First things first: I found Jodhaa Akbar dull, boring, slack-paced, unevenly emotional and of course, looong! I know period movies (and other genre movies also!) are more often than not but in most cases, there is content to backup the length. Mera Naam Joker was so lengthy because it traced a man’s journey from childhood to middle-age and his tryst with various women. Sholay was as long as it was coz there was a leisurely buildup of characters and a grandiloquent finale. Lagaan was lengthy since it showed the plight of the farmers and proceeded to portray their exploitation and then their ability to beat the Englishmen at their own game. Of course trash like HAHK & H77H & KANK had bucketfuls of songs. Jodhaa Akbar has neither that great a content nor that many songs.
Suffice it to say as a Love Story of an Emperor and a Princess with the backdrop of War & Politics. There’s the whole rigmarole of Inkaar – Iqrar – Takraar – Izhaar – aur – Pyaar as the sponge base, with a delectable spread of war scenes and conflicts as the cream layer, sprinkled with the nutty shenanigans of a jealous step-mom and the saucy betrayal of a power-hungry subordinate, topped with rosy locales of the forts and sandtracts of Rajasthan and the two cherries at the top – Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. Voila! You have a cake that is too big for your own mouth!!!
Acting-wise, Hrithik was OK though he doesn’t look Akbar-esque from any angle. He manages the diction and command of an Emperor and also carries off the royal bearing well, even if its slightly amateurish. Fights are his strengths and he does well there though a few swish-swashes are straight out of Krrissh!Aishwarya looks good throughout and even shows some cleavage and belly-button. Those big nose rings do look cute on her! Performance-wise she stands tall at only a handful of scenes and never hits the highpoint of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Few of the Lagaan cast are repeated here which is maybe understandable! Two ‘newcomers’ to the big-screen are Punam Sinha (wife of Shatrughan Sinha) as Akbar’s Mother and Nikitin Dheer (son of Pankaj Dheer a.k.a Karna in Mahabharat) as Sharifuddin. The latter has the climax fight with Hrithik and boy! does he look menacing and towers over Hrithik. Sonu Sood as Sujarmal is OK. Ila Arun plays a scheming-saas type of role and does manage to shake things up a little.
Music is good – Jashn A Bahaara as the background score of courtship was good and Azeem O Shaan Sahenshah, with the kingdom singing paeans to the Emperor was well-choreographed/picturized. In Lamhon ke daaman se was aesthetically (if somewhat too uptight) picturized. Director Ashutosh Gowariker should get credit to attempt and pull off such a grand magnum opus but IMHO, he overreaches himself a bit in choosing to mish-mash all of it into a 200-minute-long movie! A good trim of an hour would have made it a better movie, if not what he sought to deliver!
In a lighter vein, lessons learnt from watching
Sojaa Akbar Jodhaa Akbar are:
- Ashutosh Gowariker needs a watch. Badly!
- The movie needs an editor. Even more badly!
- Never go to a long movie esp. when one hasn’t had much sleep in the past few days!
- Don’t sit mum! Chatter about to liven things up…it regales self as well as the junta facing the same plight as you.
- Take a crash course in Urdu before seeing period movies set in the Mughal-era.
I’d rate it 2/5