The Mughal magic

Published On: 2016-06-26

Author: various

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Jodhaa Akbar - What a Royal Night It Was - The Music of Jodhaa Akbar Release

Source: MovieTalkies
Date: 11 January 2008

That night, the night of January 9 at the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai was a memorable and magical night. It was like being transported to one of those great nights celebrated by Jodhaa and Akbar during his reign, with a touch of today. It all started with the royally designed invitation card. The décor in an around the hall was done all in Mughal splendour. The music played before the night to begin was royal. The jam packed hall of celebrities gave the look of one of the darbars of Emperor Jalaluddin Akbar Khan. The touch of royalty started with the very snacks that were served, the more than delicious food and drinks and the hospitality, all touched with royalty. It had to be. It marked the zeal and zest to celebrate the human effort of one young man to bring alive an entire era and its entire splendour. I would not like that night to be described in any way because it was a night difficult to describe. The night when Ashutosh Gowariker and UTV hosted a party to launch the music of one of the most eagerly awaited films, Jodhaa Akbar which has been in the making for the last two years. There was a feeling of enthusiasm, excitement and great expectations on every face except on the face of Ashutosh, the one man warrior who lead a team of other warriors to make a film like Jodhaa Akbar in these days when filmmakers, even the best of them are vying very hard to find every ray to find all the easy way out. Ashutosh was the centre of all attraction because of his courage and conviction to make a film he had made. The making of his film was what I would like to call the "Shahjahan kind of efforts" to build Taj Mahal. He had proved how brilliant he was as a director with Lagaan and Swades but the making of Jodhaa Akbar was like working in a different world, in a different age and time and making an effort to bring one of the most golden eras in the history of India come alive. Ashutosh was also fortunate in having UTV, the only Indian company ranked among the top ten in the world’s stock exchange to inspire him all the way to make the film as he visualized it, conceived it and wanted to make it. Mr. Ronnie Screwala, the head of UTV said his company was proud to be a part of film made on a canvas and magnitude no film has been made in several decades. His company, UTV was also so overwhelmed by the music of Jodhaa Akbar that it decided to launch UTV Music as an offshoot of the parent company.

Ashutosh Gowariker who confessed he was nervous (which was still being very brave after making a film like Jodhaa Akbar) was not a bundle of nerves of bags full of gratitude. He was grateful to everyone connected with the making of the film. He was grateful to Mr. D Y Patil an educationist and a social worker for reasons best known to him. He was grateful to all his stars, Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and all the other artistes. He was specially grateful to Poonam S Sinha, wife of Shatrughan Sinha who made a comeback as an actress after almost three decades and playing Hamida Begam, the mother of Akbar. There was a strange kind of emotion which emerged when he expressed his gratitude to his wife, Sunita, again for reasons which could only be seen in the expression on his face.

Hrithik Roshan looking as dashing and handsome as ever and who is otherwise an eloquent speaker found words making themselves difficult to come to him to express his feelings about being a part of Jodhaa Akbar. He too was a painting of gratitude to everyone from Ashutosh to the technicians, down to the assistants and the spot boys and to the large audience who had come to encourage what I would like to call "Team Jodhaa Akbar". Aishwarya with her legendary father-in-law in the audience and her husband Abhishek faraway from her was all beauty and blush and a bouquet of thank yous till she almost seemed to choke. There should have been award for the best speaker of the night and the award without any doubt would have gone to the lyricist of the film, Javed Akhtar. Javed Sahab who has always made it a point to make a thorough study of almost every subject said it was a very appropriate time to make a film like Jodhaa Akbar. He enlightened the audience about emperor Akbar who was taken not as seriously as he should have been. He said emperor Akbar was the greatest ever secularist, the kind of secularist India desperately needs today. He, a Muslim, marrying a Rajput princess Jodha was an example to prove it. He was also the first emperor who allowed casinos to flourish provided they paid taxes. He was also a great lover of the arts. The navaratnas in his palace and the kavi sammelans and mushairas he held in his palace was another proof of his love for all that was enlightening in life, Javed Sahab said as the spellbound audience who had not expected a speech like this listened to him in respectful silence. Javed Sahab thanked Ashutosh for making a film like Jodhaa Akbar. "It was a film which was a need of our troubled times and I hope it succeeds in reaching out its message to millions of people", Javed Sahab said. Javed Akhtar and A R Rahman have teamed up in Jodhaa Akbar like they had in Ashutosh’s earlier films, Lagaan and Swades. Rahman was like always a man who made his work talk for himself and who in his own way made people feel how important it was for him to be a part of Jodhaa Akbar. The gentle giant of a genius had nothing else but his work to speak for himself, it seemed.

The audience already under the spell of all that was happening was mesmerized when some of the songs from Jodhaa Akbar were screened for them. All the songs, "Jashn-e-bahaaran, Khwaja mere Khwaja (sung by Rahman himself), Manmohana, In lamhon ke daaman and Shaan-e-saaz shehanshah were songs that had nothing to do with the world of music we live in. The songs, I am sure will send critics, connoisseurs and common man who love great music struggling to find words and tunes to sing Rahman’s praises.

And when it was time to release the music Ashutosh had a royal surprise in store. He had real life royalty to release the music of a film for the first time in the history of Indian cinema. Maharaja Bhavani Singh, Maharaja Gajraj Singh and Maharani Padmini Devi of Jaipur released the first cassette and album. The dignified Maharani Padmini Devi even made a speech in English in which she thanked Ashutosh for making a film which reflected the truth about the Rajputs (Jodhaa was a Rajput). She was also thankful to Ashutosh for keeping alive her sister, "Maharani of Amer" in Rajasthan in the form of a beautiful woman like Aishwarya. Incidentally the royal family did everything possible to help Ashutosh in the making of the film.

Ashutosh made a special note and thanked the actor Hyder Ali who first inspired him with the idea of making the film. He then called all his artistes, singers, technicians and even all the little children who had played parts in the film.

And even as the audience was wondering what Amitabh Bachchan was doing (with his dear friend, Amar Singh) and some of them wondered if he was there only to applaud his daughter-in-law, they were in for a big surprise almost towards the end of the royal night. Ashutosh called him on stage and the way the sixty seven year old "Big B" strode on stage sent the audience into raptures and gave him a thunderous ovation, something which has become a very intrinsic part of his life. Amitabh in his brief speech told the audience that he was made a part of the film just two days before the function. He was to be the voice over for Jodhaa Akbar like he had done for Ashutosh’s Lagaan and the roar of applause grew louder.

Ashutosh took every opportunity to assure the audience that the film which was the first to release on October 12 and then on January 25 would be certainly released on February 15.

What followed the official function was a feast which would only be compared to the feasts celebrated by Jodhaa and Akbar during their time. The glorious night of January 9 was also a big challenge for Ashutosh. If this night was what it was only for the launching of the music, many wondered what the premiere of the film which Ashutosh promised to have would be like.

They say hardwork pays and good intentions never go wrong. You have proved yourself in both, Ashutosh and if you don’t deserve the kind of success Akbar achieved in his lifetime, I don’t know who will or can.


The Mughal magic

Source: Express India
By: Suruchi Mazumdar
Date: January 11, 2008 

He is the charismatic Mughal emperor and she is the enigmatic Rajput princess. Their restrained romance lights up the screen in Ashutosh Gowariker’s forthcoming Jodhaa Akbar. Even when the cameras are not rolling, the camaraderie of Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai—Bollywood’s gorgeous pair—is palpable.

The lead couple were together to promote Jodhaa at its music launch in Santacruz’s Grand Hyatt on Wednesday evening and they light up the ambience with their sheer star appeal. Just when the clock strikes 12, Rai takes a break from non-stop interviews to wish her co-star Roshan on his birthday. Later on, Rai makes a point. “There is no problem between us. If you still don’t believe me, please ask him.”

There were reports of discomfort between the two on the sets of Jodhaa , after gossip columns reported how the Bachchans, with Rai’s nuptial pending, had objected to the duo’s intimate scenes in Dhoom 2.

Roshan too is equally sporting when he is teased on whether having Rai as his co-star prompted him to act in Gowariker’s film. “I agreed to act the moment Ashutosh told me it’s an epic romance. Unfortunately, at that time I didn’t know who would be my leading lady,” he says.

From the reel-life Mughal king’s cute moustache and the queen’s elaborate attire to the grand fort and sword-fighting—there will be lots to keep the audience glued to Jodhaa. The film’s hero counts the movie’s high points in a lighter vein. “There is no need to worry. I’ll be showing my body in Jodhaa, like I did in Dhoom 2,” he jokes.

Roshan maintains a straight face even he is in a mood of banter, but it doesn’t take too long to initiate Rai’s much talked-about giggles. Even as they have a good time, the duo doesn’t forget to rattle endlessly about the grand epic and thus make sure that the film dances its way to the box office, much like Dhoom 2. “Before taking up the film, I read a lot about Akbar and the era. But finally I left it on my own interpretation,” says Roshan. “I will be glad if today’s youth is able to identify with Akbar.”

It took months to translate Gowariker’s magnificent vision onscreen but the lead actors never complained; a newly-wed Rai didn’t mind staying away for days from his new-found family for shooting in Karjat. “When I joined work after my wedding, Ashu (Gowariker) said that he could hardly notice any difference in me.

That was the best compliment I received on a professional level,” says the Bachchan bahu.

Apart from their fondness for Mughal history and their favourite director, Roshan and Rai connect strongly at one more point—they love talking about their respective families. “Till now I haven’t really cut down on work, but time is more precious for me now that I’m committed,” says an emotional Rai. After a series of whirlwind interviews, both Roshan and Rai are keen to rush home. Before taking his leave, the daring hero shares, “Every year Suzanne (Khan) surprises me with something on my birthday. I’m sure this year there will be no exception.”