Sunday, February 17, 2008

Once upon an era…

It takes a vision to create an epic. When I came out of the theatre, all I could say was Salute to Ashutosh Govarikar for making this film. The hard work shows on screen.
We’ve all studied about Jodha Bai and Akbar in our history textbooks but we have never known it as a love story. But even after watching Jodha-Akbar and getting completely awed by the scale, I still don’t see it as a love story. Jodha-Akbar for me was a great cinematic experience and a good historical film.
In the first fifteen minutes itself, the battle of Panipat blows your mind. As the story progresses, you come across interesting characters and intriguing sub-plots. A political marriage of a Hindu Rajput Princess and a Mughal Emperor is a nice plot but not necessarily a good story. Still, you feel hooked to the screen because of a good screenplay, wonderful performances and amazing production value.
Whether it’s Jodha practicing sword-fight with Sujamal, or Akbar taming an elephant or the Akbar-Jodha sword duel or the wars shown or the final Akbar-Sharifuddin fight, it’s the camera-work, production, sound design, art-direction, action-design, performances and direction that mesmerize you. Don’t go expecting a love story between Jodha and Akbar otherwise you’ll be heavily disappointed. In fact, to cut the length, the song that needs to go out of the film is the duet “In lamho ke daaman mein”.

Story wise, there is nothing that I can summarize in a line or two. Think of it as a section of time from the Mughal Era, which actually changed the political scenario.
Of all the performances, Hrithik Roshan shines as Jalaluddin Mohammed Akbar. His sincerity shows in each and every frame. It’s difficult to imagine any other actor as Akbar. Aishwarya looks gorgeous and acts well. Though I had problems with her pronunciation of simple words like Parajay and Mrityu. Of the supporting cast, Sonu Sood and Niketan Dheer stand out amongst the male lot and Ila Arun amongst the female ones. In a film like this, characterization tends to look a bit sketchy but it’s the performance of these actors which makes a mark.

Songs “Kahne ko jashn-e-bahara” and “Azeem-o-shaan Shahenshah” are wonderfully picturised. The song “Khwaja mere Khwaja” is good but hampers the flow of the film. The Krishna Bhajan has been used well in the film.
The film is lengthy and you may feel that few scenes were a bit stretched. In fact the beginning and end titles together are some fifteen minutes long. But the way the film progresses from one scene to another, it is very unlikely that you’ll feel bored.
So enjoy the film, appreciate the vision, marvel the scale of the film, and admire the performances. Happy Viewing!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


A film that holds your attention within the first two minutes itself promises to be an entertainer. And this film manages to keep its promise. A very crisply edited film, well directed and well enacted.
The story remains true to the one line you must’ve read on the posters. Destined to be a nobody, an accident made him a superstar. That’s the story of Kunal, who bears a striking resemblance to the superstar in making Karan Saxena. Kunal always wanted to be a star but when he achieves it, he has to understand what was it about stardom that he wanted? Was it the money, the fame, the name or an artist’s satisfaction? And once this realization happens, he has to make a choice.
Why the film works for me is because of – a, the characters that’ve been created; b, the way the story has been told; and finally, because of the way it has been filmed. Subtle metaphors at the right places, intelligently woven seed-ins and seed-outs and wonderfully played out silences are things that make this film different from a regular masala film.

Kunal Khemu has really done in a role which seems to have been tailor-made for him. He has grown as an actor and does justice to both his roles. I am sure, many people will like his “Karan Saxena – the star who cares a damn” role better than the “Kunal Mehra – struggler turned star” role. Sharat Saxena gets to do a very good part after a long time. Reema Lagoo is extremely good as the understanding mother. Darshan Zariwala might seem a bit loud at the start but as the film proceeds, you begin to understand the layers of his character. Its good to see Vrijesh Hirjee under control. Zafar Karachiwala and Rushad Rana leave an impact in small roles. Tulip Joshi is loveable as Mausam and Ashima Sahni gets to play a better role than what she did in her debut Dhoka. Its hard to say who is the main heroine of the film because one gets the hero and the other gets a better length in the film.

Rohit Jugraj is definitely a director to watch out for. He has indeed bounced back with full force after the debacle of James. He has handled the complex scenes really well and has managed to extract good performances out of everyone in the film. He has been ably supported by a very nice screenplay by Sudip Sharma and Rahul Singh. Some digs on the industry might not go well with the pseuds but hey, just take them sportingly.
The film does suffer from the most dreaded word for any film – predictability. But since the whole film travels on a uniform pace, you actually don’t try and guess the next scene. You just enjoy the scene that is going on. I am sure, the film will gets its due because the movie-goers are dying to see an entertainer where they don’t actually need to leave their brains home. So go and enjoy the moments.