'Jodhaa Akbar' should have been shorter: Malaysian critic

Feb 22, 2008


Kuala Lumpur, Feb 22 (IANS) Calling Bollywood film "Jodhaa Akbar" a long, long epic, a Malaysian film critic has said it should have been wrapped up in two and a half hours.

Critic K.N. Vijayan finds Aishwarya Rai, playing the role of Jodhaabai, "fiery". However, he says, "in most scenes, her glamour is simply not there and we even see signs of ageing".

Indian films, both from Bollywood and from the country's southern states, are avidly followed in Malaysia that has a two million-plus population of ethnic Indians.

Writing in the New Straits Times, Vijayan says Kiran Deohan, who handled the cameras, "dwells more on Hrithik Roshan's muscles than showing Aishwarya's beauty. But Ash and Hrithik remain the main reasons to see this movie, rather than all those elephants, elaborate sets, costumes and palaces.

"Every movie that has a big star in it is the subject of controversy for some reason or other in India," he says of the frequent protests over films released after they are duly censored and certified.

"It might be something related to religion, caste, song lyrics, cruelty to animals during filming or, as in this case, some alleged inaccuracy in the story," he says, adding that the controversy surrounding "Jodhaa Akbar" may end up benefiting the film.

Vijayan writes: "Film pundits are saying the film will recover its costs despite some critics labelling it 'Jodhaa Ak-BORE' because of its excessive length - three hours and 20 minutes, not including the short intermission.

"Already, a lot is being said about the Rs.300 million spent, making it one of the most expensive Indian movies to be made. It includes the large amount of gold used for costumes and thousands of extras, including horses, camels and elephants."

He adds: "There are only two battle scenes, one is full swing and the other aborted. Strangely, the scenes that stay with us are those where king and wife meet, including their fascinating sword duel.

"The scene where the king subdues a wild elephant in an arena is also good as it shows his bravery. The incident where Jodhaa decides to surprise her husband with a Rajput vegetarian meal is also filled with humour and suspense.

"Unfortunately, there are far too few of such scenes. They almost get buried... Couldn't these scenes be told with voiceover? The whole movie should be wrapped up in two-and-a-half hours," Vijayan said.

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