Monday, February 18, 2008

Mere peer ka sadka.... Hai mere peer ka sadka .... Tera daaman hai thama [ The alms of my old age. It is the charity of my old age. That I have come in Your refuge.] *

so this weekend was my much needed break from work. and so i went off to philly for some family time and from stocking up on authentic chinese produce, to driving over an hour to eat some indian chinese khana, to watching jodhaa akbar, eating frankies in beautiful wide open area valley forge park in the rain, to playing monopoly for four straight hours and losing miserably, to driving over an hour to get our iphone to work with another carrier, all this to be done by a high school student! but since there are so many issues, we cant get it to work. and then driving all the way to the mac store and getting ripped off by apple (i.e realizing apple is so going the microsoft way and the whole liberalistic attitude is sooo a pretext).finally to taking the bus back to nyc listening to repeats of khwaja ji from jodhaa akbar. all in all an eventful weekend.

so first thing first. a review of jodhaa akbar. there are a lot of good things about the movie, for one the scale at which the movie was made, the grandeur of it. the fact that very rarely does a hindi movie go the gladiator/brave heart way. the attempt is honest. but the story and screenplay is a bit thin. so we have a young akbar (aka jalalludin mohammed) being given the responsiblity of spreading mughal rule throughout india. Bairam Khan, who is the guardian of the young Akbar, takes charge after the death of akbar's father, Humayun and rules with the sword. Under his rule, the mughal conquests grow. Akbar grows up, (i.e now Hritik Roshan) and wanting to rule with the heart and not just the sword, dismisses Bairam Khan sending him off to Haj. In order to build and maintain political relations, Akbar agrees to marry Jodhaa (Aishwarya Rai). Her two conditions, to be allowed to maintain her religion, and to have a temple in her own chamber. Akbar agrees and from there on the story kind of shifts to a love story of kinds, showing despite Jodhaa's first resistanance to the marriage - she grows to love the emperor, and vice versa. In the middle you have the standard bad guys, there is Mahan Anga,( Ila Arun) the nurse of Akbar who threatened by Jodhaa creates a misunderstanding element between them, then there is Akbar's brother in law (played by some new guy) who wants to take over Akbars throne.

so its a typical good triumphs over bad story. its not a lesson of history. i mean there are elements which existed in history, but this isnt a subsitute of history. and I believe Ashutosh Gowariker expresses that in the beginning of the movie saying this is just an opinion of various opinions. Fair enough. This is being made into a movie and there are twists that pple will add to make it more interesting. Was Akbar really in love with Jodhaa? Was there even a Jodhaa? It doesnt matter, really. Some groups in Rajasthan lobbying to ban the movie since it misinterprets history, makes me wonder why are they so bothered, really? At least with this movie, there is a renewed interest in Mughal history and Rajasthan so rich with these stories can do with some publicity and tourism.

Hritik Roshan as Jalaluddin Akbar is great. Roshan for some reason has a body language that is very different from any other actor in Hindi cinema. It exudes confidence like many other actors but a sort of silent nobility. I dont think any other actor could have potrayed Akbar any better. And his potrayals of anger, betrayal, guilt, love etc are done extremely well. Aishwarya Rai doesnt have a whole lot of range to do in the movie. but she does her part appropriately. Im sure the fight sequences would have been difficult to do and she does them well. The effort does show. However my favourite person in the movie is Ila Arun, her small but well fleshed role, is great. And she exudes anger, jealousy, suspicion etc with her eyes and when she is on screen one does feel a little scared. or maybe its just me. but i think shes done great.

the story and the screenplay is just ok. I wish they had decided whether hey are going to do a war movie or do a love story and not half an half coz they dont raelly do justice to both. but then agani its a 3 hour movie and you can only show so much. things like showing how Akbar goes to the city aas a common man and discovers how pple are upset over the pilgrimage tax, things like that are good scenes to show and when i was growing up my history of akbar was limited to amar chitra katha. so i was really disappointed when birbal didnt even figure in the story. sure he may have arrived later on when Akbar was much older, but then this isnt really an accurate depiction of history anyway. and Akbar was known for his great sense of humor, so some scenese showing the softer and more of this personality would have lightened a lot of the mood in the movie.

needless to say my favourite song is khwaja ji, this song too lacked a bit in picturization. they could have done a so much better job in picturing the dervishes.

Jodhaa Akbar is like this beautiful poem, written very painstakenly, each word thought and mulled over before being penned, the poem tries to encompass all one what one is feeling verse after verse but the end product looked in its totality ends up losing its way and just confueses the reader to the point where you dont even remember what the poem was about.

*taken from


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