When I was a child growing up in Ukraine we lived in a small town with one movie theatre. It was the kind of movie theatre where all seats were assigned and there was always an intermission. Every month a small batch of movies came to the silver screen and one of them was always a Bollywood film. All this is to say that I grew up watching Bollywood, it was a regular part of my life’s entertainment narrative and one I have learned to cherish and love.
Bollywood films and shows do come through Toronto but not often and hardly ever Downtown so when I heard that Mughal-e-Azam Canadian premiere was happening at Meridian Hall I jumped on the opportunity to see the show. And yes, I took my mother with me, as a bonding experience reflective of those many movies we watched together back in the day.
This experience was gifted. Read the disclaimer about affiliate links & PR gifting here.
But what is it, you ask
Mughal-e-Azam is an award-winning play from India based on K Asif’s 1960 classic film by the same name. It is a story of forbidden love, family, and war. This is India’s first-ever Broadway-style musical with stunning dance sequences and quite a bit of narrative storytelling.
The costumes and stage decor are absolutely stunning. On many occasions, I could not tell the size of the stage with digital visuals creating mesmerizing depth to the space, sparkling mosaic, and shining stars looking all too real. It is also important to know that performances are live which includes all vocals for all songs performed by lead actors and group dancers.
Note: photography is not allowed at the theatre so all images are courtesy of the production company.
What to expect
The play is in Hindi/Urdu or Hindustani, with English translations running on screens to the side of the stage. Admittedly reading translations while trying to keep up with the occurrences on the stage was a little bit difficult but the overall experience, especially if you know the plotline, is easy to follow. So with that, here is the plotline:
“Mughal-e-Azam centers on the love story between Prince Salim and court dancer Anarkali. Upon learning of this forbidden relationship, Emperor Akbar vehemently disapproves and must choose between his responsibility towards his empire and his duty as a father of a beloved son”.
As one would expect the story has a lot of drama. Some family drama might push out a tear. Some love and family drama that will cause a chuckle. In fact, in quite a few scenes the characters were throwing so much shade against one another that many members of the audience rolled with laughter.
At the end of the show, a few actors stepped out into the lobby for a meet and greet offering an opportunity for the fans of this old-age story to meet their heroes in real life.
The show run time is 3 hours, the first intermission is 1hour and 45 minutes hours in so be prepared for it.
Remaining shows in Toronto:
Saturday, July 8 at 7 pm
Sunday, July 9 at 1 pm