K. Asif

K. Asif

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Category: Cinema

K. Asif Profile

  • Name:
  • K. Asif
  • Other Name:
  • Asif Karim
  • Born:
  • June 14, 1922
  • Died:
  • March 9, 1971
  • Father:
  • Dr. Fazal Karim
  • Mother:
  • Bibi Ghulam Fatima
  • Spouse:
  • Akhtar Asif

K. Asif Biography

K. Asif is the legendary film director behind the Bollywood epic - Mughal-e-Azam, regarded as the biggest movie made on Bollywood ever. When the movie got released in 1960, after a long drag of about 14 years since Asif dreamt of the project, it broke all box-office records. It broke the record set by 1943 movie Kismat and held the title of highest grosser till Sholey was released 15 years later in 1975. He has directed only 3 movies in his career – hit movie, Phool (1945), Mughal-e-Azam (1960) and the incomplete movie, Love And God, which was released in 1986 in the unfinished form by his widow, Akhtar Asif. K. Asif died on 9 March 1971 at the age of 48 when he was doing his third project.


His real name is Asif Karim, born on 14 June 1922 in Etawah, UP. He was born to Dr. Fazal Karim and Bibi Ghulam Fatima. His elder sister, Sikander Begum was married to versatile film personality, Nazir Ahmed Khan. Later Asif went to Mumbai to his brother-in-law to pursue a career in movies. His directorial debut was Phool released in 1945. The movie starring Prithviraj Kapoor, Durga Khote and Suraiya was a box-office hit.  The idea to make Mughal-E-Azam, based on the love story of Akbar and Anarkali was framed in the mind of Asif long back in 1944. The movie needs no introduction to even youngsters now. If inflation figures are adjusted, perhaps, it’s the most expensive Indian film as well as the best grosser Indian movie too! This single movie has been selected in several polls as the best Indian movie ever made on Indian screen! It received national award for best regional film in Hindi and 3 Filmfare awards including best film.


Asif planned to make this epic with Chandramohan and new comer Nargis in main lead. But with the death of Chandramohan in his early 40’s made the project shelved and Asif produced a movie, Hulchul in 1951. Again he thought of restarting the project with whole change of crew. Even the main lead was changed. Due to financial troubles (producer’s death), personal differences between the leading actors Dileep Kumar and Madhubala and Madhubala’s health related problems, the project dragged for several years and released only in 1960.


When he started the project, it was fully in black and white version. But he shot a few scenes in Techniman colour. He really wanted to re-shoot the whole movie in colour. But due to the insistence of distributors, he released in the combination of both. Rest is History. With this single movie, Asif attained legendary status despite having only worked in three productions so far. As he dreamt, years later, it became the first Indian movie to get released in full colour version. The re-released movie was a big hit too.      

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Updated: January 02, 2014


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