By Faridoon Shahryar, IndiaFM
“Jodhaa Akbar is finally releasing on September 15,” said director Ashutosh Gowariker at an opulent music launch of the film at a plush Mumbai hotel yesterday. “No…actually the release date as of now is February 15 and this time I’m serious,” Ashutosh corrected himself (with a chuckle) to a collective sigh from the gathered media and other dignitaries. Present at the rich-n-ostentatious occasion was of course the lead pair of Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai, producer Ronnie Screwvala, Amitabh Bachchan, Javed Akhtar, A R Rahman, Sonu Sood, Sonu Nigam, Madhushree, Jaaved Ali, Shatrughan Sinha, Akbar Khan, Sanjay Khan, Ila Arun, Zayed Khan and a host of other celebrities. The event was anchored by ravishing Anjana Sukhani and the music was launched by Maharani of Jaipur Rani Padmini, a direct descendant of Jodhaa Bai.
Flowing red curtains curled as if in a bun of hair, brilliantly scarlet ‘Paalki’ with coquettish secrecy, shimmering inside, authoritarian throne of the King of Kings, swords hanging the fate of destiny in balance and pristine music gently soothing the senses. The ambience was perfect for promoting a hugely mounted film which seems to be a labour of painstaking research, minute detailing and incalculable hard work. Maybe, a fitting tribute to Akbar, who in poet-lyricist-scriptwriter Javed Akhtar’s words, “is a symbol of Indian synthesis who was working towards a Secular society in India around 500 years ago.”
Alright, let’s bring you some more highlights from the evening and also a brief curtain raiser of what the music is all about. Apart from the usual thank-you’s (Ashutosh had a list as long as the duration of his films) and detailed-hugging-sessions, there are a couple of information-nuggets that you shall find very interesting. Ashutosh Gowariker disclosed that Amitabh Bachchan is doing a voice over in the film (Remember Big B’s evocative baritone set the tone-n-tenor in the eponymous Lagaan). Also, Shotgun Sinha’s lovely wife Poonam Sinha is making a comeback to films as she plays Akbar’s mother Hameeda Bano (she has acted in films like Jigri Dost and Sabak three decades ago).
The Audio Visual on the two big screens showcased the five songs from Jodhaa Akbar. ‘Kahne ko Jashn-e-bahaara hai, ishq ye dekh ke hairaan hai, Phool se khushbu khafa khafa hai gulshan mein, Chupa hai koi ranj fiza ki chilman mein,. Rookie singer Jaaved Ali will be a big name after this scintillatingly restrained number that teases-n-sprinkles romance in a careful-n-collected manner. Love notes on Aishwarya’s lips perfectly compliments the sincerity-soaked eyes of Hrithik Roshan. Stunningly shot, this one’s a breathtakingly beautiful aural-n-visual experience.
‘Khwaja Mere Khwaja’ is a traditional sufi song sung by AR Rahman reeking of profuse spiritual connotations of love that knows no boundaries. ‘Mann Mohana’ is a bhajan attempting to bridge the gap between Hindi and Urdu or in other words a cross cultural union. Singer Bela Shinde will be much-in-demand for she has a unique sonorous quality something similar to singer Chitra (Kahna Hi Kya from Bombay besides many more). As soon as ‘Inn Lamhon Ke Daaman Mein’ starts flowing one realizes there are good singers and then there’s Sonu Nigam. He takes Rahman’s superb melody to an even greater height due to that deep-sense-of-emotion that is required to be expressed. It seems Hrithik-Ash are meant to be lovers. For the world stops when the warm waves travel through thin air, setting the hearts on fire! Let the moments flow eternally…
Finally, the moment ‘Azeem-o-Shaan Shahenshah’ ends, there are dual emotions of a whistle-n-a-long-spell-of-clapping. Mammoth drum beats, bugles, huge choruses, a spectacular visual experience (colourful-human-circles making amazingly symmetrical patterns shot from the top) and the sheer sense of wonder: How did they manage to pull off such an epic song like this? Phew! A R Rahman, Javed Akhtar and Ashutosh Gowariker take a bow…
The Audio Release of Jodhaa Akbar was a carefully crafted and well managed event. One error on the part of the organizers that needs to be pointed is that they should have utilized the two giant screens for displaying the images of what-was-going-on at the stage. For the distance for the naked eye to decipher the proceedings was quite a bit. The good news for you guys is that in the next few days we shall treat you with long-n-detailed video interviews with Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai, Ashutosh Gowariker, A R Rahman and Javed Akhtar. For the time being, can someone play the lovely songs once again…