Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Jodhaa Akbar

Disclaimer: The review contains some spoilers. Don't read this if you are very interested in watching the movie and are looking forward to it.

Had gone to see this movie with some expectations. Expectations were quite a few from the mega budget movie with a wonderful actor – Hrithik playing the lead and an oscar-nominated director – Ashutosh Gowarikar at its helm. I had also braced myself for reality aka disappointment so as to get the expectations in check. :) To add to that, I am not an Aishwaryaa Rai fan. None the less I went to see the movie expecting a beautiful love story. I was ready to disregard any historical errors that crop up. As the name suggested, it was to be a love story between a guy and a girl – Akbar and Jodhaa, who just happened to be emperor of India and a rajput princess respectively. And that’s what Mr.AG had been promising us - a love story and not a history lesson. At the very beginning, the movie claims this too – i.e., it’s a love story between two individuals to the point of even playing down the importance (and the controversy - this is another matter that our highly intolerant mentality still made an issue out of it) around the queen’s name.

So with these things on my mind, I started watching the movie. The first thing that struck me was the thought that Mr.AB is back again (don't know why he needs to have some input in everything now a days - either he or his voice is present in 99% of the movies and commercials.. ok.. I know thats a bit of an exaggaration but he ought to make himself a little scarce). Okay if we leave him aside, the movie starts & we find ourselves in the middle of a battlefield. Kind of expected in a period movie. What was not expected is the way the scene was shot. It was funny to the point of being downright kiddish. I somehow don't know how you can shoot a battle scene with no strategical thinking to it, where ppl are just running towards each other to embrace or maybe to do the chest-thumping hi-5's a la paes-bhupathi. At least that's how it seemed to me. So we see a teen Akbar being groomed by a prosaic bairam khan. The next thing we know, Akbar has grown into an ever-so-handsome Hrithik, who quickly but very effectively makes it clear that he is the boss. The scene also establishes the presence of an ethical mind.

The movie than criss-crosses between the life of the emperor and the rajput princess. Aishwaryaa looks beautiful in the part but that's why she is there in the first place. :) The princess is betrothed to a rajput prince(I will never understand why they make such characters so ugly looking.. maybe they dot want the girl to get tempted to stay and not leave the poor guy), whose father breaks off the engagement. The plot, with a slow pace and loads of unwanted scenes, webs together the marriage of politics between the two. And now starts the movie that Mr.AG had been promising us and took a really looooong time to come to. The journey that Akbar and Jodhaa make together has been conveyed well. The loathing/fear(on Jodhaa's part) and curiosity(on Akbar's part) gets gradually transformed into mutual respect -to- attraction -to- trust -to- love. And the direction of these scenes are brilliant. You can feel their feelings for each other change and gradually evolve into a deep bond. There are a lot of unforgettable and beautiful scenes in the movie:
- The scene where Akbar sees the face of his new bride for the first time. Hrithik is just amazing in this scene with his expressions showing us everything he is supposed to be feeling. I have fallen in love with him all over again. :D
- The scene where Jodhaa puts her two demands to Akbar in order to agree for the marriage. I somehow thought she expected him to refuse and I loved her reaction when he indeed agrees.
- The sequence where she prepares food for her husband and is asked to taste the food first to ensure that its not poisoned. I loved Hrithik's expressions in this scene. It's like 'oh. comeon let me eat first.. i would prefer that I die rather than her if it is indeed poisoned'. You can see his anxiety in there.
- The immediate sequence where he asks that he will eat from the same plate that jodhaa had used.
- All the small scenes taking place when 'jashn-e-bahara' song was playing. Especially liked the one where Akbar is trying hard to 'listen-to' his dai-maa's lecture :)
- The scene where Akbar asks his gaurds to throw his evil cousin from the terrace is also good. It shows us his anger and capability to be cruel if need be.
- The sword practice where Akbar is showing off his toned body well aware that Jodhaa is watching.. ;-)
- The sword-fight sequence between Jodhaa and Akbar when he is in Amer to take her back with him. It reminded me of 'The Mask of Zorro' :)
- The scene just before this is also good. The verbal fight that they have when they are in their chamber.
- Liked the scene where Jodhaa writes her hubby's name and he confesses on being illiterate.
- The fight in the end between Akbar and his brother-in-law, a straight rip-off from troy. It was good none the less.

Even though there are some really beautiful scenes in the movie, the presence of the n+1 unwanted, poorly scripted and acted scenes just make it unbearable. If I start jotting down the ridiculous scenes in the movie, it will take me quite a few days and LOADS of words, so I am gonna just leave it out. If the movie had remained true to its name, it would have made a gr8 romantic movie. But Mr.AG seemed undecided whether he wants to make a romantic movie or a historical one. In the end, he ends up making neither. There were so many scenes that could have been so easily deleted thus giving respite to the viewers too. At a length of some 3hr 20 min, it was tooooo long. All the more heightened due to the weak screenplay and flow of the plot. I was actually waiting for the interval to come (it was all too late coming 120 min after the start) and then for the movie to end.

Hrithik as usual was brilliant. This man has done all sorts of roles and convinced me in each of them that there is no one else who could have played it better. It is near impossible to see anyone else in the role of Akbar other than Hrithik. So here I am all over in love again. The scenes between Hrithik and Aishwarya are brilliant and I would give most part of that credit to Hrithik's performance. Aishwaryaa looked beautiful and is good in many scenes but also her insipid self in few others. Thank god she redeems herself in many scenes and thank you AG for giving her as less dialogs as possible. Rest of the actors are plain and simple 'bad'. None of the other supporting actors, with the exception of Sonu Sood (i didn't recognize him :-) ), make an impression, actually they make a bad impression. Kulbhashan Kharbanda was the worst I think - he looked so spineless for a king. Loved Raja Murad - his was a guest appearance, can't actually count him as a supporting actor. He has a lovely voice, you can't help noticing it.

The music is very good. A R Rehman just keeps on vending out beautiful musical notes. I specially loved the 'Jashn-e-bahara' song. Even 'Mann mohana', 'In lamho', 'Azeem-o-shaan' and 'Khawja' have good soulful music. The music is very romantic and meets/(exceeds?) the expectation from AR Rehman when it comes to Romance.

Overall the movie is too long and boring. There are many not-to-be-missed scenes but then it would be better if you wait for the DVD to come out and watch the movie after fast forwarding the many other useless scenes. After putting 3.30 hrs into this movie, I came out feeling disappointed and a bit angry too. Angry coz the movie could have been so much better and made a name as a classic romantic movie. It already has some very brilliant sequences to boost of. I might see the movie again but I am gonna wait for the DVD release. :)


Amrita said...

ahem ahem many spoilers in the blog Ashu...add a disclaimer dont read this if u interested in seeing the movie

Ashma said...

--Amu: Thanks dear for letting me know. Hope I didnt spoil it for you.

Rachana said...

Hey was eagerly waitng for the movie to come..but. Hrithik is one of the major "turnon"..i had expected such performance..well saying I did not have much expectation from the movie though:DDD..
For the Disclaimer:I am gonna wait for the DVD now:PP

Ashma said...

--Rachana: Haan yaar tu yaha aa phir DVD par ek baar aur dekhte hein.. :)

Amrita said...

Hmm now tht i hav finally seen the movie i re visited ur blog. :)
yea first things first
aish looked very beautiful and innocent to me
And hritik was adonis but i did nt get the King feeling from him.... some how was reminded of PRK of mughal e azam again and again (not used to seeing a young akbar ;) )
an raza murad type awaz zyada suit karta the king...
And AG wrote the script on a bad hair day i guess :P

Good write up ashu... cming from a hritik bhakt i aint surprised u fell in love wid him yetttttttt again :|

Ashma said...

--Amu: thanks dear.. :) as i said, it was abt young akbar.. when he just started his rule.. so a young hrithik roshan just fits in.. ab he cant help it if he looks like Adonis.. ;)