Don’t accuse me of going back on my words. Yes, I admit that I had said that I won’t be watching this one, but can you really blame me for watching it, when all the blogs that I read have already posted a review or the blog authors are waiting to watch this movie and review it? 🙂 Hrithik fans- one request- please don’t read this review. You might get a little pissed off. Aamir Khan fans- you can stop reading this post now. I have absolutely no donuts for you.
Ashutosh Gowarikar has made movies like Lagaan (which was nominated for the Oscars) and Swades (one of my personal favorites). So, people have high expectations from Jodhaa Akbar. And if you already don’t know, then let me tell you this- even Aamir Khan, along with his wife, Kiran Rao, attended the premiere (Okay, I did lie- there is something for Aamir Khan fans). I succumbed to peer pressure and ended up watching this movie last night, at the cost of my beauty sleep. It was not that bad. It was not that good either. The movie doesn’t proclaim to follow the Mughal History to the hilt and the story is Ashutosh’s personal interpretation of the love story between the famous Mughal King, Akbar and his wife, a Hindu princess, Jodhaa.
The movie has some really good moments. Let me talk about those first. The scene where Hrithik, as the King, makes an appearance for the first time, is quite impressive. Also, lots of other people have talked about the way the marriage scene between Hrithik and Aishwarya has been shot. Yes, that was very colorful (in Rajasthani style) and eye soothing. One of my personal favorites is the song “Khwaja Mere Khwaja”. Ashutosh has shot this song with a lot of subtlety and no one else would have done this song justice. It’s a simple song where the singers of Akbar’s court are paying homage to the Allah and are singing praises of their Lord and God, Akbar. Hrithik Roshan has done a phenomenal job in this song and really acts like the Emperor. I loved the way he got up and joined the singers, raised his arms towards the sky, and got lost in the lovely atmosphere. this has got to be the best scene in the movie, according to me.
Another memorable scene is the one where Hrithik is having a court discussion with his courtiers and he hears Aishwarya singing a bhajan “Man Mohanaa”. He gets so mesmerized by it that he dismisses the court and follows the faint tune to finally reach his Hindu wife, genuflecting in front of the diety, Lord Krishna.
But after setting such high standards, Hrithik did let me down in some other parts. I am not happy with his Elephant taming scene or the other scenes where he’s flexing his muscles. He was not acting like Akbar then. He was just plain Hrithik. Can you even imagine Akbar out in the courtyard, without a dress, exercising his muscles and Princess Jodhaa, a couple of yards away, pining for him? This is clearly a directorial fault and some loose editing. It kind of spoilt the entire aura and the richness that’s supposed to be omnipresent in each and every scene.
The song “Azeem-O-Shan Shahenshah” is one of the best tracks in the CD and I expected it to be shot on a large scale. Basically, the song is about people from different walks of life coming in front of the king and paying their respects, after Akbar demolishes the taxes that Hindus pay for taking pilgrimage trips. Ashutosh should have taken help from his dear friend Sanjay Leela Bhansali in designing the sets for this song. I know that there are lots of people who loved the way this song was done, but I don’t know why, I felt as if something was missing. The picturization looked too hurried. It ended up looking more like a roadside locality show.
Hrithik Roshan’s acting is quite good in some scenes, but overall, it’s not very consistent. In the first 45 minutes, he’s done a decent job, but after that, he stops behaving like Akbar. I’m suprised that Ashutosh Gowarikar didn’t realize this while making the movie. Or perhaps he did and realized that it was too late.
Aishwarya Rai’s acting, surprisingly, is much better than Hrithik’s, in my opinion. She has done a decent job and manages to keep her giggles and stiff motions under control. I would give Ashutosh the credit for this. She looks extremely pretty throughout the movie and for once, you will be overwhelmed by her beauty, only for the simplicity of it. But..err..she looked like a crazy daaku who doesn’t know how to fight in those sword scenes. Oh, and that sword fighting scene between Ash and Hrithik was way over the top. Hrithik’s trying to woo his lady by throwing flowers at her (as elegantly as he can) in between the fights? 😮 Total work of genuis! Lesser mortals like me can’t even talk on cell phones while driving.
Poonam Sinha, as Akbar’s mother, is a treat to watch and if it were not for her acting, Ila Arun would have very easily turned half of the movie into a Saas Bahu kind of serial.
I really enjoyed seeing the big palaces and forts and the sheer opulence, because it reminds me of my trip to Rajasthan, that I’d taken a long time ago. I’m originally from that state and I always like it when it’s shown in movies 🙂 My mouth almost started watering in the scene where Aishwarya cooks a Rajputana meal for Akbar and the other kings. Ghewar, dal, bati, sanghri ki subzi, boondi ke laddoo…eating such a traditional, Rajasthani meal is my ultimate dream.
The length of the movie kind of made me a little wary of watching it and I need to admit that there were times when I stopped watching the screen completely and got lost in my thoughts or my work. 3 hours 20 minutes is way too long for the story that Ashutosh Gowarikar is trying to tell. He could have easily restricted it to 2 hours 30 minutes at the most. But I guess, he believes in giving you full paisa vasool kind of entertainment.
This movie could have been a simple love story between any prince and his princess and not necessarily between Akbar and Jodhaa. I wish I could have seen some more details of the actual rule of Akbar instead of the mushy love scenes, that only made me want to run away. The country flourished during Akbar’s rule and there was so many advancements in Arts, architecture, music, general administration etc. and because of that, 3 hours 20 mins should have been used for showing some other stuff too. Ashutosh Gowarikar could have devoted less reel to the saas-bahu saga and some of the battle scenes and concentrated more on other aspects of the Emperor’s rule and the relationship with his wife (which kind of, turned out to be half baked in the second half of the movie). Even the ending was a little hurried and dissapointing. Perhaps, a mini series on a television channel would have done justice, no? 🙂
Related Reading: Music Review- Jodhaa Akbar