In 1960, when director K Asif’s magnum opus, Mughal-E-Azam, released, one song that received great attention was ‘Pyar kiya toh darna kya’. The highlight of the track was its set, which was a replica of the Sheesh Mahal (or ‘Palace of Mirrors’ in Lahore Fort, Pakistan), and was created using numerous small mirrors.
Now, after more than five decades, film-maker Sanjay Leela Bhansali has created a similar set, called Aaina Mahal, for a song in his upcoming film, Bajirao Mastani. The track will feature Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra.
A source says, “This has to be the most extravagant set Bhansali has ever created. It took over 40 days to build it, and has been designed by Saloni Dhatrak, Sriram Iyengar and Sujeet Sawant. The mirrors that were used were specially bought from Jaipur, Rajasthan.”
Apparently, over 20,000 intricately designed mirrors have been used to put the set together. Workers were flown to Mumbai from Jaipur to work on the embedding of the mirrors. The massive set measures about 12,500 sqft. “The set also boasts 13 chandeliers that were lit up with candles for the song’s shoot,” adds the source.
When contacted, Saloni says that the only memorable Sheesh Mahal set to date has been the one used in Mughal-E-Azam, so the challenge they faced was to create something equally grand, yet slightly different in design.
“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.”