I had heard a lot about this movie ever since it was released. The reports were conflicting - some said it was sheer assassination of history, others loved it. Some said the director - Ashutosh Gowarikar, failed to impress whereas others swore that he would win the Best Director award for this year. I am not very keen about History and hence was not inclined to see this movie for many weeks after its release. However, my mother eventually managed to drag me to the theater and I can finally add my 2 cents regarding the movie.
To be precise, I loved every minute of this movie. I went inside with almost no hopes of enjoying it, but was pleasantly surprised. I could see that the director had taken some liberties with the portrayal of history. In the very first scene itself where Akbar's army takes on King Hemu's army, King Hemu is shown to be a tyrant who should be vanquished. On the contrary, I remember my history text books claiming Hemu to be a very popular Hindu ruler. But as they say, history is written by the victors :-)
The battle sequences at the beginning reminded me of "The Mummy Returns" and were quite impressive by Bollywood standard. At some places it was too bloody-gory for my taste, but I couldn't help noticing that they came across as genuine and realistic. After the introduction of Jodha, the movie was more of an historical romance than a documentary. The chemistry between the lead pair was palpable. Kudos to the director who skillfully weaved the history around creating the backdrop for the matrimonial alliance between the Mughal Emperor and the Rajput princess and their subsequent romance. No doubt, he used what is called "poetic licence" to twist the plot to make it credible and played havoc with history in the process. But, a director is a creative artist after all, and is therefore allowed to give free reign to his imagination and come up with his own interpretation of facts. The characters of Jodha and Akbar were well-etched and were portrayed with great sincerity by the lead pair, thus doing justice to the director's story-telling capability.
Each frame of the movie is a treat for the eyes. The minute attention given to the sets, costumes, language and even the songs for this movie, took my breath away. Even the supporting characters such as Jodha's brother and father and Akbar's daayi lent credibility to the story. Some of the scenes such as the sword fight between Akbar and Jodha, the fight between Akbar and Sharifuddin toward the end and Akbar's tryst while taming the elephant were excellent. The romantic moments between Hritik and Aishwarya were very tastefully directed. Anyone with a pinch of romance in his/her soul cannot fail to be moved by them. For me, it was like watching a historical romance instead of reading it in a novel!
Hritik has certainly evolved as an actor. I had my doubts about him doing justice to the role of Akbar, but he proved me wrong. Ashutosh Gowarikar is full of surprises. It is obvious that he has a vast repertoire of stories and a unique way of telling them that leaves quite an impact. No wonder his movies always manage to create controversies. As for the length of the movie, I was startled when the titles came at the end, so engrossed was I in the movie!