The International Movie Review

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Jodhaa Akbar – Ashutosh strikes gold

Posted by harino1 on February 18, 2008

After several reshuffling of dates and over 2 years in the making , UTV and Ashutosh Gowarikar bring to you Jodhaa-Akbar a complete epic in itself. Any comparisons with Mughal-E-Azam or Ashutosh’s previous piece of work should be strictly avoided.

Besides a good star cast and soulful music, Jodhaa-Akbar has much more to offer. Set in the sixteenth century, JODHAA AKBAR is a love story about a marriage of alliance that gave birth to true love between a great Mughal emperor, Akbar, and a Rajput princess, Jodhaa. Little did Akbar [Hrithik Roshan] know that when he married Jodhaa [Aishwarya Rai Bachchan], he would be embarking upon a new journey — the journey of true love.

The daughter of King Bharmal of Amer [Kulbhushan Kharbanda], Jodhaa resented being reduced to a mere political pawn in this marriage of alliance, and Akbar’s biggest challenge now did not merely lie in winning battles, but in winning the love of this defiant princess.

Firstly Jodhaa –Akbar isn’t too complex a film to understand, the script and screenplay is simple and above all the language is simple with a mix of Hindi and Urdu.

The characters in the film are so real and leave a heavy impact on you. Only a visionary such as Ashutosh Gowarikar can dare to do such a film. When Ashutosh kept justifying the shuffling of the release date, one thought it was all humbug. But on viewing the film, you are more than convinced that a film of such magnitude indeed requires a lot of courage and patience to firstly shoot it and then edit and compile the various scenes.

It is so obvious on screen the amount of effort put in and the care taken to craft a film such as this. Just observe the casting of the film, besides the prime faces we know of, Ashu brings to you such tremendous talent that fits the bill even with their slightest of roles in the film. For example, take a look at the Villain in the film-Niketan Dheer, he is much taller and built than Hrithik which makes it so believable in the fight sequences that Hrithik is bound to fall when he collides against him. Also take a look at the various kings, the common men depicted in the film, the warriors etc. It’s just apt.

On the performance graph, no one could have possibly played Akbar with such elegance as Hrithik. Hrithik is simply fabulous. It’s not just his body and looks that impress but it is the way Hrithik carries himself throughout the film. He impresses in almost every sequence. Watch out for Hrithik’s duel with the elephant, his sword fight with Aishwariya , his dialogue delivery and expressiveness when he is betrayed by his step-brother. Also the climax fight sequence has some great dialogue delivery from Hrithik.

Aishwariya stands perfect as Jodhaa. Many would state that after Hum Dil Chuke Sanam , Ash is simply at her best in Jodhaa-Akbar. The sequence where she sets her demands before Akbar are impressive. She emotes well in sequences where she is humiliated by Akbar’s step mother played by Ila Arun. She also does well in bringing out that romance and is smooth with the sword sequences.

Sonu Sood is yet another character to watch out for as he portrays Sujamal, Jodhaa’s step-brother with ease. He impresses with both his dialogue delivery and sword handling. Poonam Sinha returns with a terrific guest appearance. Ila Arun freaks you out and watch out for her dialogue delivery with Ash as she expresses how possessive she is of her son Akbar. Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Raza Murad and Rajesh Vivek  are all so apt and add to this epic.

Defintely the credit for this magnum opus goes to Ashutosh whose dares to dream big. But, without a skillfull team of technicians this would still be just a dream. Firstly, A.R.Rehman’s music is simply soulful and the right mix for a film such as this. The songs just grow on you and the background score is simply terrific. On leaving the theatre you are sure to hum either the ‘Jashne Bahar’ or ‘Azeem-o-Shaan Shehanshah’ track. The choregraphy and picturisation of ‘Azeem-o-Shaan Shehanshah’ is splendid.The song that was shot in 12 days is rich in colour , choreography, camera movments-  you name it, it carries all. It’s been a while since the Indian Audiences have ever seen something like this.

Kiiran Deohans brings in topnotch cinematography. You are simply floored by the way the camera tracks out from low below the horse’s legs and various other sequences show you simply how brilliant the D.O.P is. Take a look at even simple sequences where Ash’s brings in a curtain to separate Hrithik from her and the conversation between the two is shot with great style.

Haider Ali teams up with Ashu to bring a screenplay that is highly researched, interesting and very impressive. The length of the film is indeed 3hrs 20 mins but , Haider and Ashu can’t be fully blamed for it.Haider does a cameo in the film , he is seen in the ‘Khwaja Mere Khwaja’ track. K.P.Saxena’s dialogues are terrific. They are simple and carry the aura that an epic such as this requires. Take  a look at the dialogue when Akbar takes on Jodhaa in a swordfight .The costumes by Neeta Lulla are so rich , apt and terrific. The costumes just make the characters stand out.

To sum it up Ashutosh has taken great care and pain in bringing us an epic. Even the animals in the film have been dealt with great care and surprisingly you don’t have a single scene where horses are made to fall , elephants rolling etc unlike those done in epics before. Ashu simply proves that he is a master of crowd sequences right from Lagaan to Jodhaa-Akbar, just take a look at the number of people that fill the screen.

The only drawback of the film is it’s heavy length which can’t really be dealt with as Ashu attempts to compress years of history and bring it to the masses in just 3hrs 20 Mins.  Kudos Ashu!

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