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Akbar Khan's Taj Mahal set for release in Pakistan on April 28

Written by: Staff

Mumbai, Mar 26 (UNI) Taj Mahal, synonymous with love and peace, will set the trend for Bollywood's entrance into Pakistan.

During the Indo-Pak war in 1965, the Pakistani government had banned commercial releases of all Indian films. Akbar Khan's magnum opus ''Taj Mahal - An Eternal Love Story'' will create history on April 28 by becoming the first Indian film in 41 years to be released in Pakistan.

Recently, Khan met a 20-member delegation from Pakistan which had dropped down at his Juhu-based residence here and discussed various aspects of the film market in their country.

The movie stars Sonya Jehan (grand-daughter of the famous Pakistani singer Noorjehan) playing the lead role of Mumtaz Mahal, while Zulfikar Syed plays Emperor Shah Jahan. The other pivotal roles are played by Kabir Bedi, Manisha Koirala, Pooja Batra, Arbaaz Khan, Arbaaz Ali and Kim Sharma, while maestro Naushad has provided the music.

Akbar Khan is elated at the development and sees it as a ''new beginning of friendship'' that also opens the doors of a new territory for Indian filmmakers. He says, ''I'm particularly glad about this as our countries share the same culture. Besides, the story of my film is set during an era when India wasn't divided.'' Khan, along with his Pakistan-based distributor Satish Anand (of Eveready Pictures), is currently drawing out an elaborate strategy for the film's distribution in Pakistan. Lavish premieres are being planned in at least three major cities there.

''The entire cast and crew will be flown down for the screening,'' informs Khan. He has extended an invitation to the President of Pakistan and his wife to attend the premiere show in Islamabad. ''We are expecting General Musharraf to grace the occasion. I am sure he would like to watch this film,'' he adds.

Made on a mammoth scale, ''Taj Mahal - An Eternal Love Story'' tries to authentically recreate the Mughal era through opulent sets, royal costumes and authentic jewellery. The film narrates an age-old story of love between Emperor Shahjahan and Mumtaz Mahal. It also depicts the greed of Aurangzeb.

Meanwhile, plans are also on to re-release the film in India.

''The release strategy went haywire the first time. I wasn't happy with the way the film was distributed. Hence, on my own, I had decided to withdraw the film then,'' says Khan and adds, ''But, I haven't lost hope yet. I'm planning to re-release the film all over again. The re-release is being strategically planned and in a much better way.'' UNI MR MAZ SHB KP1137

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