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'Jodha-Akbar' to release on Oct 12
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Shooting for Ashutosh Gowarikar's "Jodha-Akbar" is expected to be over next month and the long awaited film, that the director insists is not a "remix version" of "Mughal-e-Azam", will be released Oct 12.
"That's the Eid week. We're looking at a cross-culture of audiences to come for the film," says the "Lagaan" and "Swades" director.
"Swades" wasn't a huge success. "But ultimately it reached out to the right people... You know, we're going through a 're-mix phase' in music and cinema. We need to get over that. It will soon go away and a new order will emerge. Let me reiterate, 'Jodha-Akbar' isn't a 'remix version' of 'Mughal-e-Azam'."
"Jodha-Akbar", starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai, is Ashutosh's most expensive film. "Our budget is Rs.37 crores. But my co-producer Ronnie Screwvala and I aren't looking at the budget as a responsibility. Between us we've worked out the financial details, including what is required in production and marketing."
Aishwarya and Hrithik have undergone the most gruelling and rugged outdoor experience of their lives. But the horse riding and sword fencing were not entirely a shock.
"We had several sessions in Mumbai... lots of riding and sword-fighting lessons just so that they'd be attuned to their Mughal characters and know the right way of riding a horse or holding a sword. You know sword fencing is a very western concept, whereas the way the talwaar was used in the Mughal times was very different.
"I had got Hrithik and Ash accustomed to the body language and attitude of those times from beforehand. Now all they're doing is executing a vision they're already aware of," says Ashutosh from his location in Rajasthan.
Is he worried by the utterly contemporary image of his lead pair in "Dhoom 2"? "Not at all! In 'Dhoom 2', they are Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. In my film they are Akbar and Jodha. Their personas in 'Dhoom 2' are closer to what they really are. Not that I've changed their physicality. But audiences will see only the characters."
Ashutosh thinks Ash and Hrithik aren't only immensely good looking but also hugely talented.
"I've seen every single film of theirs from 'Kaho... Na Pyar Hai' and K'yun....Ho Gaya Na' to 'Dhoom 2'. They always show an easy adaptability to the requirements of every director. Be it 'Chokher Bali' or 'Raincoat' for Aishwarya or 'Mission Kashmir' and 'Fiza' for Hrithik, they've transformed in front of the camera. They're both intensely dedicated."
The diligent filmmaker is all praise for the pairing. "Hrithik and Ash look really good together in my film. But the full impact will be discernable only when the film releases. The give-and-take between the two as they get into character is amazing."
The film also stars Sonu Sood, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Suhasini Mulay and Raza Murad.
The director is confident the audience will see exactly the vision in his mind. "I'm working towards it. So far so good. You know, Akbar once decided to not hunt a cheetah because he fell in love with it. Instead he got it to be trained and put next to him in the Diwan-e-Khas. But because of the animal-rights rule I can't have this shown on screen.
"That's the kind of bearable compromise I'll have to make. But I'm sticking to the authentic vision as much as possible. But I want the Golden Period of the Mughal Empire to look as glamorous as possible."