Jodha Akbar – Movie Review

 

 

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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Jodha Akbar, Controversies and more…

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While galloping google a few days back, I came across this article about the plans of Rajput outfits to boycott Jodha Akbar. If you read the link, then as per the organisations opposing the movie, Jodha was married not to Akbar(surprise!!!!) but to his son Salim. So, apun ka Bollywood, the prodigal daughter of controversies, has done it again. Or is it the other way round? If you would have followed the news on Bollywood controversies in the last few years, you would easily come to the conclusion that most of the movies which were made to gulp the controversy pill, were forced to do that for the most inane reasons. Its either because we don’t know the D of democracy or we can’t take the medium with a pinch of salt. Hence, its very important that the filmmaker should keep the following points in mind before starting a project :

  • Make sure that there are no jokes/references related to any communities. Always remember what happened to “Jo Bole Sonihaal”, “Khamoshi” and recently to “Aaja Nachle”. I could never understand, what in the name of Beelzebub, was the controversy behind Aaja Nachle? As far as I could remember, if a song used to have some controversial lyrics ( remember “Sexy Sexy” and “Sarkaiyo khatiya” ?), then the lyrics were changed and that decision was taken by the members of the Censor Board. But banning the movie in a state for this reason takes the cake. Are we moving back to the Neanderthal era?
  • If you want your movie to be released peacefully, make sure that you are not making a movie on any historical characters. Such movies have a high probability of running into troubled waters. Jodha Akbar, Mangal Pandey, Subhash Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh rammed into trouble because of depicting lives of History book characters. The filmmaker will always find a set of people who will not agree with his research about the character which would lead to “Aa Bull mujhe maar”.
  • Never ever make fun of Veteran film personalities. If the movie is a hit then no one is going to bother but if its a flop then the filmmaker will have to live with the “kalank” of making fun of matinee idols whom he/she is supposed to worship. Recently Om Shanti Om went through the ordeal because of taking a dig at Manoj Kumar. Thankfully, the movie was a hit and recently Manoj Kumar was seen laughing at the Screen Awards function when the movie was mentioned.
  • Don’t make movies on social issues which are very hush hush. Remember the wars waged on Fire, Water and recently Black Friday. After finally watching Water, I think the kind of “Halla” created for the movie was nothing less than National disgrace. When are we finally going to grow up? Was there anything shown in the movie which we don’t know already? Do our beloved moral policemen consider the Indian audience to be so naive? Anyways, the point is that NO hushy hushy, only mushy mushy. 🙂
  • If a filmmaker has followed the above points religiously and has a bad luck, he/she will still land up in trouble anyways. The best examples in this category are Rang de Basanti(for the horse race scene (hhrumphhh!!!)), Fanaa( because of Aamir’s involvement in the Narmada river controversy in Gujrat) and recently Taare zameen par(for the same reason in Gujrat again!!!!). To evade such conditions the filmmaker should not actively participate in any Social causes, and should choose a cast which has an equally “I-don’t-care” attitude towards social issues and finally should consult an astrologer for the extra “Ks” and “Ms” in the movie title.

So, finally, what are the choices left? Well, love stories set in Alps, Fantasy(apparently, Indian movies are “too bad” in this category), Animation, crude comedies and stories which are different and don’t neglect any of the above points are the ones which would lead to a smooth and non-controversial release. 🙂 A last word for the audience and our self appointed moral policemen : Watching a movie is nothing different than reading a book or buying a painting. If you don’t like the book then don’t read it again, if you don’t like the painting then don’t buy it and if you don’t like the movie then don’t watch it again, but don’t take away the right of another person to form an opinion about it, specially when you are living in a country which is the largest Democracy of the world.

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