'I wish you were here to see for yourself what Mughal-e-Azam means to Indians in America.'
Feroz Abbas Khan has done to K Asif's timeless classic Mughal-e-Azam what the latter could have never imagined.
Speaking exclusively to Subhash K Jha on the overwhelming response to the musical stage adaptation of Mughal-e-Azam in the United States, the soft-spoken and humble Feroz says, "From the start, when I planned this musical stage play, I wanted it to convey the epic grandeur of the original. Hence, no compromises on the quality of stage sound and props."
"We are in the US for a 14-city tour, and are staging our show in the best theatres. It has been an experience I cannot put into words.
"Three generations of Indians, some of them in wheelchairs, thronging to the theatres...
"I wish you were here to see for yourself what Mughal-e-Azam means to Indians in America."
All the immortal songs of Lata Mangeshkar from Mughal-e-Azam like Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya, Beqas Pe Karam Kijiye and Mohe Panghat Pe Nandlal Chhed Gayo are a part of Feroz's spectacular stage adaptation.
"My artistes sing those songs of Lataji live on stage. There are no recorded songs.
"My stage adaptation of Mughal-e-Azam is a tribute to K Asif, Lataji and Naushadsaab.
"Every performance begins with a recorded message from Lataji.
"I had a very special rapport with Lataji. I remember when she was in London, she had come all the way to Leicester to see our performance of Tumhari Amrita. She was very excited about Mughal-e-Azam going on stage. Sadly, she is not here to see what we've done, but I hope she is smiling from above, as are K Asif, Shakeel Badayuni, Naushad, Dilip Kumarsaab and Madhubala."
Feroz's Mughal-e-Azam is a winner ever since it was first staged in 2017.
Says Khan modestly, "We never wanted to compete with Asifsaab's film. Our stage version of Mughal-e-Azam is a homage to the classic film. If new generations of audiences are reliving the magic of the film through our stage play, I have only have Asifsaab to thank for it.
"And who can sing Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya like Lataji? That we are audacious enough to attempt this, is just our love for the original. We know we have Asifsaab's blessings."
Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com