Jodhaa Akbar is an Indian epic historical drama film released on 15 February 2008. It is directed and produced by Ashutosh Gowariker. It stars Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai and Sonu Sood in the lead roles. Extensive research went into the making of this film. The shooting for the film started at Karjat. This movie was also dubbed in Tamil & Telugu languages.
The film centres on the romance between the Mughal Emperor Akbar, played by Hrithik Roshan, and the Princess Jodhabai who becomes his wife, played by Aishwarya Rai. Acclaimed composer A. R. Rahman composed the musical score. The soundtrack of the movie was released on 19 January 2008.
The film won the Audience Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the São Paulo International Film Festival, two awards at the Golden Minbar International Film Festival, seven Star Screen Awards and five Filmfare Awards, in addition to two nominations at the 3rd Asian Film Awards.
Jodhaa Akbar is a sixteenth-century love story about a political marriage of convenience between a Mughal emperor, Akbar, and a Rajput princess, Jodhaa. The beautiful n fiery daughter of King Bharmal of Amer, Jodhaa gets betrothed to another rajput king and her dowry was her father’s crown, which will pass to that rajput king, after his death. Through this arrangement, the son of elder brother of the king Sujjamal gets declined of his rightful throne and he leaves the kingdom angrily to join rebels. But when Mughal empire plans to attack Amer, king Bharmal, resentfully offers his daughter’s hand to the emperor himself to avoid war. Akbar agrees to the marriage as it would bring forward a true strong alliance and long lasting peace between the empire and rajputs. Jodha completely resented being reduced to a mere political pawn and she wants to marry Rajput king she was betrothed previously. She writes a letter to Sujjamal, her cousin (whom she sees as her own brother) entreating him to come rescue her from the marriage, she couldn’t send it though. Jodhaa shares all her misery with her mother, who tells her to send a servant girl in her place. Jodhaa replies that it would deceive Akbar and would be death to their kingdom if he finds out. Then, her mother gives her a vial of poison and tells her to use it if need arises.
Ashutosh Gowariker hired a research team of historians and scholars from New Delhi, Aligarh, Lucknow, Agra and Jaipur to guide him on this film and help him keep things historically accurate. He clarified that the name of the film remains Jodhaa-Akbar and not Akbar-Jodhaa as reported by sections of the media.
Over 80 elephants, 100 horses and 55 camels were used in the movie. The song “Azeem O Shan, Shahenshah” featured about 1,000 dancers in traditional costumes, wielding swords and shields at a grand location in Karjat. The budget of the film was initially ₹370 million., which shot up to ₹400 million. Jodhaa-Akbar was supposed to be released in June–December 2007 but was delayed due to unknown issues.
The first television promo aired on 9 December 2007.
The movie used much gold and kundan jewellery made by Tanishq, including 2 kg of gold for the sword case alone.
Many of the events portrayed in the movie are based on real events. Certain Rajput groups claimed Jodhaa was married to Akbar’s son, Jahangir, not Akbar.
Several historians claim that Akbar’s Rajput wife was never known as “Jodha Bai” during the Mughal period. According to Professor Shirin Moosvi, a historian of Aligarh Muslim University, neither the Akbarnama (a biography of Akbar commissioned by Akbar himself), nor any historical text from the period refer to her as Jodha Bai. Moosvi notes that the name “Jodhaa Bai” was first used to refer to Akbar’s wife in the 18th and 19th centuries in historical writings. In Tuzk-e-Jahangiri, she is referred to as Mariam-uz-Zamani.
Protests and legal issues
The portrayal of ethnic Rajput people in the movie was criticised by members of the Rajput community as misleading, politically motivated historical revisionism that minimised Rajput history. The community’s protests against the film in some states led to the film being banned in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttarakhand. However, the producer went to the Supreme Court to challenge it.Later, the Supreme Court of India lifted the ban on screening the film in Uttar Pradesh and some towns of Uttarakhand and Haryana. The court scrapped the Uttar Pradesh government ban as well as similar orders by authorities in Dehradun in Uttarakhand and in Ambala, Sonepat and Rewari in Haryana.
The film received a critics rating of 69 on Metacritics, and Rotten Tomatoes has given the film a 78% rating with 7 fresh and 2 rotten reviews.
Anil Sinanan of The Times gave the film four out of five stars stating, “Oscar-nominated Lagaan director Ashutosh Gowariker’s sumptuous period epic has all the ingredients of a Cecil B. DeMille entertainer The film ends with a passionate plea for tolerance of all religions in India, a resonant message for modern India.”Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN also gave the film four out of five stars commenting: “I’ve never felt this way about any other film, but sitting there in my seat watching Jodhaa Akbar, I felt privileged as a moviegoer. Privileged that such a film had been made, and privileged that it had been made in our times so we can form our own opinions of the film rather than adopt the opinions of previous generations, which we invariably must when looking at older classics.” Tajpal Rathore of the BBC gave the film four out of five stars, noting that, “although the 16th-century love story upon which its based might be long forgotten, this endearing treatment sears into the memory through sheer size and scale alone Don’t let the running time put you off watching this unashamedly epic tale.” Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India gave the film three stars, stating that, “Jodhaa Akbar works only because its heart is in the right place. The film talks about a love that transcends all barriers – gender, religion, culture – and dreams of an India where secularism and tolerance are the twin towers that should never ever crumble. And Akbar and Jodhaa are the alluring exponents of this dream.” Kazmi also suggests that “if you are willing to shed off all the trappings of history, only then will Jodhaa Akbar work for you.”While suggesting that the film is “too long” and that it is “not a history lesson,” Rachel Saltz of The New York Times also notes, “in choosing to tell the tale of this emperor and a Muslim-Hindu love story, Mr. Gowariker makes a clear point. As Akbar says, ‘Respect for each other’s religion will enrich Hindustan.’ “
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