Phew!!! Finally saw it. There are a few things you need to prepare yourself for before watching the saga.
Firstly, if you don’t have the stamina or courage to sit through a movie which has a running time of 3 hours+ then AVOID it. Secondly, the last biggest hit of Hrithik-Aishwarya as a pair was Dhoom-2, something too dimensionally different from Jodha Akbar. So it will be hard for a big chunk of audience to digest them this way. The costumes, the dialogues, the customs are too different from the present era and I found many people in the audience laughing. Thirdly, we have a certain image of Akbar in our minds (thanks to Mughal-E-Azam) and its hard to see him as a madly in love, vulnerable and “young” Akbar trying to grope with the nitty gritties of politics. And that is exactly the problem with Jodha Akbar.
The negatives first. The first half of the movie opens up very well. The war sequence in the beginning is well executed. The marriage of a Mughal Emperor and a Rajput princess was completely unacceptable and a lot of political upheavals occurred before this happened. This buildup takes up a major portion of the first half, which is quite well shot and narrated by Amitabh Bachachan. The problem starts when the movie is inching towards the interval, when Jodha finally arrives in Agra after marriage. It is at that point when the movie begins to drag. Maham Anga, played by Ila Arun, is on the verge of turning the movie into some Balaji Telefilm’s serial ( Jodddhaaa Akkkkbar), when thankfully the interval appears like a knight in shining armour. Thankfully, just after the interval, Akbar throws out Maham Anga out of his life with his mother’s ( played by Poonam Sinha ) support and the movie picks up its pace. Another problem in the movie is its abrupt ending.
Now the positives. The movie boasts of some lush never seen before visuals. In a way its a beautiful visual treat throughout. May it be Jodha’s introduction scene or the elephant taming scene ( Its hard to imagine how Hrithik managed to do that) or the sword fight scene between Jodha and Akbar or the enchanting love story which enfolds as the movie progresses, the movie somehow sucks you in the flow of events. There are so many facts about Akbar which the movie reveals and which I have no intention of revealing here. It also portrays Jodha as a powerful queen who had a big hand in changing and moulding Akbar’s thought process and the way he handled his powers. She was the source behind his transformation, though in a very subdued way. The sublime scenes between the lead pair are the ones which hold the movie together. Hrithik has this huge burden of playing the Emperor and sometimes he puts too much effort and it shows. But somehow if I try to imagine someone else from the current breed of actors who could have done the role, I can’t imagine anyone else. Aishwarya is looking nothing less than a queen (*SIGH*). The songs are beautifully picturised. “In lamhoon ke daaman main”, “Khwaja mere Khawaja” and “Azeem-o-shan shenshah” perfectly stand out. The supporting cast which consist of Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Suhasini Mulay, Raza Murad, Sonu Sood, Ila Arun, Poonam Sinha have well etched roles which are performed well.
Hrithik and Aishwarya had the albatross of their last mega hit around their neck. I had a nightmare in which Jodha breaks into “Crazy kiya re” in front or Akbar and I promised myself that if Jodha Akbar would have one scene which would make me forget Aryan and Sunehri (Hrithik and Ash’s charecters in Dhoom 2), I’ll call this movie good. And yes, its good. Watch it for the honest effort which went into its making, watch it for Ashutosh Gowarikar who woke up a sleeping genre of films from its slumber and watch it to know the love story which somehow got lost in the pages of history.
Directed by – Ashutosh Gowarikar
Rating – ***
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