Jodhaa Akbar wins audience hearts

Published On: 2016-09-08

Author: Various

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Jodhaa Akbar wins audience hearts



Date: February 18, 2008 


Ashutosh Gowariker’s Jodhaa Akbar has got a big thumbs up from a huge section of the audience across the nation and worldwide. The single screen halls collections too are on a steady rise. The majority of reviewers have given a four star rating for the Hrithik Roshan – Aishwarya Rai Bachchan starrer, which the industrywalas feel will also help the film's prospects. Young journalist and critic, Abhishek Mande comments, "Jodhaa Akbar worked for me on different levels. First and foremost the chemistry between Hrithik and Aishwarya is outstanding. I strongly feel Jodhaa Akbar is to Hrithik what Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge was for Shah Rukh Khan. I would term it a more important turning point in his career rather than a Krrish. It establishes him completely as a superstar. Also the film is definitely not a boring history lesson but in fact a well narrated one though a tad long. The younger generation too is being able to relate to it despite the heavy Urdu dialogues. It also shows for the first time on screen something we never knew existed or parts of which we had only read about in the history books. I am confident that down the years it shall always be looked back as a classic." 


An Adlabs cinemas official told us, "The film did not open in the multiplexes in Mumbai on the release day since the deal between the multiplex owners and the makers had not fallen through. But from the time we opened the shows on Saturday there has been a heavy rush with all the shows on Saturday and Sunday going houseful. There are advance bookings for most of the night shows and the weekdays too are looking very good. It is a family film which means an increase in number of footfalls per show. The word of mouth is strong as well." There have been widespread protests in states of Rajasthan and Gujarat where the film has not been released in various centres. But, the makers are hopeful the situation changes and in a press conference held in Mumbai on Saturday 16th February, Ashutosh Gowariker clarified his stand and explained his reasoning to the objections raised against his film. 


For the first time in last three years, there shall be no release coming for two Fridays in a row, with the next release coming up only on 7th March - Subhash Ghai's Black and White and after that again a two weeks gap with Abbas-Mustan multi-starrer Race coming up on March 28th. The trade sources inform this shall definitely benefit Jodhaa Akbar in the long run. The film has released in 26 countries simultaneously and the response in US and UK has been very good till now with even a good number of non desi audience patronizing the cinema halls playing Jodhaa Akbar. Lastly, there are already talks amongst fans that it should make it to the Oscars just like Gowariker's Lagaan.



Gowarikar’s new winner



Date: February 17th, 2008 


Bollywood, History Just saw Jodha-Akbar and here’s a word of caution. The director has taken a few creative liberties with the story and that usually disappoints purists like me. I raged when I saw Troy; when I saw The Bourne Ultimatum; when they cut a crucial part of Alexander in our cinemas. And I cried when Santosh Sivan botched up Asoka! So am I disappointed with Jodha-Akbar? Not in the least bit! Firstly because, the movie gives a disclaimer before the move begins. Secondly, because tampering is miniscule, largely done only to flesh out the romance angle in the movie. Thirdly, because the soul of the story and the historical bits about what made Akbar great have been left intact. And finally, because I am a fan of the director Ashutosh Gowarikar has become. The film is very well made. Excellent production values, thanks to UTV. The canvas is huge and the production values measure up to those of films like Troy. Although they’re not as lengthy (and thus that detailed), this is pretty evident in the battle scenes. The lead pair are very well matched. Two megastars of mainstream Hindi cinema in probably their biggest roles to date, looking good and essaying their roles very very competently. 


Aishwarya isn’t really known for her acting, but she pulls off a role that could easily have gone very wrong if it hadn’t been played with restraint. To this fan, is is difficult to imagine any other current actress in the role. Hrithik on the other hand makes it look effortless. He is wonderful as the young Mughal Emperor! This is one actor who has an extremely malleable face. A face that can look as easily retarded as it can look regal! In his relatively short career, Hrithik has already essayed a wide variety of roles, not all of them easy, and most of them very well. This is one guy who has the potential to dwarf every other megastar that Bollywood has seen! This writer personally believes that if he did indeed say that he will one day overtake Shahrukh Khan, he is setting his sights too low! The lyrics disappoint. In trying to chase authenticity Javed Akthar comes up with lyrics that don’t roll off the tongue very easily. Probably the nicest song in the movie is the bhajan that Krishna devotee Jodha sings. The narrative lags at times, but that is because of the nature of the subject and the director’s desire to do full justice to it. The costumes one assumes are well researched and therefore fairly authentic, but it is the exquisite jewellery that really stands out! 


The action is excellent, but I must point out that some sequences have been lifted straight out of Troy, specially from the Achilles-Hector battle! Gowarikar repeats Bollywood’s gilded baritone… Mr. Bachchan does yet another turn as narrator. The movie has a message for modern India. It shows how Akbar’s rule of tolerance and peaceful co-existence set him apart from other so-called “foreign” rulers in the past, and how he managed to unite India into a massive empire under him, while other more partisan rulers failed at the same task. Gowarikar is not your run of the mill director. He has made an Oscar nominee in the past; a Swades which I thought was a very good film; and he refuses to make crass commercial films that “may work with our masses“. He is a responsible film-maker, a patriot to boot, who understands that he has the additional responsibility of educating the viewer and influencing his taste. It is pitiable that there are unnecessary controversies in Rajasthan about the movie. Instead of trying to negate undeniable facts, the Rajputs should feel proud of the part their princess played in India’s history. 


To me this movie is a victory of committed film-folk like Ashutosh Gowarikar, Ronnie Screwala and Hrithik Roshan over the unabashedly commercial, Bollywood pimp-brigade of Yashraj, Karan Johar and Shahrukh Khan. If you ask me where I would put my ticket money, it would (again and again) be on the former!