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!