Review of Mughal-e-Azam – a musical at Auditorium theater, Chicago

Mughal-e-Azam poster (All photos courtesy of Lina Shah)

On June 23, we felt privileged witnessing a grand, emotionally captivating theatrical performance of Mughal-e-Azam, also known as “the Great Mughal”, at Chicago’s iconic and breathtaking Auditorium Theater. This highly acclaimed show has been enthralling audiences in major cities across the USA, marking the first large-scale Indian Broadway-style musical production of the renowned 1960 Bollywood film. Garnering seven out of fourteen BroadwayWorld India awards in 2017, this exquisite musical is beautifully directed by Feroz Abbas Khan and produced by the esteemed Shapoorji Pallonji Group.

Having watched the black and white version of this film while growing up, I couldn’t help but compare the theatrical play to the director’s meticulous attention to detail, employing digital backgrounds, classical music, mesmerizing dance routines, and enchanting lighting throughout the performance. Based on the love story of Mughal Prince Salim and courtesan Anarkali, Mughal-e-Azam portrays the conflict faced by Mughal Emperor Akbar, torn between his principle and responsibility towards the future of his empire and his duty as the father of a beloved son.

Initially released in 2016 as theatrical production, Mughal-e-Azam, a masterpiece play, continue taking us on an extraordinary journey into the mesmerizing history of the Mughalia Sultanat. The director has seamlessly created a lasting impression on the audience’s mind with captivating performances, stunning visuals, the ingenious use of technology, and a rich cultural narrative.

Certain scenes from the play serve as reminiscent tributes to the original movie, featuring iconic actors Madhubala and Dilip Kumar, as well as the legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar. It was truly awe-inspiring to witness flawless live singing and performances of unforgettable songs such as “Pyar Kiya To Darana Kya,” “Mohhabat Ki Joothi,” “Teri Mahefil Me Kismat Aajma Kar,” and “Bekas Pe Karam Kijiye” by the talented cast members portraying Anarkali and Bahar. The fusion of classical music, dance, and modern choreography lends a unique and enchanting experience to the production. The battle scene between Father-Akbar and Son-Salim, the heartwarming reunion of Jodha with her son after 14 years, the impeccably executed kathak dances, and Akbar’s poignant farewell to Anarkali stand out as truly unforgettable moments amidst numerous others. Each actor embodies their character with finesse and dedication, effortlessly drawing the audience into their mesmerizing stories.

Over 150 artists flew in from India to create the awe-inspiring sets specifically for the Auditorium Theatre. This weekend, Chicago was fortunate enough to host three shows of this spectacular production. The entire creative team deserves immense praise for their meticulous work, resulting in a visually stunning performance. The seamless transitions between scenes, the meticulously choreographed dance sequences, and the impeccable lighting design all contribute to making “Mughal-e-Azam” a top-notch production.

“Mughal-e-Azam” is an extraordinary and breathtaking spectacle that successfully captures the grandeur, passion, and intrigue of the Mughal Empire, leaving the audience in a state of awe. This play is an absolute must-see for anyone who appreciates the magic of live performances. Following its success in Chicago, Cinema On Stage Inc. is bringing this enchanting show to Newark, N.J., Toronto, Houston, Dallas, Seattle, Vancouver, British Columbia, San Jose, Calif., and Phoenix. For further details, please visit As the legacy of Mughal-e-Azam continues to unfold, we can only anticipate the future endeavors of Cinema On Stage Inc. and their commitment to bringing captivating cinematic experiences to live performances. Their innovative approach and dedication to creating immersive worlds on stage pave the way for a new era of theatrical magic, where technology and storytelling harmoniously unite.

Auditorium Theatre

The Auditorium Theatre, an Illinois not-for-profit organization, remains committed to presenting the finest international, cultural, community, and educational programming to the vibrant city of Chicago.

In conclusion, Mughal-e-Azam at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago is an awe-inspiring and unforgettable production that showcases the grandeur of the Mughal Empire and the enduring power of love. This theatrical masterpiece, brought to life by a talented cast and creative team, leaves a lasting impact on all who have the privilege of witnessing its brilliance. Prepare to be transported to a world of opulence, passion, and intrigue as Mughal-e-Azam captivates audiences across North America, spreading the magic of live performances and redefining the boundaries of theatrical excellence.

Lina Shah is a Freelance Writer, Editor, Teacher, Social Worker and Financial Professional. Inspired by her father, she is a multi-talented suburban Chicagoland wife and a mother of two, who also enjoys cooking, social gathering and event planning.



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