I have wanted to do this for a while… I may have compared a couple of these songs in different posts before, but here is a whole set of them, showing parallel songs between Mughal-E-Azam and the Pakistani Anarkali. (I also very much like some of the songs I’ve seen/heard from the 1953 Hindi Anarkali, but I haven’t seen that whole film, and I’ve found it difficult to find parallel songs in that case.)
Now, to be clear regarding what I mean by “parallel songs”… I am not sure how similar the songs might or might not be (for one thing, I haven’t gotten subtitles for all of these), but they are parallel in terms of what is happening in the plot. Of course, there are some big differences in the nature of the films, and Mughal-E-Azam obviously benefited from a much bigger production budget. But when I compare these, the first thing that I think about is the singing. In one movie, Anarkali’s singing is done by Lata Mangeshkar; in the other, on screen and off, the singer is Noor Jehan. The music director in one is Naushad, the other is a combination of Inayat Hussein and Rashid Attre. Naushad’s brilliance sometimes gives the music in Mughal-E-Azam the edge, but not always – possibly because there is also brilliance in the Pakistani composers (I especially know about and appreciate Rashid Attre). So, to sum it all up, both films are quite a treat for the ears (as well as the eyes, obviously)…
In this first pair, the songs are probably the least similar to each other, but you can see that basically the same thing is happening in the plot. Let’s call this the “breakthrough dance.” I like both film versions about the same. I like Noor’s vocals more, but the Mughal-E-Azam version definitely does better with the visuals, and Lata’s voice is quite nice too – so, it all balances out. And by the way, for all of these, I have tracked down the original scenes from Anarkali (as opposed to the post-modern colorization) for a closer and more fair comparison. (Unfotunately, the originals from Mughal-E-Azam almost always had embedding disabled, but you know what to do.)
Mughal-E-Azam has the edge in this next one… Let’s call this the “defiant dance.” Of course, in Mughal-E-Azam, this song is the GREAT CLASSIC. But Noor’s song is pretty great, too. (And by the way, note one big difference in the plot, which is that in the Pakistani version, Anarkali needs to get drunk first – which kind of is more realistic, I think. So, you also get to see Noor’s drunk routine, which is always a lot of fun.)
In this third set, the “jail songs,” Noor Jehan definitely made a greater impression on me. (Actually, there are a couple of Noor jail songs in Anarkali, but I think this one makes for a closer comparison.) Listen to the drama in Noor’s voice – she is wonderful! I also like this scene more. The Indian version actually is more OTT in terms of melodrama, with Madhubala staggering around in chains, etc. I think the Noor Jehan jail scenes are just right by contrast.
And with that, I shall close my Noor Jehan brithday week – which turned out to be more limited than I first had planned, but I hope it was enjoyable. You might also consider this the post for Lata’s birthday. Happy birthday, Lata!
Nice idea. This was Naushad at his very best! I have two “quibs” about Anarkali.
One, the lyrics, the poetry (at least to a native speaker) in Mughal-e-Azam is so brilliant. Anarkalo is good, but just a little bit more run-of-the-mill.
Second, Noor Jehan’s bangs!! Whoever thought of spoiling her beauty with that look should be shot. She is still beautiful, but it looks so odd :)
Thanks for this new revelation, Richard!
My personal opinions to the three song pairs.
The intro song
the pakistani has an intimacy like of chamber music. Find it quite ideal for the introduction. the picturisation of Mugahl-E-Azam is of a greater grandeur, thus lacking the intimacy. But the flirting with Krishna-Radha theme is also appropriate!
The defiant dance in Mughal-E-azam has the rebellionin it and thus very popular, though I have never really liked it as a love song! Noor’s drunk dance will naturally will always be controversial. But I liked the ghazal character of it and thus find her dancing to it somehow not suitable. that is why I just can’t find any defiance in it. It is more of a cajoling one!
The jail songs:
both are good! The chains are surely too, too long in Mughal-E-azam but the song is more than fitting. It is only that Anarkali from Pakistan seems to have come better in terms with her fate than her indian counterpart.
A wonderful take on the two films.
I’d better not give any opinion, because it will be heavily biased and totally in favour of Mughal e azam. :)
A thing common in both is that neither of the two could really dance.
On the other hand perhaps this ‘was’ the way they must have danced then. The filmy choreography today make the dances look so undancable without the ‘cuts’ and breaks that they have to shoot the whole thing.
I enjoyed the clever way of juxtaposing the two.
Thanks, all, for the comments, and sorry for the slow response. (I had some catching up to do!) So, getting to all of these now…
Bawa, yes, Mughal-E-Azam is famous for its dialogue, isn’t it?
I like the soundtrack, but it’s not my favorite Naushad. My favorite Naushad is probably Ratan, because he created such remarkably beautiful music in such a relatively simple framework (I think I’ve mentioned that before). Next in my preference list would probably be Anmol Ghadi, Baiju Bawra, the Suraiya films ( especially Dard and Dillagi – Dastan is good, but maybe not as good)… Kohinoor has a great soundtrack, too, of course… Actually, there are so many, how can one say which are Naushad at “his very best”? :) But I haven’t watched Mughal-E-Azam in a few years and I’m just starting to pay attention to the soundtrack again, so, let’s see if I end up saying this soundtrack is one of my favorites, with some conviction, soon. :)
Regarding Noor Jehan’s bangs… That’s funny. Yes, they’re a bit odd, but I like them. As you said, she’s still beautiful, and I think the bangs are cute!
Harvey, those are very interesting opinions! You made some very good points about the first one… Now I can say that I like it more than the song in Mughal-E-Azam. :)
I don’t know about your second point… Maybe it would help if I understood the lyrics fully as well. (I have seen the famous song from Mughal-E-Azam subtitled, but not so the Noor Jehan/ Anarkali song.)
I can see your point about the third pair of songs, and it is a good point. However, among all these sets, this really is the case where I instantly preferred the Anarkali song to the parallel song in Mughal-E-Azam.
Pacifist, you are right about neither of these actresses really knowing how to dance. (Though I like Noor Jehan’s dancing a little more than Madhubala’s – or maybe it’s just that impresses me more since I know that is also Noor Jehan singing. :) ) But I’m not sure what you meant when you said this was “the way they must have danced then.” Do you mean in 1960 or at the historic time of Mughal-E-Azam? Certainly, we know there were far better dancers in the movies in 1960 – in fact, we talk about them here all the time! :)
>But I’m not sure what you meant when you said this was “the way they must have danced then.”
I meant in the times of Akbar etc.
The choreography is so very stylized nowdays that the change from one style to the next is always in the next scene. Unlike as in these 2 films where they are shown dancing for longer stretches of time before change of scene.
Just an obswervation.
I think those days there must have been classical dancers (mostly kathak) and some light dancers in the courts of the kings and emperors, very unlike the stylized filmy versions…as in Devdas (Madhuri and Aishwarya’s), which was beautiful of course.
Hope I’ve made some sense in my overlong comment ,and haven’t complicated matters even more with my meandering thought process :-D