"Taj Mahal was, is and will always remain one of the greatest gifts to mankind from our heritage" - Akbar Khan

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By Shilpa Mulimani, IndiaFM

The long wait is over. Finally, the eternal beauty and symbol of love-

Taj Mahal has been officially voted as one of the new Seven Wonders of

the World. It is probably the only known monument built with love as the

main theme. For Indians, it has been a wonder nevertheless ever since it

has come into light. But now the world has realized its worth. The light of

love will now enlighten not only India but every nook of the world. In the

wake of this event, who better to share the success than Akbar Khan, the

director of Taj Mahal- An Eternal Love Story?

He proudly declares, “I am one of the happiest people on earth. I am

having one of my best moments in life. It has been called a temple, a

mosque, a Mecca of all the lovers and Taj itself is a monument which is

alive. It speaks to you. It soothes your eyes, triggers your imagination, and

inspires artists, painters and poets. So I feel there is no monument in the

world which has a magical divinity about it.”

Taj Mahal has suddenly brought to life the proud Indian in us. It makes

us realize the worth of what we had for so many years and which still

continues to stand tall in spite of the endless physical torment and

controversies it is bearing for so many years. On this the actor-director-

producer-writer says, “We Indians all over should be very proud that Taj

Mahal has always been a part of history and it has no parallel in the world

because every other monument is nothing but a perfection of architectural

engineering achievement. None has got the divinity and sacredness the Taj

Mahal has.”

Just countable days ago, Taj Mahal was 14th on the list with 21

contenders with just a few days left to vote for it. But nothing was going to

bog this monument down. It finally emerged as the wonder which got the

highest votes by the public. But Akbar Khan was sure of this, “There was

no doubt at all that it would make it in the seven wonders list. But I would

like to say that whether there was this voting process or not, Taj Mahal

was, is and will always remain one of the greatest gifts to mankind from our

heritage.”

So now what? How does it matter now that the Taj has been labeled as

a world heritage? Is the way we look at it going to change in any way or is

there anything we can do for it? “I feel there has been a great awakening of

people who have not been exposed to the Taj Mahal. Our government

should take advantage of this and take additional steps to clear up the area

around the Taj Mahal and the river Jamuna. As a good-will gesture, 10% of

the money that comes from ticket sales should be spent on relocating the

people who have their livelihood around the Taj Mahal.”

This muse of many artists and connoisseurs has also been one for the

Bollywood. Many a romantic scenes and heart-melting moments have been

shot in front of this beauty. The recent ones being Tera Jadoo Chal Gaya,

Bunty Aur Babli, Salaam-E-Ishq and the most recent Jhoom Barabar

Jhoom. Akbar Khan has gone to an extent to make an entire film dedicated

to the Taj Mahal- Taj Mahal- An Eternal Love Story. The film, which

Akbar Khan describes as his “Labour of love” and which he claims to have

made with the same passion as Shah Jahan's while building the Taj Mahal,

bombed miserably at the box office. On this Akbar Khan says, “My film in

India was sabotaged by some vested interests and my efforts of getting the

right cinemas was indirectly blocked. The show-timings, the right cinema

halls were blocked. There has been an invisible force which came in the

way of my Labour of love. I never expected that such kind of elements

would exist.”

But Akbar Khan wants to take full benefit of the Taj's limelight now.

He is planning with renewed excitement and anticipation to re-release his

film Taj Mahal- An Eternal Love Story. “God-willing, we are in the process

of doing just that in a very big way and not just in India. This is a great

opportunity that I would like to seize and re-release my film the world over.

In fact, barring U.S. and U.K. my films has not released overseas, so this

will be the first release in lots of places. We are in the process of getting

everything lined up.”

Films will be made, songs will be shot, poems will be written; but

never will the eyes and heart stop getting peace, warmth and the feeling of

love triumphant over any other human emotion. Time will go by but the

aura and mysticism of the most beautiful expression of love in stone will

never fade.