Hrithik and Aishwarya unveiled in Jodhaa Akbar

Published On: 2016-05-30

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Hrithik and Aishwarya unveiled in Jodhaa Akbar


Source: Sify and Indiatimes 

Date: October 12, 2007 


His much-talked-about period drama Jodhaa-Akbar is a film that director Ashutosh Gowariker describes as a fusion of history and his imagination. He denies any resemblance with K. Asif's magnum opus Mughal-e-Azam. "Without explaining what I'm doing, I'll say I'm not competing with Mughal-e-Azam at all. Jodhaa-Akbar is not a remake of any film. I'm making my own discoveries about the central love story as seen through the eyes of history. I hope to carry the burden lightly," he said. Excerpts: 


Q: What made you cast Hrithik and Aishwarya as Jodhaa and Akbar? 

A: There's a certain royal quality to Hrithik's face and body language. He's just amazing in those aspects. As for Aishwarya, she's to me the quintessential distressed princess waiting in her chamber. Aishwarya has the elegance and, of course, the beauty. Calling her beautiful is an understatement. Theatrical trailer of Jodhaa-Akbar out this weekend 


Q: What about the objections raised by the animal welfare board? 

A: I've been in touch with them and I've all the required permissions with details of how many animals I'm using, and how many are livestock. I've specified in my letter that I'm using 69 elephants, 50 camels and 100 horses. Every four hours the animals are given a rest period. A member of the animal welfare board visits the sets. I wanted everything worked out on paper. But I have to know beforehand what I am not supposed to do. Suppose I'm suddenly informed that the mukhiya from Lagaan can't be shown smoking, I can't do much about it. Ash works overtime to complete Jodhaa-Akbar 


Q: Do you think the ban on showing actors smoking is a killer for filmmakers? 

A: It depends. In Jodhaa-Akbar Emperor Humayun smoked the hookah. You can't tell me that I can't show him smoking. That's history. And I'm being allowed that. 


Q: Are you using authentic jewellery of the Mughal period? 

A: Yes, we're recreating the authentic jewellery of that period based on the miniature paintings of Rajasthan. Jodhaa and Akbar's jewellery has to look as it did in that era. Today's jewellery is cut in a different way. We had several designers on the job. And Neeta Lulla has designed the whole cast's look - Hrithik, Aishwarya and the soldiers. First look: Hrithik & Ash in Jodhaa Akbar 


Q: If you don't get the Mughal history right, the historians might clobber your film. 

A: That's the first thing I did. I met a whole lot of historians. The research helped me to arrive at a place where my imagination was completely unfettered. I'm sure of one thing. I'm not making a historical document. At the end of the day Jodhaa-Akbar has to be a good story told in an interesting manner. I don't want to make a biopic. "The background is steeped in history. But the characters are mine. No one knows how Jodhaa or Akbar behaved. I've to imagine their romance, the palace and harem politics. I'd say 20 percent is history, 80 percent is my imagination," Gowariker added. 


Q: Are you ready to deal with the purists? 

A: When I met the eminent historian Irfan Habib of Aligarh University he heard my plot. He thought it was a fabulous idea. He told me to forget about history or else I won't be able to make my film. Then I had script sessions with the Maharani and Maharaja of Jaipur who are the direct descendents of Jodhaa. They did the film's mahurat at the Jaipur City Palace. I've also met historians from Jamia Millia and Mumbai University and I've got the well-known Omar Khayyam Saharanpuri as my cultural advisor. They are experts on the subject of Akbar's own secular religious order Din-e-Ilahi. 


Q: What about the Hindu-Muslim love story? 

A: I don't think of my characters as religious entities. I think of them as my two protagonists whose love went beyond all considerations. I can't allow my vision to be coloured by these considerations. If in 1562, when my romance eventuates, political and religious undertones do resonate, then I won't try to stop them. But these are not my primary concerns as a filmmaker. 


Q: There's a growing feeing that costume dramas don't work at the box office. 

A: To me the period is not relevant. The story has to connect with me emotionally, romantically and dramatically. Besides, how many films set in the present times work? So, if I've to fail, I might as well do so while doing what I want to do. 


In much hype and hoopla, Ashutosh Gowariker unveiled his film Jodhaa Akbar’s trailer exclusively for the media on Oct 10. Why did Hrithik and Ash didn’t grace the occasion was the question on everyone’s mind. However the question which kept haunting more was the one about Hrithik Roshan and his Akbari-thaat ! Post Dhoom2, Hrithik suddenly going the Mughal way was a little difficult to digest. From sporting low waist jeans and a bare chest to becoming the Mughal emperor Akbar... Hrithik’s transformation took us by surprise. Good he looked, which he always does... but would he be able to portray Akbar the emperor with the same panache the way Prithviraj Kapoor did in Mughal-E-Azam ? The modest Ashutosh Gowariker gives a perfect reply. “I’ve not tried to outdo Mughal-E-Azam in this film. That film is a classic and is beyond compare. Also I regard Prithviraj Kapoor as the finest actors of Indian cinema and what he has done in Mughal-E-Azam will stay in our hearts forever. However Hrithik cannot be compared to Prithviraj Kapoor as he has played young Akbar in the film unlike Prithviraj Kapoor who played an ageing Akbar.” “There is no Salim and Anarkali in my film either”, he goes on to add. As far as Hrithik’s looks are concerned, we have designed outfits that compliment his looks. So there is no chance that he will not look out of place in the film as many fear.” Only time will tell how well Hrithik gets into Prithviraj Kapoor’s shoes and rule the hearts, the way Akbar ruled our nation!