JODHAA AKBAR: 214-mins of static romance

Ashutosh Gowariker’s 214-mins of historical romance released on 15 February, 2008 was like a long 16th-century outing without fear of plague or being petrified by the barbaric. The historical romance narrates the story of a sixteenth-century love story about a marriage of alliance that gave birth to true love between a great Mughal emperor, Akbar, and a Rajput princess, Jodhaa. Gowariker’s extravagant tribute to K. Asif’s Mughal-E-Azam stands imperially triumphant.

Jodhaa Akbar is a matter of historical records and the interpretations which vary but head towards a “secular King”. Even though it’s a static film (more like a PowerPoint presentation), Gowariker makes the scenes interesting with dramatic cause-effect relationship woven into dynamics of Jodhaa’s acceptance possessed in the hands of Maham Anga. The film subtly puts forth the promotion of inter-religious romance and breaks the shackles of the same, later seen in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani (2015). When a divine light encounters Akbar towards the end of Khwaja Mere Khwaja, a divine light also enters Jodhaa’s Krishna Temple when she’s praying for Akbar’s health – it chances upon the divinity.

A. R. Rahman and Javed Akhtar serve as the “joy of spring” (Jashn-E-Bahara) of the historical romance with songs placed symmetrically across the 3 hours 30 minutes a cinematic piece. Azeem O Shan Shahenshah evokes the Akbar’s triumph as a pacifying rule orchestrated by grand rousing anthem-like music and magnificent Choreography. With the Sufi-esque Khwaja Mere Khwaja (penned by Kashif) and the religious Mann Mohana leads the film to a mystic feel.

Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai play Akbar-Jodhaa with great conviction. Akbar’s mystical dimension (found in the historical records) is effectively evoked by Hrithik in Chishti Shrine of Moinuddin and trance-Sufi sequence. While the film is uplifted by its sky-high production values such as Production Design by Nitin Chandrakant Desai, Costume Design by Neeta Lulla and Choreography by Rekha-Chinni Prakash. The magnificent and detailed Production Design easily transforms the cine-goer to the 16th Century, undoubtedly one of the biggest achievements in 2008.


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