Ashutosh Gowarikar, who is ready with Jodhaa Akbar, says he was fascinated by the relationship that the two historical figures must have shared after marriage. “I feel if today we make a story about the past, it must be correlated to the present. And Jodhaa Akbar is as relevant to the present as arranged marriages are. Jodhaa and Akbar shared a perfect arranged marriage. I was fascinated by how their relationship must have grown after marriage,” Gowarikar said.
Keeping the young generation in mind, the director has avoided a heavy dose of Urdu. “As for youngsters, I had one rule of connectivity in my range of vision. Any word or dialogue that I didn’t understand in Urdu, I kept out. I’ve no interest in impressing audiences with my knowledge of Urdu, Hindi or even literature,” he said.
But film analysts feel history has no relevance for today’s average youngster. “I agree. As a child, historical films never interested me. But when I saw Mughal-e-Azam on TV, I connected to it because it was a story of lovers separated by parental opposition. That the parents were historical figures was incidental. I feel the story has to be connectable to the audience. Hyder Ali, who wrote Jodhaa Abkar, told me, ‘In Mughal-e-Azam the focus was so much on Salim and Anarkali, nobody asked a fundamental question: How did Akbar come to marry Jodhaa in spite of their religious and cultural divide?’ I immediately reacted to their alliance. I saw an interesting story there that needed to be told,” he added. Starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan in the lead roles, the film is set to hit the marquee February 15. The director is dubbing it in Telugu and Tamil as well.
How much has he stressed the religious difference between Jodhaa and Akbar? “It’s important but not stressed in my film. Let’s not forget, Akbar’s marriage to Jodhaa was no common occurrence. It had a nationwide reverberation 450 years ago when society was far more conservative. How did their marriage affect those times? That’s a question relevant even today. But I’m not jingoistic in my treatment,” said Gowarikar.