The wait is over. Huge start to the project, lots of opposition from historians, religious controversies, strenuous shoot, massacre at the editing table…It has finally seen the light of the day. And how? Released on the Valentine’s day, the theme of the day blends with the theme of the movie. After having seen how inconsistent Ashutosh Gowariker’s pacing can be in Swades, I started the movie with, I must confess, low expectations. At the end, I had got more than I thought I would.
The theme of Jodhaa Akbar, as one might be tempted to think, is not of Akbar’s ambitions and heritage. Rather, it’s about his softer side that made him fall in love with a totally alien princess and the consequent changes in his political outlook. People tend to equate length to boredom. Gowariker has known this truly and woven a script with Haider Ali that never sags for most part of the movie. Lots of convoluted subplots that are characteristic of the Mughal era definitely aid the movie’s pacing. Special mention should be made to the lyrics and dialogues that not only keep Hindi and Urdu in their native form, but also are made accessible to the common man.
Cinematography for a historic film, obviously needs to be grand and Kiiran Deohans takes care of that. He manages to capture the might of war as well as the strained relationship between the lead pair with utmost care. Gowariker has borrowed cinematic tools from Kurosawa and has used it well especially early on in the movie. However, the editing of the movie leaves a lot to be desired. The editing not only avoids us from sinking into some scenes but also fails in covering up some weak shots especially the fencing scenes. A R Rahman has already delivered the album of the year with Khwaja Mere Khwaja and Inn Lamho Ke Daman Mein being the picks of the album.
Hrithik Roshan, the Leonardo DiCaprio of Bollywood breathes life into Jalaluddin Mohammad and has matured from a being lover boy into a semi-veteran who can play characters with panache. This person is going to be “up there” in the years to come. Aishwarya Rai may not have equaled Hrithik but definitely has done what she was asked to do. The chemistry between these two carries the movie providing both comic relief and script pace. Sonu Sood too has done a wonderful job.
The movie has its own shortcomings with a “too-cinematic” last 20 minutes and weak stunt choreography. Probably the better versions are out there on the cutting table! Jodhaa Akbar is definitely no Mughal-e-Azam, but it does manage to capture the attention of the new millennium.