Film Review: Jodhaa Akbar

Film: Jodhaa Akbar


Director: Ashutosh Gowarikar


Producers: United Motion Pictures, Ashutosh Gowarikar Productions


Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Poonan Sinha, Raza Murad, Sonu Sood, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Suhasini Mulay, Nikitin Dheer, Raza Murad, Ila Arun


Cinematography: Kiran Deohans


Dialogues: K.P. Saxena


Art Direction: Nitin Desai


Editor: Ballu Saluja

Rating: 2.5/5


Ashutosh Gowarikar’s magnum opus Jodhaa Akbar can be called that as far as the movie’s length is concerned.


The lead cast, comprising Hrithik Roshan (Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar) and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (Jodhaa Bai), does a great job and both fit like gloves into their royal characters.


However, Gowarikar goes wrong in terms of the length of the movie (3 hours 20 minutes). 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. Gowarikar goes into unnecessary depths and sub-plots barring which, the movie would have been a treat to watch. On the other hand, some crisp editing from Ballu Saluja could have worked wonders for Jodhaa Akbar too.


Set in the sixteenth century, Jodhaa Akbar is about a marriage of alliance that gave birth to true love between Mughal Emperor Akbar and a Rajput princess Jodhaa.


After winning kingdom after kingdom, Akbar also manages to win the allegiance of the most belligerent of Hindus – the Rajputs. However, a condition was put to him that he would have to marry Jodhaa – the daughter of Amer’s Raja Bharmal (Kulbhushan Kharbanda).


The movie traces the early marriage life of Akbar and Jodhaa. What begins as a mere marriage of convenience finally culminates in love between the two but not without twists and turns (some even of the saas-bahu nature). Case in point is when Maham Anga (Ila Arun), who has been Akbar’s caretaker since his birth, plots to bring about hatred in his heart for Jodhaa and succeeds.


In terms of direction, some of the scenes in the movie were executed brilliantly. Worthy of special mention is Hrithik’s fight scene with the elephant and almost all the sword fighting scenes.


On the other hand, the battle scenes were shoddy and badly executed. Then again, the least said about computer graphics and visual effects, the better. The CG used in the war background, army, the battle etc looked phony and gave a bad overview of the scene. The special effects too were nothing to write home about. They went from bad to worse specially in the bedroom scene with the backdrop of the sun set where Akbar finally asks Jodhaa if she loved him.


The film’s prerequisite of grandeur was met by art director Nitin Desai to a great extent. However, the forts and palaces’ exteriors looked blatantly fake sometimes. The interiors, on the other hand, were rich and vibrant and grand.


The film’s music is its high point. AR Rahman’s tunes blend perfectly with the mood of the film. The songs are mesmerizing specially Khwaja Mere Khwaja. However, the choreography and picturization of the song was way too mechanical barring Hrithik’s 30 seconder. Another song worthy of note here is Azeem-o-Shaan Shahenshah.


Kiran Deohans uses the camera well. While most shots were well captured, way too many close-ups of character artists were a sore point. Dialogues by K.P. Saxena were satisfactory. The script (Ashutosh Gowariker and Haider Ali) could have been tighter with additional focus on the film’s lead characters since the story does revolve around them.


Hrithik Roshan’s performance is par excellence. Whether as a king who finally wants to take matters in his own hands, or a husband admitting to his wife that he doesn’t know how to read or write, or even as a warrior fighting a battle… he emotes well.


Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is beauty personified. As the elegant yet fiery Rajput princess, Aishwarya is simply brilliant. This is definitely one of her better performances till date. The chemistry between the two is palpably obvious and well captured. It works. However one has to wait interminably long to see romance finally brewing between the two.


Nikitin Dheer as Akbar’s brother-in-law Sharifuddin Hussain does a good job for his debut film and is worthy of mention. He fits the character perfectly and delivers well. Sonu Sood as the restrained Rajkumar Sujamal is yet another delight to watch and does justice to his well etched out character. Kulbhushan Kharbanda (Raja Bharmal) and Raza Murad (Shamsuddin Atka Khan) are okay.


Punam Sinha (Mallika Hamida Banu) is adequate in her performance. Arun does well as a possessive and scheming mother and evokes the feeling of hatred towards her character. Suhasini Mulay as Jodhaa’s mother Rani Padmawati hams all the way. She has a smile fixated on her face whether the situation demands it or not. Consider this, Jodhaa is upset that she is being married off to a Mughal emperor; Rani Padmawati hands her a bottle of poison and asks her to consume it if she’s not happy with the wedding. In this emotional and traumatic moment, Suhasini Mulay has a smile pasted on her face. What was she thinking?


To cut a long story short, Jodhaa Akbar works only for it lead actors’ performances and Rahman’s music.