The film is a re-telling of a popular Indian tale, previously filmed as Loves of a Mughal Prince (1928) and Anarkali (1953). It is loosely based on an episode in the life of the Mughal prince Jahangir, also known as Salim. In the movie, the great conqueror Akbar (played by Prithviraj Kapoor) and his Rajput wife, Jodhabai (played by Durga Khote) have but one son, the weak and pleasure-loving Jahangir, or Salim, played by Dilip Kumar. Salim falls in love with Anarkali (Madhubala), a slave and court-dancer. He wants to marry her; his father objects, and throws Anarkali into prison. Anarkali refuses to reject Salim. Salim revolts against his father, is beaten in battle, and sentenced to death. Anarkali buys his life with her own and is condemned to be walled up alive. However, Anarkali's mother begs for Anarkalis' life and the emperor relents; he exiles Anarkali rather than killing her.
Most tales of Salim and Anarkali end with Anarkali's death; the movie version is slightly more upbeat. However, Salim is still left to believe that Anarkali is dead and the lovers are still separated for the rest of their lives.
(Here is a video of the famous song 'Jab pyar kiya to darna kya')