Jodhaa Akbar 帝國玫瑰
By Priya Lalwani Purswaney, Special to The China Post
July 24, 2009, 9:15 am TWN
A love story between one of the greatest Mughal Emperors that ruled Hindustan (India), Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar, and the fiery young Rajput Princess, Jodhaa Bai, "Jodhaa Akbar" is an epic drama that weaves together romance and communal harmony.
Set in the sixteenth century, the movie starts off with a narration by the legendary Indian film actor Amitabh Bachchan, telling the story of the young Prince Jalaluddin who loses his father, and his crowning on a battlefield.
We see him as an Emperor, expanding his realm by conquests and diplomacy. Then comes the start of an epic romance as the King Bharmal of Amer promises allegiance to the Mughal Empire if the Emperor agrees to marry his daughter. It is to be a marriage of alliance between two different cultures and religions. In order to strengthen his relations with the Rajputs, Jalaluddin agrees, but the spirited young princess does not give in so easily.
She has her own conditions before she consents to the union. Little does the couple know that by accepting the marriage proposal, they would be embarking on a new journey – the journey of true love. Akbar's biggest challenge now did not merely lie in winning battles, but in winning the love of Jodhaa.
Director Ashutosh Gowariker has presented this historical love epic with all the grandeur of the Mughal era. There are majestic palaces, and imposing battle scenes, colorful costumes and imposing jewelry. The film gives audiences three and a half hours of regal extravaganza complete with romance and action, suspense and drama, music and dance. Don't let the duration scare you; there is an intermission, and once you start watching, time just flies by.
Hrithik Roshan, star of Indian superhero movie Krish and Dhoom, shows the strong character of Jalaluddin Akbar. His tone and commanding presence make him a natural, and the scenes where he fights topless really show his raw strength. He won the IIFA Best Actor Award for his performance.
As Jodhaa, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan clearly shows us why she was once chosen as the most beautiful woman in the world. A former Miss World and now daughter-in-law of Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya exhibits the courage and nobility of her role extremely well as the leading lady.
The most touching scenes of the movie are the developing relationship between Jodhaa and Akbar. Many a time, these scenes don't have much dialogue, but the eyes do so much of the talking. The on-screen chemistry between Aishwarya and Hrithik is very strong, and they seem like the perfect couple.
The music and songs are a very critical element of any Indian movie, and this is no exception. Double Oscar winner A. R. Rahman won IIFA for Best Background Score, while Javed Akhtar got Best Lyricist and Javed Ali received Best Male Playback Singer award for the song 'Jashn-e-Bahaara'.
The movie swept 10 awards at the recent 10th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards in Macau, taking home trophies for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor.
Jodha Akbar also won awards for Best Costume Design (Neeta Lulla), Best Editing (Ballu Saluja), Best Art Direction (Nitin Chandrakant Desai) and Best Make Up (Madhav Kadam).
Besides shortening the length a bit, the director could have worked harder on making the battle scenes look more realistic. I guess it is difficult to control so many extras in a movie, but a bit more aggressiveness on the part of the soldiers would have helped.
From the battlefield, through the conquests that won him the title of Akbar the Great, to winning the love of the beautiful Jodhaa, this film traces the impressive graph of the mighty emperor and the defiant princess is a movie that must be watched in theaters. The splendor will be lost on a computer or TV screen.