‘Utho Anarkali’: ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ frame journeys from work of art to ‘meme material’


A resplendent prince Salim, portrayed by Dilip Kumar, leaning over a demure, apparently sleeping Anarkali, played by Madhubala. The freeze frame from cult classic “Mughal-e-Azam” 63 years ago is today template for memes, echoing everyday news, concerns and even societal trends.
The latest meme to make it to the Twitter and other social media platforms was the image with Salim pleading: “Utho Anarkali, hum out of syllabus ho gaye hain.”
It was the latest instance of the frame – portraying an intimate scene between the star-crossed lovers before their tragic separation in K Asif’s epic film — becoming a template for social media jokes.
The reference was to recent reports of the NCERT’s new Class 12 textbooks dropping some content, including portions on Mughal history.
The meme was circulated widely on social media, many posting their
Last week, the government extended the deadline to link the Permanent Account Number (PAN) with Aadhaar card to June 30, 2023, giving users the opportunity to invoke Salim-Anarkali yet again.
“Utho anarkali Adhar PAN link karna hai,” the meme by @WeMindBlowers
Netizens have also found clever usage for the meme, @dhruviiiparmar wrote, “Utho anarkali abhi to sirf mid-week hua hai. corporate slaving is waiting” (Wake up Anarkali, it is just mid-week. Corporate slaving is waiting).
In the film, the scene plays out with Anarkali lying down on a bed of flowers and Salim gently lifting the veil from her face as court musician Tansen sings.The classic, based on the historic legend of Mughal prince Salim and courtesan Anarkali, has remained timeless through its unforgettable music, the matchless acting, the grandeur of the sets – inspiring filmmakers over the decades and now ‘memesters’.