Before I get into a detailed analysis of Jodha Akbar, I would like to warn the reader that if you are wishing to watch this movie for its historical value, then don’t. Mr. Ashutosh Gowarikar, seemingly, has used these historical figures to portray his own love-story, and added fictional figures, where and when he pleased, to sustain it.
The movie, for it to be enjoyed, needs a lot of patience (it is almost a four hour movie) and major overlooking of character flaws. Mr. Gowarikar seemed to lack a sense of direction and seemed extremely confused with his ideas. Perhaps, he erred in interpreting Jallaluddin-Akbar, or maybe that aspect of his life which he wanted to concentrate on. He failed to achieve the integration of Akbar, the Emperor of Mukammal Hindustan, and Akbar, the lover.
While watching Jodha Akbar, I got a continuous sense of déjà-vu. The initial battle scenes reminded me of Mahabharata. The scene in the market where Jallaluddin dressed as a commoner to feel the pulse of his awam was reminiscent of Aladdin. The most glaring ‘inspiration’, though, was the grand battle between Akbar and Sharaffuddin in the end. Had it been done better, one could have easily imagined Eric Bana and Brad Pitt instead. But then again, Indian Cinema is all about paying tribute to our western counterparts in the form of poorly aped sequences, sometimes frame by frame.
What really killed the movie, as I mentioned earlier, was the failure of the director to convince us that Akbar, the Emperor, and Akbar, the lover, are the same person. Hrithik Roshan, while being in his element, seemed totally out of sync during the times when his character demanded that royal show of power and assertiveness. This was especially when he was playing the role of the love-struck Emperor and the role of a son torn between his wife and mother. His portrayal of Akbar was more of a young man, who was barely out of his teens, being led by a finger, by the various women in his life. This was a poor commentary on the Great Jallaluddin, who has found a revered place in the scrolls of Indian history.
The story comes alive as Hrithik and Aishwarya excel as a pair, trying to find a common ground while dodging the complexities brought about by the matrimonial union of a Muslim Mughal and a Hindu Rajput Princess. You find yourself, unwillingly, being dragged into their struggle, hoping fervently that they finally discover love. However, by the time they do, the damage has been done, further aided by a plot which forms the staple of any Ekta Kapoor presentation.
The music, though, is excellent. A.R Rahman never fails to deliver. The sets are grand. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, as usual, has portrayed the role of a ‘lajwanti stree’ to perfection.
As the conclusion, I would only like to say that, it would be unfair to dump the movie immediately. Nevertheless, there is no denying that this movie is a big disappointment. This is yet another flick which joins the long list of movies to have been highly hyped, only to eat dust. The potential to achieve great heights was immense. But ultimately, it remains a dud, as I dare to compare it with Mughal-e-Azam, or even Lagaan and Swades.
[image courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Jodhaaakbar_poster.jpg]