The one word that kept coming back to me while I was watching Jodha Akbar was 'grandeur'. After a brilliant Lagaan and a critically acclaimed Swades, Ashutosh Gowariker brings his magnum opus Jodha-Akbar. He is one of the few directors of the Indian film industry who are known for their convictions rather than being driven by the commercial aspects like Shah Rukh Khan for OSO. Otherwise who would want to make a film about a married couple of the 16th century.
The story is about the Mughal emperor Mohammad Jalaluddin Akbar and a Rajput princess Jodhabai. Jodha is married to Akbar in order to form an alliance between the Rajputs and the Mughals. She refuses to consummate their marriage until she is ready to completely accept Akbar and he agrees with her. What follows is a brilliant narrative about how they fall in love with each other after overcoming their differences and a scheming 'Mahamanga' played by Ila Arun. What I really liked was the unconventional portrayal of the characters. Akbar was so feminist and yet so macho and Jodha was humble and so assertive.
Nobody, seriously nobody could have performed these roles with superb perfection and a dazzling chemistry except Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. Aishwarya is looking drop dead gorgeous and stunning more than ever. Hrithik delivers a powerful performance probably his career best. His scenes have an aura. The sets are grand, lavish, magnificient, lavish and ostentatious but still do not distract the viewer's attention like Devdas did. The culture, costumes, jewellery, war scenes, animals are all authentic and leave a powerful impact after the movie has finished. The cinematography is lovely. The song 'Azeem O Shaan Shehenshah' is spectacular and a treat for the eyes. A.R.Rehman's music is as always soul searching. 'Khwaja mere Khwaja' is soothing and the way Akbar is in a trance after hearing this, is breathtaking.
Yes, the movie is long- 3hours and 40 minutes- and enough will be said about its length. It drags a bit in the second half.The other characters are nothing much to write about but still I loved the movie and it worked for me. I know people will say I am exaggerating but I don't care and niether am I being paid by anyone to write this:):). After a long time, a movie worth spending Rs. 200 ( the oscar films have just released). There are so many protests against the movie. But frankly speaking who cares whether its authentic or not. Ashutosh himself has said that seventy percent of the movie is his imagination. Do names matter? He is not trying to mailgn anyone. It is so convincing that one really is not bothered about the reality and these protests seem banal. What is history anyway- a set of lies agreed upon. The movie is asking for 4 hours of your life which is too much these days but give it a try.Watch it.