Everyone knows Akbar had a Hindu wife….so when a story title says ‘Jodhaa Akbar’, you know it is a love and marriage kinda story. The important thing to ask yourself is, ‘Why would I go and see an ancient unpopular love story?’ For many, it may just be Ash, Hrithik or the other Ash – Ashutosh Gowarikar. For me, it was just because only a movie of this magnitude can make me nag my husband to drive 1.5 hours out of the city to the theatre.
Now as far as reading reviews goes, I didn’t care for them as long as Ash (the director) was making the movie. But when Ash is acting, one has their reservations. Yet, we braved the freeway traffic and hunger pangs and reached the theatre. Since leaving India, I have been deprived of hindi movie talk during lunch at office. So I did not even know what to expect except gorgeous clothes (which I am least interested in), gorgeous actors (which again are a given) and decent direction (because of Ash). The posters made the actors look so young that I was slightly disappointed that they didn’t in the movie. But if Ash would have shot the film when Ash was younger, she wouldn’t have acted this well. Yes, she acts…in fact very well. And it is not like she has not had good directors. In fact this is Ash’s (the director’s) first movie in which the female lead has a role. So he would not be the reason she is so good. The reason is that – in the movie as in real life she is married into a royal family and it is mindful bahu 😉 so she is actually just playing her day to day real life on camera. As an actor, she has gone to the next level. Ladies and Gentlemen, Ash has learnt to cry…guess marriage does things to people 😉
It is unbelievable that she acts so well: but I have come up with this theory. You see, Ash – director would have been quite worried about the whole idea of directing Ash. So he did a research on her movies with other good directors, studied the roles in which she did well and compiled all that…then he poured the glue that was Akbar’s story and came up with a solid script. How else do you explain similarities to chunks of Guru, Devdas, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam?
Hrithik is amazing as usual….his brilliance is so consistent, it almost gets boring at times. Please man, make a flop. It will be good for your ego.
The other actors are so many that your head spins. Especially when they all burst into impossible dances. The choreography is an uphill task with 500 dancers in full costume, but it is so much more soothing to the eyes than it would have been had it been a Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie. Colours are natural, dancers are natural, costumes are natural: but the situation is not believable. But maybe the kings did such things..who knows!
Of the songs, all the bakhti geet are a tribute to A R Rehman. But there is no Rehman ‘chhap’ in the other songs. Khwaja Mere Khwaja and Man Mohara are beautiful and will be daily devotional songs soon…even if you are of another religion. The song sequence for the Sufi prayer is so natural….in the end, they show Akbar going and dancing with the saints. A genuine moment!
The only part where the movie becomes unexpected in the sudden saas bahu drama that unfolds in the kitchen between Jodhaa and Maham Anga….very tacky. But for all those who expect a war movie or a historic epic, don’t. It says Jodhaa Akbar – it is solely about them. But like in all Ash’s movies, there is a message… In a very thoughtful scene, Akbar openly wonders how to make India one…and he realizes that would be possible by embracing all faiths. A message that still rings true and still needs to be worked on. As beautifully put by the voice of Amitabh Bachchan: The love story of Jodhaa and Akbar is never celebrated or even remembered. But they quietly made history.