Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jodhaa-Akbar: Review

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 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 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, jewelry, 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 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 - 3 hours 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 neither am I being paid by anyone to write this:):). After a long time, a movie worth spending Rs. 200 ( the oscar films have just been released). There are so many protests against the movie. But frankly speaking who cares whether it's authentic or not. Ashutosh himself has said that seventy percent of the movie is his imagination. Do names matter? He is not trying to malign 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.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

To think about

Some quotes I picked from Mary Alice of DH :P:P

The world is filled with good do we recognise them? They are the ones who are missed so terribly that everything falls apart in their absence..they are the ones who love us long before they have arrived.. they are the ones who come looking for us when we can't find our way home..yes, the world is filled with great fathers and the best are those who make the women in their lives feel like good mothers.

People by their very nature are always on the look out for intruders, trying to prevent those on the outside from getting in but there will always be those who force their way into our lives just as there will be those we invite in but the most troubling of all will be the ones who stand on the outside looking in, the ones we truly never get to know.

There is a prayer intended to give stength to people faced with circumstances they don't want to accept.The power of the prayer comes from the inside of the human nature."We ask God to grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change'' because so many of us rage against the hand that life has dealt with," the courage to change the things we can", because so many of us are cowardly and afraid to stand up for what is right, "And the wisdom to know the difference", because so many of us give into despair when faced with an impossible choice.The good news for those who utter these words is that God will hear you and answer your prayer.The bad news is that sometimes the answer is no.

In a world filled with darkness we all need some kind of light..wether it is a great flame that shows us how to win back what we have lost, or a powerful beacon intended to scare away potential monsters or a few glowing bulbs that reveal to us the hidden truth of our past.We all need something to help us to get through the night, even if it is the tiniest glimmer of hope.

Spring comes every year but not everyone remembers to stop and smell the flowers.Some are too busy worrying about the future or mistakes the have made in the past.Others are preoccupied with not getting caught or thinking of ways to catch someone else.Still there will always be a few who remember to take a momet and appreciate what spring has given them just as there will always be those who prefer to sit in the dark, brooding over everything they have lost.

The opposite of love is not hate but indifference as hate means you and I are still connected.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Its time to honour our real heroes!

The other day I was watching the NDTV Indian of the year.The awards went to all deserving individuals like Dr.Manmohan Singh,Rajnikant,Vishwanathan Anand, Shah Rukh Khan,Mukesh Ambani,Dr. R.K. Pachauri but the overall Indian of the year went to not one individual but to the Indian Soldier. As on the dias I saw the widows of the soldiers who lost their lives,I was overwhelmed with emotion. These women who have lost so much in their lives are doing everything silently. I just then wondered if we really honour our soldiers. Whenever a soldier dies, we talk of his bravery and his sacrifice.But has the soldier to be dead to show that as a proof of his valour.Not only the soldier but also his family is sacrificing each and every moment of their lives for the motherland. The people and the government in particular should realise that a 'living' soldier's contribution is of immense importance to us.When it is 2.c in Delhi, people talk ofweather being too cold.Let us spare a thought for the armymen braving sub zero temperatures upto -30 c in the extreme conditions in Siachen or any other place for that matter for six months in a year. Contrast this with our politicians who are fighting with each other to get the Bharat Ratna as if they do not get anything already.It would not help to just ceremoniously put badges and give a meagre amount as prize money to soldiers but to give them and their families something more than that. Let us honour our soldiers the true place they deserve and show it to them in every way we can.

There are many unsung heroes in our society whom we don't acknowledge. Bilkis Bano symbolises the grit and determination to attain justice in spite of the innumerable obstacles one faces. During the state sponsored pogrom in Gujarat in 2002, Bilkis was gangraped when she was seven months pregnant, her three year old daughter butchered in front of her own eyes and all her family members brutally murdered by the rioters. She had practically lost everything but she didn't lose hope and fought for justice. She has been living life as a refugee for the past six years not telling her whereabouts to anyone.The accused were given life imprisonment last month and she was in tears when verdict came remembering her daughter. Let us honour her for her great will and support her.

Irom Sharmila, Auto Raja, Manjunath, E. Shreedharan, Sabrina Lall, R.K.Lakshman are our real heroes who have inspired so many of us.

And when Bobby Jindal became the governor of Louisiana, everyone applauded him.I was quite cynical of this.He has never been to India nor will ever be, nor can he do anything for us then why we are claiming him to be an Indian.Sunita Williams,unlike Kalpana Chawla was born and brought up in the USA and she has even served in the American Army.Then why we are proclaiming her to be one of us. And when Mrs. Sonia Gandhi could easily have become the PM, our very own Sushma Swaraj wanted to go bald and eat 'chana' to protest a foreigner ruling India.Why are we so happy about PIO's getting into politics in other countries when we cannot see the same process in our country? And we have people like M.F.Hussain who made us so proud but after a few controversies we disowned them.Let us acknowledge them instead of a Bobby Jindal.