearly belongs to Indian nightingale Lata.
From the frolicsome "Mohe panghat" to the heartbreaking "Bekas pe karam kijiye", she imparts to the sound a beauty that transcends all description.
This re-mastered soundtrack is a marvel of technical and artistic creation. It transforms an exhilarating soundtrack into a magical and momentous experience.