Subhash K Jha interviews Gowariker

Published On: 2016-06-12

Author: Subhash K. Jha

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Subhash K Jha interviews Gowariker

Source: TOI

He had a directorial life before. But it was with Lagaan and Swades that Ashutosh Gowariker came to be recognised as an influential film-maker of our times. Gowariker spoke to Subhash K Jha about his new film, Jodhaa Akbar, that looks at the lives of the Mughal emperor and his Rajput wife:

After Lagaan, you return to a period film in Jodhaa Akbar?

You might say that. But i call Lagaan a period film. Jodhaa Akbar is to me a historical. Anything after 1857 is a period film for me. Anything before that is a historical. I'd call Mughal-E-Azam a historical though its focus was different from mine. I feel if today we make a story about the past it must be correlated to the present. And Jodhaa Akbar is as relevant to present times as arranged marriages. Jodhaa and Akbar shared a perfect arranged marriage. I was fascinated by how their relationship must have grown after marriage.

Have you stressed the religious difference between Jodhaa and Akbar?

It's important but not stressed in my film. Akbar's marriage to Jodhaa was no common occurrence. It had a nationwide reverberation 450 years ago when society was far more conservative. How did their marriage affect those times? That's a question relevant even today.

Film analysts feel history has no relevance for today's average youngster?

I agree. As a child historical films did not interest me. But when i saw Mughal-E-Azam on television i connected to it because it was a story of lovers separated by parental opposition. That the parents were historical figures was incidental. I feel the story has to connect with the audience. Hyder Ali who wrote Jodhaa Akbar told me that in Mughal-E-Azam the focus was so much on Salim and Anarkali that nobody asked a fundamental question: How did Akbar come to marry Jodhaa in spite of their religious and cultural divide? I saw an interesting story there that needed to be told. As for the youngsters, i had one rule of connectivity in my range of vision. Any word or dialogue that i didn't understand in Urdu, I kept out. I've no interest in impressing audiences with my knowledge of Urdu, Hindi or even literature. I feel literature is for the books, and that's where it should stay.

So is Jodhaa Akbar kitsch?

No. I've referred to literature and academia. Akbarnama was in Farsi. It doesn't mean i'd use Farsi in my film. I want Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Bengal to understand the film. I'm dubbing the film into Telugu and Tamil. Each language has its own regality and i'm going by the individual regality of the province. I had one vision before me when i started making this film. It was the world of the Amar Chitra Katha. I've grown up on that world.