Sunday, April 06, 2008

Movie Jodhaa Akbar

So I finally saw Jodhaa Akbar last evening. Everyone that I have been speaking to have been raving about this movie and how it is a "must see." I am not a fan of Aishwarya Rai and really don't care much about Hrithik Roshan except for the fact that he is serious eye-candy. I had seen his debut movie "Kaho na Pyaar Hain" in India quite by chance on cable in early 2000. At that time I was living in India and had a total disdain for "masala" movies. K's parents have a couple who works for them and also lives with them. This couple had (probably still do) a tradition on Friday evenings, which was to collect their friends and watch the latest Bollywood movies on Cable in K's parent's home. K and I along with his parents would escape on Friday evenings to their weekend home by the Arabian Sea therefore the couple would have their weekend off to do whatever they pleased. One particular Friday evening, K and I stayed back in Mumbai and returned home after midnight to see the group completely hypnotized and glued to the screen. I was curious to see what they were watching with such rapt attention, to notice a very handsome guy dancing the typical Bollywood dance moves on screen. It held my attention and I asked them, "Who is he?" So I must confess that I watched "Kaho Na Pyaar Hain" mainly for the eye-candy factor that is Hrithik Roshan. Anyway that was more than eight years ago and that movie was a huge hit in India then.

So coming to 2008 and “Jodha Akbar,” K and I wanted to see the movie "Married Life." I was on the internet checking the timings for the movie in local theatres when I noticed that the multiplex on Route 1 in North Brunswick was playing "Jodha Akbar." I asked K if he wanted to see it and he replied that he didn't have the patience to suffer for three hours. I lied to him that Hindi films are always reduced to two hours to cater to the North American audience, to which he grudgingly agreed. Actually the movie is 3 hours 30 minutes after two hours I saw K getting terribly bored and restless and giving me hateful looks. Despite its length, I thought it was a very entertaining movie.

I did not go to the theatre anticipating any substance and historic veracity....I went there for the entertainment value and I can say that the film guarantees that. The cinematography is excellent. The sets and costumes are opulent and the colors appeal to the senses. The music is not spectacular except for the Sufi song “Khwaja Mere Khwaja,” which is very spiritual. This particular track although with a classical base, has a very contemporary feel and beautifully captures the mood. I must say that Aishwarya was very good in this movie. Her acting was subdued and she has displayed maturity. As always she looked ethereal. The costumes and jewelry were opulent. It captures the grandeur of the Moghuls as well as the Rajputs. Hrithik looks phenomenal.

There is nothing intellectual about this movie and was definitely made for its commercial appeal yet the film has many positives. Given the communal tension in modern day Indian subcontinent and the negativity associated with the period of Moghul rule in India, this movie portrays and presents Akbar's rule in a rather positive light. It drives home the fact that it is secularism and religious pluralism that defines Indian society and is the cultural fabric defining modern day India. So those of you who can understand Hindi/Urdu and/or have interest in the Indian subcontinent, I would definitely recommend this film.

I am sharing the link of the song "Khwaja Mere Khwaja"....enjoy. I must say that A. R. Rahman has outdone himself in this score.