February 18, 2008

Review: Jodhaa Akbar

'The love-story of Jodhaa and Akbar has been the least documented and known love-story' says Amitabh Bachchan's voice-over. What Ashutosh Gowarikar does is try to fill in the gaps in history by his storytelling. First things first, if you are looking for a historical epic, steer clear of this one. This movie isn't, and hasn't been promoted either as, one. Its a love story out and out, full of mush, deceit, misunderstandings, sensuality, and politics. The pace of the movie is slow throughout. Most of the time is spent in establishing the numerous characters and not much time has been devoted to establish the then political scenario (some voice-over introduction or story would have done the trick).

If you are a die-hard SLB fan and are awed by the art direction in his movies and the sets, then you are in for a disappointment in Jodhaa Akbar. No lavish OTT sets and costumes. Everything that is in this movie is taken with reference to paintings and descriptions of those times. So, if the sets seem a bit less extravagant than what you would expect the great Akbar to live in, then just put it down to SLB spoiling.
The performances though, are exemplary. Hrithik as the controlled Akbar of many facets, Aishwarya as the proud Jodhaa and especially Ila Arun as Hrithik's evil surrogate mother are superb.
The sheer number of extras/artistes in some scenes boggle your mind if you think about the effort involved to synchronize their dance. Amazing. The few war scenes use special effects like the ones used in LOTR series and lately Troy. A few of the action sequences, esp the one-on-one fight between Akbar and his bro-in-law are very uncannily similar to those in Troy.
Repeat: Its more of a love story than historical epic. So, go prepared.
The music is good, although there are hardly 3-4 songs. Khwaja Mere Khwaja is the most hauntingly beautiful song I have heard in some time. Can't stop humming it. And Kehne ko jashne bahaar is already downloaded the day i first heard it.
A bit more on Hrithik and Aishwarya. Their body language and diction is impeccable. Hrithik's role especially called for more of diction, voice modulation coaching than Aishwarya's but the effort involved doesn't show. Every dialog is delivered with panache and effortlessly. The language [more than anything else] throws you back to Mughl-e-azam. Hrithik as the controlled, sometimes brutish, sometimes unsure of himself, sometimes playful Akbar is mind blowing. His best performance after Lakshya. His restrained performance alongwith the regal performance of Aishwarya are the main highpoints of this movie. Ash looks stunning and the movie and the couple's sentiments and the story is mainly played out through glances and eye-speak and is so eloquently emoted by both that you don't feel the lack of dialogs at all.

The art direction I think sticks to the realistic side rather than go overboard, a la Mr Bansali [not that I don't love his OTT stuff], the actors are great, the sappy as well as sensual moments are tastefully done and whats more, you get a full 2-3 minutes devoted to solely charting out every muscle on Hrithik's torso. Would just go and watch the movie for that only. A visual treat!!

And all them protesting and all, well, if this movie was supposed to be realistic and depict what was, then it would have been a documentary and not a motion picture, would it? But I guess, mudslingers just need an excuse to go on protest/rampage. Am I confused, or does it seem like the protests over movie dialogs/lyrics/clothes are getting insanely ridiculous??

Anyway, last word, go and watch if you love a visual treat, some good music and don't mind the long length [three and a half hours]. Go watch.



Anonymous said...

review skills are getting better and better......


Still updating the blog theme. Will get down to the blogrolling and all soon.

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