Review - Jodhaa Akbar: Excruciatingly long!

wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?) - But, watch it in theaters, if you must!
quick review:

Painstakingly made but painfully long. The history and politics is interesting but the teachers seemed to be in a rush to cover the course material. What we do know now though, is romance 450 years ago was same as it is now. It is a visual treat nevertheless.

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I am not exactly a fan of qualified opinions - especially with opinion on movies. Either you like it or you don't - no if, no but, only "mut" (opinion in Hindi). In a 5-star scale, Jodhaa Akbar certainly deserves 3, but that would translate to "Wait for DVD release" here. And what a waste it would be to have you do that with such a beautifully shot movie. However, after spending half of the 200+ minutes on mostly mundane romance and the other half on interesting yet dissatisfying display of politics, I cannot tell you it is a must watch. Either catch it in theaters or skip it completely.

Meanwhile, suggestions for a descriptive rating to go between the second-last and middle rating are welcome!

Jodhaa Akbar can be clearly divided into two parts - the political saga and the romance between the royal couple. It is also obvious that the romance is the prime focus of the narrative.

Hrithik Roshan (Emperor Akbar) who is chiseled to fit the handsomest mould and picture-perfect, Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan (Queen Jodhaa) are wonderful in their scenes together. You get your dose of Chemistry along with History and Geography. But, I would say that it is largely due to the time given for that chemistry to develop - for the curiosity to become respect to become love. And here we hit the circular argument; the time taken is the biggest culprit. The movie is unjustifiably long.

In these often heavily clichéd romantic scenes, the law of diminishing returns kept cropping into my mind. In any movie in general, every extra minute beyond the 120-minute mark yields lesser enjoyment than the previous one. Unless, unless ... you have an extremely captivating story to tell, or you are telling it in an extremely captivating manner. I need something more than glittery jewelry and costumes, bright reds, oranges, and yellows, and fantabulous sets to keep me from fidgeting. Something more natural, something less made-up. And get this, here the interval is at 120 minutes!

The romance is pretty dull. From the bedroom tiffs to the mistaken identities - nothing is new or handled in a creative way. Especially appalling is the way the mother of all misunderstandings takes shape - a speech delivered in the most monotonous fashion by Ms. Rai-Bachchan. The sole scene that might stand out is the sword fight between the two. All-in-all this romance lacked Bhuvan-Gauri's innocent charm or Mohan Bhargav-Geeta's elegance.

On the other hand, the political drama, including the dialogues, was extremely interesting, - even though most of it is a voiceover delivering a lesson in history. All credit to the history teacher, Amitabh Bachchan - listen to how the voice softens when it talks about Jodhaa. Some of the political situations are executed really well too. The reactions of various Rajputs to Akbar's orders is a fine example.

Another highlight of political dramas is the language used. Both Urdu and Hindi are used beautifully, especially in the political sequences. At times the same dialogue was repeated once in each language. It sounded like an enchanting jugalbandi of the languages.

Unfortunately though, these are treated as mere sub-plots to give a break to the mushy-mushy happenings in the main story. Most of the side characters are underdeveloped and thus one-dimensional. It seems like the director is simply fulfilling his duty by filling us in on the political environment. To watch Akbar become a crowd-pleaser with just one act of kindness is unconvincing. If this one action is supposed to be symbolic of all such actions he must have taken, then it is extremely dissatisfying. More instances of Jodhaa being the light that guides Akbar's soul would not have harmed. And of course, lack of time cannot be an excuse now, can it?

The war and action scenes are an integral part of the entire drama. While other battle sequences are rather repetitive, the first one has some exquisite camera work and background score. Some of the fast camera movements have an awesome 3-D effect (okay, almost!). The silences add to the drama as much as the drum rolls.

The Rahman-Gowariker duo usually churns out some wonderful music. And if nothing else they are a spectacle. But, here I felt let down. Only towards the end of "Khwaja" did I realize that all through the song they were trying to build Akbar's character. To show how he can be mesmerized and go into a trance. Till then, all I could do was empathize with the giggles around me looking at mannequins wearing clay-pot-look-alike hats and attempting a puppet dance. "Azeem-o-shaan" is brilliant more because of the crowd and the aerial shots rather than the choreography and use of color. We've had much better from both A. R. Rehman's musical sensibilities and Javed Akhtar's pen and imagination.

Mr. Gowariker, how about leaving the melodrama, the "almighty solving all problems without any input from humans" syndrome to the Barjatyas? How about letting Ekta Kapoor reign the "salt-pepper" kitchen politics? So, we can block that out of our systems just by name. Surely there must have been more to the saas-bahu equation than that! Cannot thank you enough for sparing us the triple action repeat cuts, though. A thousand salutations to N D Studios, magnificent sets! But how about leaving that to the Bhansalis of the world? What's the point if you can't focus on what you do best - narrate a story, reach out to us?

- meeta, a part of the audience

Jodhaa Akbar - Movie Details

Jodhaa Akbar - Trailer

Comments (19)

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meetu:

Thanks for the link, Pooj! Added a few excerpts from the article.

:

Review - Jodha Akbar...

Painstakingly made but painfully long. The history and politics is interesting but the teachers seemed to be in a rush to cover the course material. What we do know now though, is romance 450 years ago was same as it is now. It is a visual treat nevert...

Sudhir Nair:

[..In any movie in general, every extra minute beyond the 120-minute mark yields lesser enjoyment than the previous one. Unless, unless … you have an extremely captivating story to tell, or you are telling it in an extremely captivating manner..]

Excruciatingly long! : NAACHGAANA:

[...] Link [...]

meetu:

Hey morph!


I don't think I have a problem with long movies. What I found missing here is content. Jodhaa had the lamest dialogues ever, and to accept that Akbar (who is resolute and knows what he is doing) was influenced by such wishy-washy dialogues was difficulr for me.


Similarly, the kitchen politics were laughable. That Maham Anga used just that one incident to keep the couple apart was ridiculous, considering she was a chief advisory.


Many such things irked me. These things were not there and yet it was long...

Am sorry, don't remember the reel length either.

Jodhaa Akbar Reviews:

[...] kitchen politics? So, we can block that out of our systems just by name… Meeta Kabra [ withoutgivingthemovieaway [...]

Jodhaa Akbar review | DesiPundit:

[...] concurs but finds the movie to be painfully long. In a 5-star scale, Jodhaa Akbar certainly deserves 3, but that would translate to “Wait for DVD [...]

AksFilmi:

I saw the first day first show here in US, that was Friday, Feb 15 2008, 5:00 PM. After traveling in massive rain for 2 hours, and boy was I disappointed??? And you know what was even worse, that I didn’t have to wait till interval to realize that I made a wrong choice, it was clear from the first 10 minutes itself, in the first “epic” fight

Well Nice Review Meetu !!

Jodha Akbar - Excruciatingly Long - RS Bollywood O:

[...] the details meetu scribbled while watching the movie - this may include spoilers. This review was also published on meetu’s [...]

Priti Chaudhary:

The movie is good...the costumes,sets,war sequence,jewelleries are cool...music is really nice & the most most most beautifull thingh is HRITHIK ROSHAN...he is just awesome....u can say alfaz nahi hamare paas uski khoobiyon ko bakhan karne ke liye....yhe most suitable actor for this role with great look,peronality & ability...I just love him

Rahul:

Mr Khalid mohammad and alike such as Meetu...... How can you insult a movie that potrays indian history in such a magnificient way, that is so fulfilling and captivating and that is getting huge praises from masses all over india.

KM, you are one of those people who would give 5 stars to the movies such as "kis kis ki kismat" or "buddha mar gaya"
because you only like those movies which has double meanings and cheap comendy in every scene.
You do not have any appreciation for a great movie which potrays indian history so beautifully which u can watch with ur whole family.
Seriously...do you have anything personally against Ashutosh or hritik or Ash. Or you have been paid hefty money by directors of cheap comedies to white such ripping reviews.

HT , you better give it a thought to retire this reviewer of yours or he will throw you out of business.

Arijit:

Lovely movie to watch.Nice story.Hrithik delivered a dazzling performance.In a word superb.Aishwariya is looking awesome.

meetu:

No morph dear, looks like you gave the review a total miss. I loved the first 10 minutes, its the wishy-washy dialogues that Aishwarya was given that annoyed me and which is why the romance did not work for me.

Rahul-Ruby, you liked the movie, we didn't. Personal attacks absolutely unnecessary!

To Each Its Own » Archives » Jodhaa Ak:

[...] nothing less than a priceless work of art. For a detailed review, I recommend reading Meetu’s post on 2008’s first big budget Bollywood release. Now moving on the lighter side; here are some [...]

Rahul:

O really Meetu,ok will you please explain the public what works for you in movies which stars Malika or Rakhi....u promptly give 5 stars to such cheap movies.... so what if u are a movie critic, even then you are not supposed to give 1 page long ripping review about a movie which touches sentiments of millions of people specially rajasthan. You should learn to be politically correct in some places or u want to land urself in trouble !!!!
and noone 's going to buy u a shit...leave alone movie ticket.

meetu:

morph - apologies, my bad!

Rahul - o-kay

Bolsy - huh?

Anjali, Jolly - good for you!!

meetu:

Narsi, so you like all movies? Because, from what you say no movie can be criticised unless you have made one. I guess, similarly no cricketer can be blamed if he doesn't play well unless you have played a match too!

meetu:

Thanks for your detailed review, Rahul. Just wanted to point out that Kiran Deohans is the cinematographer

shruti:

the film is so so not to bad n not to good

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