Tuesday, February 19, 2008

rewriting history

i once saw a movie in which a man gets to go back in time and change the events so that the present can be suitable for his needs. so if one wants to change the way things are today- tweak at history. one gets the feeling that Ashitosh Gowarikar has tried, over did it in Jodhaa Akbar. the movie is a version of the history that the director wants to amplify. it comes off as too clinical to be true. the versions of history one is used to doesn't help in accepting Gowarikar's version without doubting the authenticity. the objective is appreciable, though ill conceived and some times overdone.
there is no doubt we require to change for the better- more understanding of other communities is desirable in today's context. but one cannot comprehend the ways- Mera Bharat Mahan set of short films in the 90s and today Jodhaa Akbar. interestingly, while watching the movie one gets a feel of the rigid polarization in society- one spectator shouted 'ab pata chala' to a exclamation by Akbar on hearing about taxes on Hindu pilgrimages. it drives home the point that there is a undercurrent of suspicion and maybe even hatred of the other community. the qawalli was taken as a big joke by a group of college students who laughed and made fun of the tradition. rewriting history has been tried before, by the state. now it is the turn of individuals for nationalistic reasons, of course. an insight into the cultural practices of the others will obviously make for a better understanding and appreciation of diverse groups in society but by blatantly tampering with history (again, even for a just cause) may just backfire.


anxietyprone said...

you said it.a student of mine commented that the popularity of hrithik as a modern day heartthrob prevented her from seeing him as akbar.so i guess thats one of the reasons for the movie lacking in that speacial ingredient-what is called the c factor.c for classic.speaking of historical themes -it takes a great director to achieve success in this genre.ashutosh aint no muzzaffar ali.think back to umrao jaan,thats a great piece of history immortalised within movie lore.compared to that this one(jodha akbar)is infantile at best,considering the times we live in,this for a director, is a feat by itself.

Anju Christine said...

It's interesting to read this after someone gave me thumbs-up review on the movie yesterday. The fact that struck me was that the person in concern was quite vocal in her admiration for Ashutosh's acceptance of the fact that the whole movie was based on speculative history and yet, went on to say that she didn't know that Akbar was an illiterate and give me other details of the movie as though one were presenting facts from a well-researched book. This is only one of the several problems both viewers face when it comes to period films... Period films are definitely not within the bounds of every critically acclaimed director's calibre. It takes a special someone to execute such films.

Y knot said...

Reading a recent Sunday Magazine of The Hindu might give another perspective towards looking at the movie and the reasons towards it. Gowariker, of course has distorted the facts, but, the article says, it is his exclusive expression of the story and a piece of fiction, which he himself has admitted.