An insight into what all went behind the scene into making this classic film
Yesteryears dream girl Hema Malini surprised everyone by announcing that she would like to remake the film Razia Sultan casting her daughter Esha Deol. It is a different thing that this project has been rolled under the carpet for now. Hema says that Razia Sultan was completed in seven years yet there were many drawbacks in the script, which she now wants to rectify and produce a remake but because of her busy schedule she has not been able to take out time for this.
‘FLOP BUT A VALUABLE BIOPIC’
The film made in 1983 contained lot of secrets. Released in December 1983, it was produced by Kamal Amrohi. Critic then said, ‘This film has been the biggest flop of a great producer.’ The public has rejected the film outrightly. But still in context to Indian cinema this film still remains to be a valuable one. Like his previous film ‘Pakeezah’, he left no stone unturned to see that all the technicalities are catered in picturisating of the film. People still talk about the Muhurat of the film which was shot at the Kamalistan studio and its making thereafter.
SNAKES USED TO ENTER TENTS
Razia Sultan took seven years to ciomplete making its budget shoot up to Rs 5 Crore which at that time was considered too big. Hema Malini still talks about this film as she has many cherished memories. She says that she did her best to put life into her character.
For instance during the filming of the desert scene they encountered many snakes, scorpions and other poisonous reptiles which used entered their tents. They had specially engaged 4-5 snake charmers to catch these reptiles. “There are many more such experiences and instances because of which I cannot my forget my character and the film Razia Sultan”, she says.
The love story of the Empress of Delhi- Razia Sultan and that of her Abyssinian slave Yakut forms an important and interesting chapter of history. Kamal Sahab has made it more historical by giving it a touch on celluloid. Actually the dialect was so complex that public could not understand it. Kamal Amrohi wanted to make the film very authentic pertaining to that era and he was so engulfed in doing all this that he forgot what public wants. Be it Mughal-e-Azam or Pakeezah the dialogues written in urdu were par excellence and too good but in Razia Sultan he gave it a different twist. Such elaborate dialogues did not go well with the love story that Razia Sultan was. The film is remembered and liked because of its grand scale and grandeur.
DHARMENDRA DIDN’T COMMIT
Hema Malini’s popularity was on declinin when Razia Sultan was released. As far as Kamal Amrohi was concerned he was on the seventh heaven with the success of Pakeezah. That is why he wanted to complete Razia Sultan at the earliest. It is in the nature of Kamal saheb that he likes to shoot from two different angles for the entire film and so he planned the shooting schedule in such a way that the entire movie could be completed and released within two years. He had finalized the dates of all the actors prior to the muhurat shot of the film, but because of the indifferent attitude of Dharmender and Hema Malini the film was completed in more than five years.
There were three conditions that were put before Dharmender by Kamal Amrohi - firstly he will devote 10 days for the shooting of the film every month, secondly he will be on time for the shoot, thirdly he will not talk anything about the film professionally during its production. But alas inspite of putting all this before Dharmender with due respect, he was not able to abide by it thus resulting in a delay of the shooting schedule.
FILM WAS SHOT BY 4 CAMERAS
Kamal Sahebs’ Razia Sultan left all the other films behind as far as splendor is concerned. Every precaution was taken to frame the shots in a splendid and spectacular way. Especially the way the war scenes have been picturised about 50 kms from Jaipur in a village called Tala are still a delight to the eyes of the film lovers. Thousands of fire balls were made for the war which was to take place in the night. 50 feet long 50 wooden towers were erected on which the armies of Razia Sultan positioned themselves to attack the enemies. 7000 costumes, 4000 swords and equal No of spears, shields, bows and arrows , horses and camels were all gathered on a war footing. Kamal Saheb was unhappy as he had demanded 1500 horses and 500 camels. But he got only 800 horses and 200 camels which was far below his expectations. The entire war scene was shot with the help of four cameras by renowned camera man R D Mathur.
Leave apart small accidents but there were also incidents wherein people avoided major accidents by the skin of their teeth. There is a scene in the film wherein Razia Sultan passes through the desert with her convoy and gets engulfed in the desert storm. This was filmed 8 kms from Jaisalmer in the Rann wherein high powered Fans and generators were installed. The villagers had warned in advance that apart from the fear of snakes and scorpions there is also the terror of nomads. With the help of electric fans the scene of a storm was created and it baffled the horses and camels and Kamal Saheb picturised the whole scene frame by frame.
These are one of the few reasons that inspite of failure of the film financially it is still considered to be a classic. No doubt the music was not as good as that of Pakeezah as music director Khayyam was not able to derive much out of it.
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