Jodhaa Akbar poster

Jodhaa Akbar

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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Director: Ashutosh Gowariker
Running time: 210 minutes
More Movie Info

Jodhaa Akbar - Preview

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.

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. He clarified that the name of the film remains Jodhaa-Akbar, and not Akbar-Jodhaa as reported by sections of the media.
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.

...

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!”

Also check out the discussion here about the movie's publicity or lack thereof -
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

48 reviewers(?) - 27 yays 9 so-so 12 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Tajpal Rathore, BBC : ...It hits at the heartstrings and somehow has enough energy to sustain itself through the bloated script that perhaps should've been chopped.... full review

Thumbs up, by Beth, Beth Loves Bollywood : ...it bothered me a little that she was attractive when being domestic and docile and he was attractive being aggressive... full review

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 Aaina Sharma, Bollywood Mantra : ...Finally the performances lend the final refinement and elegance to this superlative product.... full review

Thumbs up, by Abhishek Mande, Buzz18 : ...As for the war sequences, they could have well been done without. Ashu doesn't get too creative here... 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 Deep, Deep's Home : ...The scenes were handled so well that you won’t get bored for a single moment... full review

Thumbs up, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...The film's best moments are the ones between the protagonist couple.... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ...This one stands out and stands out the tallest.... full review

Thumbs up, by Gaurav Malani, indiatimes : ... Jodhaa Akbar is a brilliant work of cinematic excellence. Period! No there’s more to the review. Just keep an adjective count hereon.... full review

Thumbs up, Indicine : ...Kiran Deohan’s proficiency is evident from scene one... full review

Thumbs up, by Abhijit Mhamunkar, indya.com : ...Gowariker deserves a bow for his vision and successful handling of the epic love story... full review

Thumbs up, by Amit R Agarwal, merinews : ...The film is visually opulent. The jewellery design deserves special mention... full review

Thumbs up, Movie Talkies : ...Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Jodhaa is so real and convincing as a Rajput princess that you feel she has never before looked so good in a role... full review

Thumbs up, by Meena Iyer, Mumbai Mirror : ...Kiron Deohans's cinematography is ostentatious... full review

Thumbs up, by Anupama Chopra, NDTV : ...Who else but Ashutosh could create a sublime, superbly erotic love story about an already married couple, who live in the 16th century.... full review

Thumbs up, by Jahan Bakshi, Now Running.com : ...this could well be called Ashutosh Gowariker's most masala film... full review

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Now Running.com : ... Not once does the director allow the inherent opulence of his theme to overpower the love that grows between them... full review

Thumbs up, by Sundeep Mann, Passion for Cinema : ...Asutosh Gowariker has to be congratulated for making a film with such conviction and executing his story on such a grand platform... 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

Thumbs up, by Hanumant Bhansali, Radio Sargam : ...Infact, Jodhaa Akbar stands out because of its tight screenplay and writing, clever direction and fantantic performances.... full review

Thumbs up, by Tagore, Radio Sargam : ...I don’t know how it will fare at the box-office but yes this is a must watch at the theatre... full review

Thumbs up, by Arthur J Pais, Rediff : ...The film is about three hours and 30 minutes but once it hooks you, the length does not matter... full review

Thumbs up, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...The sets (Nitin Desai) are breathtaking and precisely authentic... full review

Thumbs up, Upper Stall : ...Stand out performers from the supporting cast are Ila Arun, Yuri, and Nikitin Dheer... full review

So-So, by Naresh Kumar Deoshi, Apun Ka Choice : ...Such unsubtle and filmi treatment of a crucial sequence was not expected from a filmmaker whose past works I have greatly admired.... full review

So-So, by Bikas Mishra, DearCinema : ...I don’t think the film takes one deeper into the mind of the Emperor that looks full of conflicts... full review

So-So, by R Krishnakumar, Deccan Herald : ...What really fails Jodhaa Akbar is its compliance to convention.... 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

So-So, by Indiequill, Indiequill : ...The Mughals and the Rajputs seem to have had exactly one plan of attack - rush towards each other and hack away.... full review

So-So, Intermission, The Bookeazy Blog : ...You must watch the movie like a museum trip, which can’t always have ‘everything’ at it’s best.... full review

So-So, musicNmovies.info : ...Having unwanted slow songs just increases boredom at times... full review

So-So, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...To paraphrase screenwriting guru Syd Field, a scene should be entered as late as possible and exited as early. Gowariker does the complete opposite... full review

So-So, by Neha Viswanathan, Within / Without : ...But the film does succeed in using simplicity to build the idea of a budding relationship.... 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 Oz, Desi Train : ...the way he ends “Khwaja Mere Khwaja” is irritating and painful... full review

Thumbs down, by Khalid Mohamed, Hindustan Times : ...Sufism is touched upon by a clap-a-hand-here-clap-a-hand-there qawwali... 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 aslam, MovieWalah : ...Discovery of India did a much better job than most of these period movies... full review

Thumbs down, by Anand Kadam, Passion for Cinema : ...The main culprit here is the screenplay with half baked plots and half developed characters... full review

Thumbs down, by Dpac, Passion for Cinema : ...Shoddily done CGI scenes, boring war sequences, saas-bahu dramebaazi, distinct lack of characterization and clichés galore…... 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

Thumbs down, SearchIndia.com : ...Most of the time Hrithik Roshan seemed like he was performing the role of Birbal (Akbar’s court jester).... full review

Thumbs down, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...The battle sequences are unimaginative, often tacky, the length inordinate, the political intrigue comic... full review

Thumbs down, by Saakshi Juneja, To Each Its Own : ...Sajan beemar aur Sajni bhage prabhu ke dwar. Phir ek raat ki baat aur Sajan back in full avatar... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

8 readers - 4 yays 2 so-so 2 nays

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

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Antioch ca dental : 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Easydisplay UK Ltd.

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.

Plot Summary

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.

What Worked

  • Use of Hindi Shlokas instead of Sanskrit during a pooja.
  • Use of wide-angle lens to make the tents look bigger than they actually were.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • I highly doubt Rajasthani women wore transparent saris for their blouses to show from 500 years ago!
  • Even today you will find Rajasthani mothers-in-law wearing the biggest veils before their sons-in-law! And here you have Rani Padmavati (Suhasini Mulay) with no veil at all!
  • Urdu diction of the some of the side characters - the words didn’t flow, they sounded very forced.
  • Suhasini Mulay's (Jodhaa's mother) acting - at two points, at least, it was difficult to tell whether she was crying or laughing!
  • Expression on Hrithik Roshan's face just before he gets up in the "Khwaja" song. It seemed like he was praying for it to get over, where as he actually was going into a trance!
  • Punam Sinha's (Akbar's mother) dialogue delivery.
  • Cliched symbolism of dark clouds going over the moon!
  • Jodhaa's mother had come with a plan for her to escape from the wedding. Why was she then also ready with poison? Did she not believe in her plan? Was she so desperate? If so, how come she had no major role to play in her daughter's life later?
  • The silly made-up custom of having to recognize your wife from scores of women. What a rubbish excuse to build drama/romance.
  • Why was the assassinator waiting to be spotted by Akbar's men?
  • The whole religious equality speech - sounded more like an attempt to get the movie tax-exemption!
  • When Jodhaa's brother didn't trust Jodhaa, why did he risk his life for her husband!?
  • Why wasn't Jodhaa's brother being given medical attention and was being presumed to die?

Nitty-Gritty

This section lists things that I think are not important to the overall impact of the movie. In most cases, it could be explained away by something like, "we noticed the glitch after the scene was shot and there were schedule/budget issues and thus we could not re-shoot it". I like giving the makers the benefit of doubt, but I am amused nevertheless. Hopefully, they will tickle you too.

  • Are elephants really that easy to tame?
  • The way Jodhaa was shown around the palace - it sounded like a guided tour.
  • Jodhaa didn't taste the daal-baati!
  • The dialogue that Jodhaa's father says on Akbar's arrival to Amer "aan-baan ka chandrama" what is that supposed to mean!?
  • When did Akbar get the plate of flowers ready during the sword fight?
  • The special sound effect added to the maulana's voice.
  • Jodhaa's brother was hindu, he would have said, "sadaa sukhi raho" not "sadaa khush raho"

Jodhaa Akbar - Cast, crew, links

Supporting Cast:
Dialogues:
Cinematography:
Background Score:
Action Choreography:
Music Director:
Costume Designer:
Running time:
210 minutes
Reviewer:
Language:
Country:

Comments (19)

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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...

[..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..]

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.

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

[...] 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 [...]

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 !!

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

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

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.

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

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!

[...] 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 [...]

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.

morph - apologies, my bad!

Rahul - o-kay

Bolsy - huh?

Anjali, Jolly - good for you!!

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!

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

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

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