wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?) - But, watch it in theaters, if you must!
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.Read more
All eyes are on the first true high profile movie of 2008. Here are some interesting tid-bits on the self-acclaimed "magnum opus of the year" (whatever that means!). This is what wikipedia has to say -
The film centers around the romance between the Muslim Mughal Emperor Akbar, played by Hrithik Roshan and his Hindu wife, Jodhabai, played by Aishwarya. In reality Akbar's wife was never known as Jodhabai. The use of the name Jodhabai appears to have been a 19th century mistake. Her real name was Hira-Kunwari before marriage and after marriage she was known as Mariam-uz-Zamani.Ashutosh Gowariker hired a research team of historians and scholars from New Delhi, Aligarh, Lucknow, Agra and Jaipur to guide him on this film and help him keep things historically accurate. He clarified that the name of the film remains Jodhaa-Akbar, and not Akbar-Jodhaa as reported by sections of the media.
According to historical texts, Akbar actually did meet Jodha before they were married. It was Akbar who proposed to her father for her hand in marriage to create an alliance and also because he somehow became very fond of her. Akbar had many wives, some of them Rajput princesses.
Ashutosh Gowariker hired a research team of historians and scholars from New Delhi, Aligarh, Lucknow, Agra and Jaipur to guide him on this film and help him keep things historically accurate.Personally, I am more interested in the way the political drama unfolds in comparison to the romance. History will be history, it will always be them vs. them. I would be happy, if the story is captivating. Watch this space for updates with interesting buzz on Jodhaa Akbar on the web.
Update: Thanks for the link, Pooj. Excerpts -
Some historians have questioned the very existence of Jodha Bai and some are of the view that it was Jehangir who had one of the wives by that name. “The historians are divided over the name, not the person. Most of them agree Akbar married the daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amber. Jehangir was born out of this wedlock,” says Ashutosh.Also check out the discussion here about the movie's publicity or lack thereof -
He relates his research. “I started from the top. Abul Fazal’s ‘Ain-e-Akbari’ and ‘Akbarnama’ have no reference to Jodha Bai. The name also doesn’t find mention in Jehangir’s memoirs. Similarly, there is no mention of Jodha Bai in Badauni’s ‘Muntakhib-al-Tawarikh’.”
... Contrast this to the small-budget, risk-free cinema and Ashutosh says, “We are fast becoming part of world cinema. Ninety and 100-minute formats are a reality. But personally, I can’t do without 180 minutes interspersed with five songs!”
Today is the time of ghor kalyug at the box office, of aggressive hardsell, of driving people nuts with your publicity drive to the extent that they sing Dard-e-Disco (or Saawariya) in their sleep. To hell with the ridiculous theory that says that ‘a good film always works’- it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that is just politically correct crap.
- meeta, a part of the audience
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
Thumbs up, by Razeen Shameem, Bolly Spice : ...He creates a wonderful soundtrack that may not create an impact at first listen, but once seen on screen, you can’t help but be mesmerized by each and every song.... full review
Thumbs up, by Chandrima Pal, Buzz18 : ...If he is the steely emperor of Hindustan, leading his fearsome army one moment, he is the vulnerable lover, longing for the intimacy of his wife in the other.... full review
Thumbs up, by Deepak Venkateshan, Passion for Cinema : ...Go in to see a story, a well woven script and for amazing cinematography, art direction, choreography, music, lyrics and of course the direction.... full review
Thumbs up, by Shruti Bhasin, Planet Bollywood : ...the main stars showcase natural chemistry and personify their characters so much that you forget you are watching actors playing a role... full review
So-So, by Aniruddha Guha, DNA : ...If only the writers (Ashutosh Gowariker and Haider Ali) had done it in a more enjoyable manner, not making the first half drag like there's no tomorrow... full review
Thumbs down, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...And when a largish chunk of a film is filled with things you don’t much care about, it’s a huge problem... full review
Thumbs down, by Hetal Adesara, Business of Cinema : ...One can relentlessly argue that Lagaan was longer in duration than Jodhaa Akbar but then Lagaan was Lagaan and the climax made it well worth the wait. However, this does not hold true for Jodhaa Akbar... full review
Thumbs down, by Sreeram Ramachandran, M TV : ...And before I forget, there is no big suspense in the film, was just trying to make the review interesting, since the film offers very little by way of that. Sorry.... full review
Thumbs down, by Greatbong, Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind : ...However such flashes are rare, as the Gowariker who gave us “Pehla Nasha” and “Baazi” seems to take control from time to time, much to our misfortune.... full review
Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.
Not Interested in Watching, by pisos laminados
Want to Watch, by Drama Serial Jodha Akbar
Yay! Thumbs Up, by cadillac fuel pump assembly : wonderful
Yay! Thumbs Up, by dissertation : 98
Yay! Thumbs Up, by Full Length Movies : the film is so so not to bad n not to good
Yay! Thumbs Up, by mohit dugar : it reflects the culture of india. and teach us "Har Majhab ka Ehatraam"..really it does as i said
So-So, by Consumer Goods
So-So, by SUV Reviews : 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
Warning: this section has some details that could distort your experience while watching the movie. I strongly recommend reading this only after you have seen the movie or if you have decided not to see it.
Mughal emperor Akbar (Hrithik Roshan) marries Rajput princess Jodhaa bai (Aishwarya Rai) for political advantage. They gradually fall in love with each other. This love story is presented with a backdrop of the political environment of the 1500s.