The restored version of Mughal-e-Azam opens across North America on Friday with hardly any opposition. But come next week, as the historical romance starts adding more screens, it is in for a fight.
In its second week, the Dilip Kumar starrer will face Salman Khan's contemparary romance, Lucky -- No Time For Love.
Though the colour version of Mughal-e-Azam -- also starring Prithviraj Kapoor and Madhubala -- opened in India in November 2004, the American release was delayed because the producers were negotiating with distributors.
UTV, which has successfully distributed the Hrithik Roshan starrer Lakshya and the Shah Rukh Khan starrer Swades in North America, is releasing the epic film in major cities including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston. It has plans to add 30 screens by the middle of the month, giving the film the status of a blockbuster release.
Though pirated versions of the film are available, the distributors feel audiences will watch the film on the big screen.
A special screening was held at the ImaginAsian theatre in New York on Wednesday and also in Los Angeles.
Rohi Mirza Pandya, ImaginAsian director, theatre operations and acquisitions, echoes the distributors' sentiment that the film will be a sold-out event.
"This film is known as one of the greatest [Indian] films," she says. "Finally, the film is here and it can now be seen as the original."