Being a huge period movie fan, I had awaited the release of ‘Jodha Akbar’with some trepidation. The Indian movie industry does not generate period based cinema as frequently or as well as Hollywood. Such movies are generally low on content and very loosely based on real information. ‘Jodha Akbar’was in the fear of keeping up with the cliché as several controversies cropped up prerelease surrounding the veracity of the ‘love’ affair around the political betrothal of Mughal emperor ‘Akbar’ and the Rajput Princess ‘ Jodha Bai’.
However, Ashutosh Gowariker does not let history interfere with good story telling. ‘Jodha Akbar’ traces the rise of Akbar as the emperor of India with the focus on the time when the Rajput states were forced to give in to the Mughal reign. As a political move and to avoid unnecessary war, Akbar decided that marrying Hindu princesses would help make Mughal inroads into the Hindu heartlands.
The movie, not being a lesson in history, focuses on how a young and haughty King who is accustomed to obtaining anything at will falters and fumbles like an ordinary man when he has to win the respect and affections of his own wife, who his equal in the strength of mind.
Their love develops from an initial fraction of egos, pride and culture, with betrayal and jealousy thrown in, to a begrudging respect and admiration for each other.
Aishwariya, who plays Jodha, has a done a decent job of portraying a self-assured and confident woman with a sense of reserve and dignity as would be expected of a Rajput princess.
Hrithik, looking and playing the part of Akbar, does a brilliant job of reflecting the vulnerability of a young king with the weight of the nation on his shoulder and that of a confused lover , trying in every which way to win the affections of his partner.
The movie is pure eye candy in terms of sets, costumes and fight choreography. Use of computer graphics is a little obvious in some cases and takes away a little class from the movie. The music is pleasant but not extraordinary. ‘Khwaja-mere-khwaja’ and ‘Jashne Baharan’ are definitely the best songs of the collection.
What makes the movie a memorable experience for me is the simplicity of the manner in which the two protagonists fall in love, emotions are subtle and suppressed, behavior guarded, but love bubbles away in the undercurrents. I, for one, could not have imagined them to be in love in any other way.
It may not be a great or a timeless movie, but it is definitely highly watchable, for several reasons.