Jodha Akbar is a good attempt to reconstruct a not-so-talked-about page of history with writer’s imagination, and look at things from a different point of view, without making it bleak!
The movie has depicted everything grand you can think of – dresses, palaces, food, war, dance etc. Aerial shots are done particularly well, whether they are for the war or for the dances. But that does not mean it is yet another cheesy love story in royal setting. The character of Akbar is worth watching. Hrithik Roshan surprised me with how well he carried off the role of a young emperor and the script and direction too have done justice to his role. All the different facets of his life have been brought out well and in a timely fashion. The well intentioned but removed-from-reality king; his maturing into a person who realizes this and tries to get closer to the reality; his decision to marry a Rajput princess for political reasons and gradual realization of what it takes to be tolerant towards all the religions; his situation as a royal heir facing and accepting, but at he same time feeling tortured by the fact that being a ruler means fighting people who are his own and being deceited by them too; his compassion for people, intentions to avoid blood-shed to the extent possible and yet being a strict king by punishing the betrayers in a strict manner. Overall, the best thing is that he has not been shown as a know-it-all-wise-king from the very beginning. He learns things. He has not always been wise. He has succumbed to other people as a young prince, who pretty much took decisions in his name. But he learns to fend them off and assumes the royal grace as he grows up. And all the learning does not happen overnight either. It happens, gradually. By the way, while Hrithik Roshan has done well, I kept missing the presence of Abhishek Bachchan. He was wasted in Umrao Jaan – his presence could have been used well as Akbar. But anyway.
The role of Jodha has been weaved nicely into this growing up business of Akbar’s. But somehow it still looks like a neglected role. The screen presence is not sufficient. And there is something missing in Jodha’s character as well as Aishwarya’s acting. I was thinking hard about what it was after coming out from the movie and my conclusion is that the missing part is the grace. She does not look like a princess. She looks more like a common woman, whom king has taken fancy to. And this clearly contrasts with the graceful presence of Hrithik Roshan. I am not one of the blind critics of Aishwarya Rai, but for this movie I really felt somebody else should have been there. And why not? It could have been a much better come back for Madhuri Dixit than Aaja Nachle I guess – unless her recently acquired American accent, that I have read about, came in the way. (Disclaimer: I haven’t seen Aaja Nachle, but from all I have read about the movie and from the trailers, I did not feel like watching it either.)
Overall, this movie does to Akbar’s character what Ashoka claimed to have done to Ashoka’s character, but failed. However, Jodha leaves something to be desired.