Akbar Khan's magnum opus, Taj Mahal - An Eternal Love Story, following two National Awards for Best Costume and Art Direction, has become the first and the only film to get a world premiere about two years after its Indian release in November 2005.
Director Akbar Khan will present the Director's Cut of Taj Mahal, a revised, shortened version of the film at the 2007 Dubai International Film Festival, at Dubai from December 9 to 16, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, PM and Ruler of Dubai and under the Honorary Chairman of His Highness Shaikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of The Emirates Group.
The Festival will feature a comprehensive selection of contemporary cinema from around the globe, reflecting Dubai's multi-cultural and multi-ethnic community. Akbar Khan's film is being included as is a "Historical Spectacular Classic", which is significant because the Taj Mahal was voted in again as one of the seven new wonders of the world in a global poll.
Says Khan, "We got a call that the authorities wanted to see the film for the Dubai Festival. I sent the film and it got selected. But my happiest moment was when I got an acknowledgement from our Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, who termed my film as 'a brilliant effort portraying one of the salient periods of our history through the medium of cinema,' adding that "it showcases our composite culture and rich heritage and is both educative and entertaining."
Incidentally, Taj Mahal is also the first film to have had an exclusive screening hosted by the Ambassador of Turkey, Hasan Gogus, for over 60 ambassadors. Recalls Akbar Khan, "it was a great honour when over 60 ambassadors saw the film and I had a standing ovation after the show. This is just the beginning of the revival of the Taj."
Made at an estimated budget of Rs 70 crore, the film narrates the eternal love of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. Actors Pooja Batra, Manisha Koirala and Kabir Bedi will also attend the Dubai festival to view Akbar Khan's Director's Cut of Taj Mahal ' An Eternal Love Story. Also starring Zulfi Syed and Sonya Jehan as the young lovers as well as Arbaaz Khan, the film has music by Naushad.