JP had launched the project in 2000 as Abhishek Bachchan’s debut film. It was a historical titled Aakhri Mughal, based on the life of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, and the one playing the role of the last Mughal was none other than the mighty Dilip Kumar.
Abhishek was over the moon. “Imagine working with the greatest actor India has ever produced in my first film! It took Dad almost twenty years in this industry before he could work with Yusuf Saab (in Ramesh Sippy’s Shakti) whereas I’m getting the privilege in my first film,” he had revealed in a previous interaction.
However Aakhri Mughal was not meant to be. The project was shelved and JP quickly assembled another debut film Refugee for Abhishek.
What went wrong with Aakhri Mughal? Apparently the producers/financiers pulled the plug on the project as it was far too expensive. Also, Dilip saab was never comfortable with costume dramas. He hated pasting beards on his face and wearing long-flowing jackets and ornaments.
Yes, he had done it in Mughal-E-Azam. But doing it again for another Mughal emperor proved way too daunting.