Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story is a 2005 Indian historical drama film directed by Akbar Khan. The movie starred Kabir Bedi, Sonya Jehan, Manisha Koirala, Arbaaz Khan, Vaquar Shaikh, Rahil Azam and Pooja Batra in the title roles. The movie was released on 18 November in India.
The soundtrack was composed by film composer Naushad Ali, his last work before his death in 5 May 2006.
It was considered the most expensive Indian film at the time, surpassing the budget of Devdas (2002) and costing more than ₹500 million ($11.34 million). The film was released in Pakistan by Eveready Pictures and did record business at the box office. However, the film was a financial failure in India, where it grossed only ₹210 million, bringing its worldwide gross to ₹311 million ($7.1 million).
The story begins with Shah Jahan, known as Prince Khurram (Zulfikar Sayed) when he is about 19 years old. Khurram was Emperor Jahangir’s (Arbaaz Ali) favourite son, whom Jahangir wanted to be the future Emperor of India, along with his wife Nur Jahan (Pooja Batra), who was well aware of this fact. Noor Jahan was married once previously, but when her first husband died, Jahangir married her. Ladli Begum (Kim Sharma) is Noor Jahan’s daughter from her first marriage. Noor Jahan is a shrewd lady, who wants the best for herself and her daughter and she aspires for Ladli Begum to marry Prince Khurram so she that she will become the Empress of the Mughal Dynasty.
Khurram’s passion for hunting leads him into a jungle, and one day while hunting he meets Arjumand Bano. Their meeting was love at first sight, with Khurram attracted to Arjumand Bano’s innocence and beauty while Arjumand was impressed by Khurram’s great personality. Arjumand Bano is Asaf Khan’s (Aly Khan) daughter, Empress Noor Jahan’s brother. Khurram and Bano again meet at the Meena Bazaar, where finally both of them declare their love for each other. Ladli Begum comes to know about their love, but she keeps on wooing Prince Khurram. Noor Jahan sees this love as a hindrance to her plans of making her daughter the future Empress of India and she succeeds in turning Emperor Jahangir against his own son, Khurram.
Noor Jahan sends her secret lover and the warrior Mahabat Khan (Milind Gunaji) to fight Khurram and to kill Arjumand Bano. As a result, a war takes place in which forces are also sent by Emperor Jahangir against Khurram. When Khurram meets Jahangir, he declares that Arjumand Bano was more superior to him than the Mughal Dynasty. As a result, relations become even more bitter between the father and the son. However, Arjumand Bano, who was a peace-loving person, agreed to forget Khurram and asked him to marry Kandahari Begum (Negar Khan), an Iranian Princess, who was chosen by Emperor Jahangir for Khurram. Khurram, due to Arjumand’s insistence, marries Kandahari Begum while on the other hand, Ladli Begum marries to Khurram’s brother. After Emperor Jahangir dies, Khurram becomes Prince Shah Jahan and ruler of the Mughal dynasty. He finally marries the love of his life, Arjumand Bano, who becomes Mumtaz Mahal. The couple lives happily for a while until misfortune occurs.
Khurram must leave for war, but a pregnant Aarjumand chooses to also go with him, as she used to accompany Shah Jahan in all his battles. Khurram tries to return to the camp from the battle but takes a long time to return as he forgets his way. While he is lost, Mumtaz Mahal dies while giving birth to her nineteenth child. During her last breath, Mumtaz Mahal asks Shah Jahan to construct her tomb in a beautiful mausoleum, describing one which would be so beautiful it would express their love for each other to all who visit the mausoleum. Mumtaz’s death is the greatest tragedy for Shah Jahan, and as a result, he becomes a completely reformed person. Shah Jahan then starts off to fulfill his wife’s last wish, to build Taj Mahal, a beautiful mausoleum to honour the also beautiful Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal goes on to become the Seventh Wonder of the World.
Time passes, and in future Shah Jahan’s sons and daughter grow up. The sons are greedy and eager to inherit their father powers, and as a result, they imprison him in a room from where he can easily see Taj Mahal. He watches his sons fighting against each other to become the Emperor of India and the Mughal Dynasty. Everywhere around him there is violence and warfare, with the beheading of slaves and even brothers are no longer uncommon. In the end, Khurram dies while looking at Taj Mahal, the Taj Mahal that took an astonishing 22 years to be made, a tribute showing Shah Jahan as the greatest lover of all time. At his death, his body is laid down next to his love, hence resulting in the culmination of their love after death.
Kabir Bedi as Emperor Shah Jahan (or Prince Khurram)
Zulfi Syed as Young Prince Khurram
Sonya Jehan as Arjumand Bano (or Empress Mumtaz Mahal)
Manisha Koirala as Jahan Ara
Pooja Batra as Empress Nur Jahan
Rahil Azam as Prince Shahryar
Arbaaz Ali Khan as Emperor Jahangir
Kim Sharma as Ladli Begum
Vaquar Sheikh as Dara Shikoh
Arbaaz Khan as Aurangzeb
Milind Gunaji as Mahabat Khan
Negar Khan as Princess Kandahari