A monumental love story with a rich historical pedigree, this extravagant movie covered a lot of ground–literally. As I was watching this film, my mind flashed with images of past conflicts that have taken place around the world. A common factor I found present was the clashing of two distinct religions. Each side tried imposing their culture on the opposing force. I do not understand the reasoning behind some religions sending out members in an attempt to convert individuals. Where does this mentality of “my religion is better than yours” come from? Set in the 16th century, the Mughal ruler Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar, played by Hrithik Roshan (Luck by Chance, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara) formed an alliance with an opposing kingdom by agreeing to marry that ruler’s daughter. This was a radical idea due to the fact Akbar was Muslim and the princess was HIndu. Besides family members having their doubts, ministers of each court were leery of such an arrangement. How could Akbar make this marriage work with the strong willed Princess Jodhaa Bai, played by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (Bride & Prejudice, Endhiran)? The first 30 minutes of this saga was hard for me to get into; I could not figure out what was going on. But trust me, it will be worth your wait as the story came alive when the focus turned to Akbar. I discovered if I watched this movie with my western sensibilities, it came across as this over the top, melodramatic soap opera. With soaring music that would sweep into the scene, people breaking out into song and a cast of thousands filmed for maximum exposure; this was a big Bollywood production. Granted the fight scenes were a bit hokey, especially with the one to one combatants, where one could see punches missing their intended targets. In spite of the technical deficiencies; the movie bloomed with beautifully colored scenes and told a story about respectfulness, tolerance and one of the greatest loves in history. Brief scene with blood. Hindi/Urdu with English subtitles.
3 stars — DVD