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Ashutosh GowarikarAshutosh Gowarikar defends 'Jodhaa Akbar'
10th Feb 2008  18.00 IST
By Agencies  

Brushing aside protests from a section of the Rajput community over confusion in names, filmmaker Ashutosh Gowarikar says his soon to be released magnum opus Jodhaa Akbar is not intended to hurt the pride and dignity of the Rajputs.

Standing by the storyline of the film, Gowarikar said, 'Some organisations and historians may have been protesting due to the confusion over the relationship of princess Jodhaa with Emperor Akbar '.

He said according to 'History of Jaipur' author Jadunath Sarkar, King Motaraja of Jodhpur married his daughter to prince Jahangir. She has been called Mirabai, Manibai and Jodhbai.

'There is a difference between Jodhbai and Jodhabai,'' he added, while addressing media persons in Mumbai on Saturday.

The filmmaker said he had made independent research of Mughal and Rajput history for writing his script and even shared it with Maharaja Bhawani Singh and Maharani Padmini Devi of Jaipur royalty and Brajraj Singh of Kishengadh who belong to the Kachawahas dynasty where Jodhabai hailed from.

Rajput historians have different names for Akbar's wife, Harkabai, Hira Kunwar, Manmati, Shahibai, Jiarani and Jodhabai. At least three historians call her Jodhabai. Even the Jaipur royalty confirmed it.

'Jodhaa Akbar' was three years in the making and the very concept of a marriage of political alliance of two cultures and traditions which later evolved into true love was very exciting, he added stating that the idea to make a film on the subject struck him when story writer Haider Ali brought up the issue with him.

Gowarikar said, ''I am making a film whose primary concern is to entertain. I have taken care to see that nobody's pride and dignity is hurt. That is never my intention.''

Responding to questions, the filmmaker said with 'Jodhaa Akbar' he was treading into an unknown territory. ''I like to do different things and I enjoy the process. I have not made a war or horror movie'' he added.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan as the lead pair would be boon or bane for his film as the charismatic duo's earlier film Dhoom 2 was of a totally different genre, Gowarikar said success of 'Dhoom 2' was going to help this film.

''Audience naturally follow their favourite star and when they enter the cinema halls, they are aware of the particular story they are going to watch. They will come to see Hrithik in the role of Akbar and how he has performed. If they didn't want to, they will not come to the theatre in the first place,'' he felt.

Gowarikar also did not feel that the duration of three hour and 20 minutes of 'Jodhaa Akbar' would hamper the film. 'If it is an engaging story, audience does not mind the duration. I have seen people walking out of the theatres while seeing a two hour movie,'' he pointed out.

On his future plans Gowarikar said ''though I have not decided on my next project, I am keeping my eyes and ears open''.

When asked about his fledging production company, Ashutosh Gowarikar Productions, he said he was in the process of formulating plans for it. ''I will work out the details after 'Jodhaa Akbar''s release.

To a question about plans to return to acting, Gowarikar who has acted in a couple of Marathi and Hindi films said he has not given a thought to it.

''Renuka Shahane wanted me to give her dates for her film. I could not adjust because I was busy with 'Jodhaa Akbar','' he added.

When asked why he felt that his previous film Swades did not get its due credit, Gowarikar said even when the film is shown on TV, it is appreciated. ''I think it was bad timing and poor promotion,'' he said.

Ashutosh Gowarikar
Jodhaa Akbar
Aishwarya Rai
Hrithik Roshan
Dhoom 2

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