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Remembering Mughal-e-Azam director K Asif on his 50th Death Anniversary

Still from Mughl-eAzam

Still from Mughl-eAzam

K. Asif donned the hats of a film producer and screenwriter, other than being a director. Despite his fame, he was known for his simplistic lifestyle.

The fact that the K Asif achieved legendary status despite directing just four and producing three films, speaks volumes of the man’s exceptional talent. Born on 14th June, 1922, in Etawah, UP, the talented man had a short life of 48 years. Before he could complete 50, he passed away on March 9, 1971 leaving a huge void in Hindi cinema.

As the world of cinema remembers this cinematic genius on his death anniversary, here are some significant facts about this man’s life:

1. Today marks the 50th death anniversary of the man who is still so fondly remembered even after living such a short span of life. This fact itself goes on to throw light on his tremendous gift as a creative man who continues to live on through his unbelievably great work of art.

2. K. Asif donned the hats of a film producer and screenwriter along with being a director. Despite his fame, he was known for his unbelievably simplistic lifestyle. Most of his life, he lived in a rented apartment, commuted in taxis, borrowed cigarettes from his friends.

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3. He was extremely honest and dedicated to his work. It is said that the movie Mughal-e-Azam written and directed by Asif, was made with a Rs 1.5 crores budget at that time (1960), but K. Asif didn’t take a penny for this film. Shapoorji Pallonji, the producer of the movie was one to divulge this fact about this genius director.

4. It is also said that Asif never changed his contract during the filming of the movie Mughal-e-Azam, while the rest of the actors kept on changing, negotiating their contract throughout the filming process.

5. Such was Asif’s dedication that he could work for 20 hours at a stretch without asking for special treatment on the film set.

6. His first film was Phool (1945) and it did very well at the box-office. Prithviraj Kapoor, Durga Khote, and Suraiya had starred in his directorial debut venture.

7. K Asif, born as Asif Karim was a Persian, Indian film director who had catapulted to fame with the huge, blockbuster Mughal-e-Azam movie. The movie as well as the director acquired the cult, iconic status over the years. Touted as the landmark of Hindi cinema, Asif’s directorial venture swept all awards after the release and won hearts of millions; and the historical film by the way even till date, continues to emanate the charm and win love across the world.

8. He was on the verge of directing another movie that would have been even bigger than the magnum opus Mughal-e-Azam, but the arduous rocky road of life thwarted his dream. Finally the movie Love and God which took 23 years to be made, got released posthumously by his wife Akhtar Asif, in an incomplete form; as Asif passed away during production.

9. Love and God was supposed to be the first movie in colour. Guru Dutt was to be the male lead but due to his unfortunate death, the film was made with Sanjeev Kumar and Nimmi.

first published:March 09, 2021, 14:07 IST