If Emperor Akbar were to watch Ashutosh Gowariker’s Jodhaa Akbar, he would have said, “Wow man! What opulence, very impressive indeed.” And if Jodhaa and Akbar were to watch Jodhaa Akbar together, they would have definitely fallen in love with each other even if they did not back then. Jodhaa Bai would have told Jodhaa of the story, “Cut that fuss out lady! What else do you need?”
If you have never taken a trip to enjoy the cultural charm of Rajasthan, well this is your chance. In three hours and forty-two minutes you will visit the best forts and palaces the state has to offer, will get close-ups of the best attire and jewelery, and of course witness the rajputs at their best. All this and more without the annoying tourist guides escorting you and narrating history like parrots.
Even today, Rajasthan stands out as a very conservative society and existence of strong personality like Jodhaa Bai, who had the freedom to express and be heard, appears to be a work of fiction. Maybe history had given them a better chance.
Unlike most of us would imagine, mughal emperor Akbar did not win over Jodhaa Bai’s heart while walking and holding her hand through the spray of fountains of one mughal garden. Instead, he won her over in a battle of swords. Very fine swordsman he was, but every time he saw a chance of loosing, he used his macho charm and tried to seduce Jodhaa by exclaiming, “Do not forget, hey empress of India, I am your suhaag. And I am sure you do not wish to make yourself a widow.”
Though the emperor Akbar’s court was excited about sampling Rajput cuisine immediately after it is tested for poison by the chef of the day Jodhaa herself, Jodhaa gave a very informative demo to all newly wed women on how to make a place for themselves in their new home when they have a cunning mother-in-law. And women should also note that Jodhaa had endorsed the fact that road to man’s heart is indeed through his stomach. So learn to cook if you have not until now! If Akbar could, any man would.
Girls who are still searching for their Mr. Right should note that Jodhaa is giving you a pointer — knowing unconventional skills like martial arts can help you find him quicker. After all, men who are yet to be bitten by the romantic bug spend most of their time after work in gymns, or sports fields. And if nothing else, you will find skill with swords or karate come in handy in case there are dowry demands or trouble by in-laws.
Jodhaa Bai should have been a relationship counselor. Through the story she has cleverly given away a ‘3 tip formula to man’s heart and his empire.’ One, never give your man the comfort of the fact that he is the only one in your life. Carry a picture or an idol of a male god or hero with you and let him see it. Two, do not change your maiden name. Three, do not give in easily. Make him wait, and you shall have him longer.
There is a message for the men in search of their soul mate too. If you can play with a sword, ride a horse, or tame an elephant, you hold a good chance.
If I were to describe Jodhaa Akbar in less than a sentence, I would call it Cirque du Inde. It is undoubtedly the best ever cultural performance given by 80 elephants, 100 horses, 55 camels, and more than 1000 artists. Director Ashutosh Gowariker knew he would not be able to grip the crowd with the story line. Instead he decided to hold the crowd and the stage with three hour and forty two minutes of a cultural show that Indian crowd may never have witnessed. It is indeed a winner in the following categories: best ever fashion show with historic theme, best ever jewelery show, best ever Indian warfare technique display, and of course best ever aerial shooting techniques.
Other than the gala display of glamor of royal life and kingdoms, it is the same bollywood formula story line: struggle of two people in an inter-caste marital alliance to convince the society that it is not that bad after all. In the end, we all know the result is obvious, ‘Jab miyan-biwi raazi tho kya karega kaazi.’
I do not know if Akbarnama and Gowariker’s interpretation sync, but I do recommend watching the movie. After all, you do not get a chance to witness a mega cultural display and performances worth Rs 400 million for a price of a movie ticket.