The song 'Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya' from K Asif's Mughal-E-Azam (1960) is memorable for many reasons, one of them being the famed Sheesh Mahal set that was specially created for it. Measuring 46 m in length, 24 m in breadth, and 11 m in height, the set was designed along the lines of the Sheesh Mahal (Palace Of Mirrors) in Lahore Fort, Pakistan. Featuring several tiny mirrors made of Belgian glass, the opulent set cost Rs 15 lakh to make. At the time, this amount was higher than the budget of an entire Bollywood film.
Mughal-E-Azam has since become an enduring classic of Hindi cinema. Now, this year, two upcoming magna opera Hindi films will be attempting to recreate similar replicas of the Sheesh Mahal in a bid to capture similar levels of grandeur and pay tribute to Asif's film.
In August, it was reported that Sooraj Barjatya's upcoming Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo, starring Salman Khan, will feature a Sheesh Mahal. "I have always been inspired, awed and overwhelmed by Mughal-E-Azam — a film that has always fueled my imagination as a writer and director," Barjatya was quoted as saying in a report by Pinkvilla. "Everything about this film is iconic and we have indeed tried to pay homage to this cult classic in our film by constructing the Sheesh Mahal. It's our tribute to the film that shaped the Indian film industry in many many ways. Sheesh Mahal plays a very intrinsic role in the plot of the film."
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Hindustan Times reported that Sanjay Leela Bhansali's upcoming Maratha war epic Bajirao Mastani — starring Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra, and Deepika Padukone — would also feature a similar set that they have called 'Aaina Mahal'.
According to the report, the 12,500 sq ft set features 13 chandeliers lit up with candles, and 20,000 "intricately designed" mirrors which were embedded by workers who were specially flown down from Jaipur to Mumbai for the task. Having taken more than 40 days to build, it is said to be Bhansali's most extravagant set till date.
“We created the Aaina Mahal keeping Maratha architecture in mind. We have consciously kept the size of the mirrors in a range that would help maintain the design’s delicateness, and not pose any obstructions when it comes to capturing the set on camera,” said Saloni Dhatrak, one of its designers, to HT.
The two films are slated to release within weeks of each other. Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo hits theatres on Diwali weekend i.e. November 12; Bajirao Mastani will release on December 18.
Surely this can't be just a coincidence. Can it?