Fangirl Indian Movie Review: Jodhaa Akbar

I’m not sure if we’ve ever reviewed an Indian movie before, but our fans know we love to explore new languages and cultures. This is an older movie, but I think it stands the test of time.

Before I discovered Kdramas, I watched any foreign movie that I could find on Netflix. I love to experience different languages and cultures and many wonderful movies on my favorites list are from many different countries. Rewind to 2008, after dipping my toe into the Bollywood waters, I discovered Jodhaa Akbar. I am a huge Aishwarya Rai Bachchan fan from her roles in English films and I was even more charmed by her acting in her native language. Be prepared for major gushing, fangirling and some spoilers!

Synopsis

IMDB describes it as “A sixteenth century love story about a marriage of alliance that gave birth to true love between a great Mughal emperor, Akbar, and a Rajput princess, Jodha”.

Except it’s so much more than that simple explanation. It’s a story of a warrior king who unites a kingdom and finds a love for the ages. It’s also the story of a princess who isn’t afraid to fight for what’s important. In a time where most rulers set out to conquer and change their enemies, we have a ruler who looks to find common ground and unite his people. It just so happens that he falls in love along the way.

Cinematography

This is a sweeping epic historical full of color and sound. The use of music combined with color takes you into the story and holds your interest. That’s what stood out to me the most in this movie, the combination of color an sound to set the scene. Indian films are famous for their music and songs and Jodhaa Akbar doesn’t disappoint.

The Plot

Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar is the Emperor of the fast-growing Mughal empire. He continues to add to his empire, from India to the Middle East. After winning yet another territory, he meets with the rulers to discuss an alliance. The alliance requested is not what he expects, it is a marriage alliance. There is just one problem, the Rajput princess is not Muslim, she is Hindu. His new wife is thrust into a world different from the one she knows, and the only thing she asks is this, to keep her religion. Now Jalaluddin not only has kingdoms to conquer, but his wife’s heart as well.

Characters

Jodhaa (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) is the daughter of the Rajput King. She is no ordinary princess though. She is trained in martial arts as well as in the traditional wifely arts. She is a devout Hindu and all she asks is to be able to practice her religion. While she despises being a pawn in the game of kingdoms, she is drawn to Jalaluddin. She is submissive, yet not subdued, and not at all meek. I love how she stands up for her rights and her position.

Jalaluddin (Hrithik Roshan) is Emperor of all he surveys and he has grown his kingdom substantially. He is young but wise and fair. He allows Jodhaa to keep her faith and he strives to win her love. He respects her beliefs and defends her position as his wife to all the doubters. I was really impressed by this character and how he is portrayed. His religious tolerance and the way he carefully courts Jodhaa won me over. While this is a work of fiction, there are facts scattered throughout and according to history he really was tolerant of other religions.

There are several interesting side characters, including Jodhaa’s misguided foster brother who believes she is unhappy in her marriage and is swayed by Jalaluddin’s enemies. Jalaluddin’s former nanny is now running the household and lording it over his real mother and preventing Jodhaa from performing any of her household rights.

Why you should watch

If you love historicals, you will love this movie. It clocks in at over 3 hours, so it is a time commitment (insert laughter since we are Kdrama watchers who all marathon a season in one day). This is a love story that will warm your heart, not only do we experience a beautiful love story, but we see the creation of a nation. The theme of religious tolerance is one that I appreciate and I also like the respect that Jalaluddin shows Jodhaa. I watched this again over Christmas break and this movie still captivated me ten years after my first watch.

Do you like watching Indian movies or dramas? Do you have any recommendations for me to watch? I love the pomp and circumstance and the music in Indian productions so make me some recommendations.

Until the next review,

Clkytta

Dramas With a Side of Kimchi

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11 thoughts on “Fangirl Indian Movie Review: Jodhaa Akbar

  1. LOVE this movie!! I’ve watched it several times because of the leads and I like Indian period movies that are rare (ask me how many times I’ve watch Bahubali?)! This one is full of romance and just a good round story!

  2. I think I saw a movie called Om Shanti Om on Netflix. It is partially set in the golden era of Bollywood and the movie sets and inner workings of that time were awesome to see. It also has a large supernatural / reincarnation thread to it which was heartbreaking but also awesome. I hope its still on there. I would strongly recommend.

  3. I saw this a few months ago! It was wonderful. I was reminded of the Biblical Queen Esther who married Persian King Ahasuerus. He was tolerant of other religions and also loved her the most. She saved her people from a wicked genocide plot by showing faith, patience courage before the King. So many themes in that story were in this film too.

    Now I need to see if Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan have other movies together they had amazing chemistry.

  4. Oh I love Jodhaa Akbar! I’m going to watch it again, haha.

    My recommendations:
    This film isn’t an epic but its still got amazing song and dance and storytelling. It’s one of my favourites. It’s called: Three Idiots! I watched it on DvD so I’m not sure if it’s on legal streaming sites, sorry! Starring Aamir Khan. It’s a comedy, an endearing tale of friendship and a cute romance all in one. The 3 friends in the show are hilarious. Set in modern times.

    Another one I like is called Laagan, also by Aamir Khan. Its set in British-occupied India and is a great underdog story. I learned a bit of cricket after watching this show, haha.

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