While on UTV, their next venture JODHA AKBAR, directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, will be dubbed in Tamil and Telugu languages. That’s not all, UTV has plans of releasing the two versions extensively in these two markets. Read on…
UTV’s current plans are to release the magnum opus in 1,000 + screens in the domestic market in the three languages [Hindi, Tamil, Telugu]. “Don’t be surprised if the number of screens touch 1,200,” Suniel Wadhwa, Associate Vice President - India Distribution, UTV informs me. The breakdown [as on this date] is as follows:- Hindi version 750, Telugu version 150 and Tamil version 100 screens. Incidentally, Hrithik Roshan’s previous movies, DHOOM 2 and KRRISH, were also dubbed in Telugu and Tamil languages.
The Telugu trailers of JODHA AKBAR were unleashed during Dassera week [18th October] with ATHIDHI, with 248 trailers [352 screens] across Andhra Pradesh, while the Tamil trailers were released during the Diwali week [9th November] with AZHAGIYA TAMIL MAGAN and VEL.
Trouble seems to be far from over for Bollywood director Ashutosh Gowarikar's mega budget venture 'Jodha Akbar' with leaders of Rajput community here threating to stall it release in the state alleging distortion of facts.
The film, which Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai in the lead roles, is scheduled to be released on February 15.
President of Rajput Karni Sena, Lokendra Kalvi said on Tuesday that the Sena apprehended distortion of Rajasthan's historical facts in 'Jodha Akbar' which is based on Jodhpur raj gharana.
The Karni Sena would watched the movie when released, and if required it would not allow its screening in the state, Kalvi said.
Earlier, the Rajput Mahasabha had also alleged misinterpretation of historical facts. They maintained that Jodha was Jehangir's wife and not Akbar's as shown in K Asif's 'Mughal-E-Azam' earlier and now in 'Jodha Akbar'.
The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a body registered with the Animal Welfare Board of India, had also issued a letter to Gowarikar asking him if had the required permission for using animals in his film.
UTV to co-produce 'Akbar Jodha' with Ashutosh Gowarikar
UTV is all set to co-produce Bollywood director Ashutosh Gowarikar's latest magnum opus 'Akbar Jodha' starring superstars Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai.
UTV Vice-President Marketing and PR Siddharth Kapoor said, "Yes we are co-producing 'Akbar Jodha' with Ashutosh Gowarikar where Hrithik plays king Akbar and Aishwarya Rai plays his lady love Jodha. The film will go on floors later this year and will be released on the Diwali in 2007. The research for the film is going on."
Mr Nair, Ashutosh Gowarikar's secretary, said, "The budget of the film is Rs 37 crore and it will be co produced by UTV. A majority of the shooting will be done in Rajasthan and sets will be erected accordingly. The research for the film is on. "
Filmmaker Gowarikar has earlier made brilliant films like 'Lagaan' starring Aamir Khan and Gracy Singh, which was India's entry to the Oscars, and 'Swades' starring superstar Shah Rukh Khan and Gayatri Joshi.
For a long time now, sections of the media have been talking about a delay in the release of Ashutosh Gowariker's Jodha Akbar, but the director denies the rumours, saying the historical drama will hit the screens October 12.
"Not again! Not true at all!" Gowariker told IANS.
"I've been reading stories of Jodha Akbar being postponed every couple of months. These rumours are not true at all. We had locked in on October 12 as the release date since it coincides with Eid when audiences swamp the theatres. We've to be stupid or careless to let go of such a coveted date," he added.
There were also reports of Hrithik Roshan, who plays the main lead along with Aishwarya Rai, suffering an accident during the shooting of the film. But he too categorically denied anything of the sort.
So where does Gowariker, who had earlier made the Oscar nominated Lagaan and the Shah Rukh Khan starrer Swades, think these rumours are coming from?There were also reports of Hrithik Roshan, who plays the main lead along with Aishwarya Rai, suffering an accident during the shooting of the film.
"Beats me! Probably because I've one song and some scenes left to shoot, some people might be jumping to the wrong conclusion. But October 12 was and is the release date for Jodha Akbar."
There has also been some talk of his returning to his 'first love', acting.
"First love?" he laughed. "Direction is and always will be my pehla nashaa. If after that I get some time off, I may, mind you may, consider giving acting a try. And that too only if a friend is insistent."
However, right now it seems unlikely that he would be able to take up any acting assignments, what with the gruelling post-production of Jodha Akbar awaiting his full attention.
I too want to know who sent parcel to me: Aishwarya
2006/11/21 15:40:03 Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai has said she too is eager to know who sent a parcel containing Euros 23,000 (around Rs 13 lakhs) to her, why and from where.
"Like all of you, I am also eager to know who sent this parcel, from where and why it was sent?" she said while talking to reporters at Sanganer airport after returning from Mumbai last night.
She would be shooting for director Ashutosh Gowarikar's 'Jodha Akbar'.
During questioning by Customs officials yesterday at Sahar Airport in Mumbai, Aishwarya had disowned the parcel sent to her from Rotterdam in Netherlands.
Looking relaxed, Rai said she was waiting for completion of investigation by the authorities.
Asked about 'Jodha Akbar', she said, "Ashutosh Gowarikar has been working very hard on this film and it would be a hit."
As for lukewarm response at the box office for J P Dutta's 'Umrao Jaan' in which she played the lead role, the Bollywood actress said, "I am not aware of box office results, but I got many mails from my fans who said my performance in the movie was good."
Meanwhile, Ashotosh Gowarikar spent the two-day break to search for and finalise more locales for shooting of 'Jodha Akbar', some scenes of which were filmed at Rupangarh Fort in Kishangarh.
Of late, Aishwarya Rai must be chatting a lot with father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan, about films in general and her projects in particular. In the course of one such chat session, she told Big B about the impressive organisational skills of director Ashutosh Gowariker, as seen on the sets of her next, Jodha Akbar . So much so, that ever since Ash has started shooting for Jodha Akbar at Nitin Desai Studios at Karjat, Big B has been really keen on seeing the studio and the shooting of the film.
Ash also raved about the sets and her costumes to father-in-law. Neeta Lulla has designed the costumes for Ash, and Ash has been talking about them to everyone. "Amitabh wanted to see Aishwarya Rai in Jodhabai's get-up, but he didn't want to arrive on Ashutosh's sets since Ashutosh doesn't welcome visitors. Then, Nitin Desai thought of throwing a party on the sets on March 7 and invited Amitabh," says a source.
When we contacted art director Nitin Desai, he confirmed the news, saying, "Yes, Mr. Bachchan will be attending the party on March 7. I wanted him to visit the studio and his presence will be like a blessing for all of us."
Nitin adds, "Of course. Both Hrithik Roshan and Ash will be shooting on that date. We are planning to wind up the shooting by 6:30 pm, after that Amitji will look around the studios and then we'll have a party. Amitji will come slightly early and visit the sets of Jodha Akbar , and will also meet Aishwarya Rai."
As we know by now, Hrithik Roshan plays the legendary Mughal Emperor, Akbar, in the film while Aishwarya Bachchan is the Rajput Princess, Jodhaa. The film is about one of the historic love stories which will be told for the first time through a film.
In Jodhaa Akbar, Hrithik plays a young Akbar. This will be Hrithik’s first period film. As seen in the image above, this is the first time that Hrithik sports a moustache throughout the film. The poster shows Hrithik as a warrior, clad in armor suit.
Aishwarya on the other hand, plays the young Rajput Princess, Jodhaa. Ash is luxuriously dressed in a Red Sari. This Rajput Princess is wholly garlanded with gold jewellery
The posters however, do not reveal the faces of Hrithik and Ash. This definitely increases our curiosity levels.
Jodhaa Akbar is directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar and is produced by Ronnie Screwvala and Ashutosh Gowarikar.
Actor Hrithik Roshan is upset he won't be able to celebrate his wedding anniversary with wife Susanne on Wednesday as he is shooting for Ashutosh Gowariker's Jodha-Akbar in Rajasthan.
"For the first time I won't be here in Mumbai with my wife for our anniversary. And considering there is no access to a mobile network, no means of communication where I'll be shooting, so I won't even be able to speak to her. This is the first time that such a thing will happen since we got married," Hrithik complained.
After spending a long holiday with his family, Hrithik returned to Rajasthan on Monday to shoot for Jodha-Akbar.
"I was let off for a couple of days during the release of Dhoom 2. But then I had another five-day gap later in the shooting schedule. Ashutosh suggested I take those five days so I could spend a longish period in Mumbai with my family," said Hrithik before leaving for Rajasthan.
But there's heartening news for Susanne and their son, Hrehaan.
"I'm expected to be back on December 29 to spend time with my friends and family and bring in the New Year. It will be my son Hrehaan's first New Year and, therefore, special. I think that will somewhat compensate for my absence on the 20th. I hope, Susanne will agree,” Hrithik said.
Aishwarya hit Hrithik with a sword, and in result Hrithik sustained a minor injury while shooting a swordfight scene for Ashutosh Gowariker's forthcoming period film ‘Jodha-Akbar'.
It was an accident and unintentional, a unit member said to us. “There was a slight lapse of timing in the swordfight scene and Hrithik ended up getting injured by Ash's sword,” said the unit member who was present at the shoot. But so professional Hrithik is however didn't stop shooting after the incident.
Earlier, Hrithik while learning horse riding for this film had fallen from a horse and got wounded. In the film, Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai will play the title roles of Akbar and Jodha respectively.
Controversies and length notwithstanding, UTV stands firmly behind Jodhaa Akbar and is even releasing it in Rajasthan.
We are very confident of Jodhaa Akbar and looking forward to people's reactions from Friday onwards,” says Siddharth Roy Kapoor, Executive Vice President, Marketing, Distribution and Syndication, UTV. “I am very upbeat about the film and think that people should go and see it,” he adds, dousing the fire of controversies and the rumours that have afflicted the film off late.
The epic love story of Rajput Princess Jodhaa Bai and one of India's greatest rulers ever Akbar deserves a grand premiere. And that's exactly what is slated to happen at IMAX Adlabs in Mumbai where exotic Rajasthani ambience is being created by genius Art Director Nitin Desai. Confirming the news, Kapoor said, “Nitin Desai is working on it and like everything else, he is planning everything to perfection.” Could you elaborate as to what all one can see at the premiere? “It is best that people see it for themselves.”
There have been reports that the deal with the multiplexes is yet to be struck. Will the film release there at all? “We are talking to all the multiplex partners and will reach a fair and reasonable solution for both the parties by the time the film releases,” Kapoor says. Considering there have been protests in Rajasthan, will Jodhaa Akbar be releasing there? “We are releasing in Rajasthan.” Is there any specific area in Rajasthan where the film may not release? “We are releasing at all places.”
On the hindsight, what are your thoughts on the controversies that have dogged Jodhaa Akbar? “I would want people to watch the film and then reach a conclusion,” Siddharth says. In an era of shorter attention spans, don't you think, at 3 hours 20 minutes, Jodhaa Akbar is a bit too long? “Frankly, if a film holds then it holds for the entire duration. If it doesn't then it doesn't even for a two hour film.”
Alright point taken, what about the Tamil and Telugu versions of the film, are they releasing too? “Yes Jodhaa Akbar is being released in Tamil and Telugu as well.” How many prints? “Close to 100 prints collectively.” With the film releasing a day later Valentine's Day, would you call it that it befits the amorous air all around? “At the heart of the film, it's a love story. It's quiet an apt movie for Valentine's Day,” Siddharth Roy Kapoor signs off.
Jodhaa Akbar is the labour of love. In an era of rapid fire moviemaking, one man dared to put up an unbelievable canvas and paint a picture out of the colours of blood and sweat. This Friday, the fate of the movie will be sealed and if first impressions are to be believed, it's an eye opening riveting tale. Whatever may be the end result, but one thing is for sure, the Herculean efforts of the entire team of Jodhaa Akbar ought to be applauded. Let the curtains lift…let the show begin…
A sixth generation descendant of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, and his family are upset by "factual errors" in the blockbuster Jodhaa Akbar.
Prince Yakub Ziauddin Tucy has petitioned the Indian Supreme Court that the name Harkha Bai should be used in the movie instead of Jodha, so that the emperor Akbar and the Mughal dynasty will not be defamed, the Gulf News’s online edition said.
Jodhaa Akbar, produced and directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar, tells the love story of Akbar and Jodhaa.
"Akbar's reign is looked upon as the golden period of India. The movie shows Jodhaa Bai as Akbar's wife, which is incorrect. Jodha Bai was his daughter-in-law and wife of Prince Salim, who was known as emperor Jahangir. We as descendants of the Mughal dynasty will not accept the distortion of historical facts," Tucy was quoted as saying in the report.
"Akbar did not marry Jodhaa Bai, the daughter of Mota Raja Udai Singh of Jodhpur. The truth is that Jodhaa Bai was born in 1572 and married to Akbar's son Jahangir," he added.
Tucy said he wanted the "future generations to learn a history of India that is based on facts," and not one that is twisted for commercial purpose.
Tucy, who is the managing director of the Mughal Educational Trust, also serves as the president of the Mughal Emperors Family Society. He has been appointed as the Mutwalli, or caretaker, of Mughal emperor Mohiuddin Mohammad Aurangzeb Alamgir at Khuldabad, located in the district of Aurangabad.
Prior to its release, the blockbuster starring Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan, ran into several controversies causing an uproar in the subcontinent. The film was initially banned in some parts of the country, but the ban was lifted on the order of the Supreme Court.
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'Jodhaa-Akbar' as relevant as arranged marriage: Gowariker
Young and dynamic director Ashutosh Gowariker, who is ready with "Jodhaa-Akbar", says he was fascinated by the relationship that the two historical figures must have shared after marriage.
"I feel if today we make a story about the past, it must be correlated to the present. And 'Jodhaa-Akbar' is as relevant to the present as arranged marriages. Jodha and Akbar shared a perfect arranged marriage. I was fascinated by how their relationship must have grown after marriage," Gowariker told IANS.
Keeping the young generation in mind, the director has avoided a heavy dose of Urdu.
"As for youngsters, I had one rule of connectivity in my range of vision. Any word or dialogue that I didn't understand in Urdu I kept out. I've no interest in impressing audiences with my knowledge of Urdu, Hindi or even literature."
Starring Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan in the lead roles, the film is set to hit the marquee Feb 15. The director is dubbing it in Telugu and Tamil as well.
Q: After "Lagaan", you return to a period film in "Jodhaa-Akbar"?
A: You might say that. But I call "Lagaan" a period film. "Jodhaa-Akbar" is to me a historical. Anything after 1857 is a period film for me. Anything before that is a historical. "Jodhaa-Akbar" is certainly not a costume drama. It isn't set in a never-never land. I'd call "Mughal-e-Azam" a historical though its focus was different from mine.
I feel if today we make a story about the past, it must be correlated to the present. And "Jodhaa-Akbar" is as relevant to present times as arranged marriages. Jodha and Akbar shared a perfect arranged marriage. I was fascinated by how their relationship must have grown after marriage. There was no reference in any books about what happened between them. I've taken extreme care to make sure viewers believe in the relationship.
Q: How much have you stressed the religious difference between Jodha and Akbar?
A: It's important but not stressed in my film. Let's not forget, Akbar's marriage to Jodhabai was no common occurrence. It had a nationwide reverberation 450 years ago when society was far more conservative. How did their marriage affect those times? That's a question relevant even today. But I'm not jingoistic in my treatment.
Q: Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan have very contemporary personalities?
A: That won't be a problem. The audience will come in and forget everything about Hrithik and Aishwarya. Hrithik-Aishwarya's pairing is incredible. They're extremely charismatic and good-looking. They were a huge success in the contemporary "Dhoom 2". That can only help my film, not harm it.
What audiences will see in my film are Jodha and Akbar. At least that's what I've tried to ensure through their looks, body language and behaviour. I wanted to make my historical as believable as I'd like to see it being. Every element big or small, from the texture of the clothes to the sets, décor, dialogues and the protocol, even the incidental sounds of birds and animals, they all had to be just right for me. I'm tired of filmmakers wondering where those good old days have gone. I wanted to reclaim those days. It took me two years of pre-production before I got into my first shot.
Q: Film analysts feel history has no relevance for today's average youngster?
A: I agree. Even as a child myself historical films never interested me. But when I saw "Mughal-e-Azam" on TV, I connected to it because it was a story of lovers separated by parental opposition. That the parents were historical figures was incidental.
I feel the story has to be connectable to the audience. Hyder Ali, who wrote "Jodhaa-Abkar", told me, "In 'Mughal-e-Azam" the focus was so much on Salim and Anarkali, nobody asked a fundamental question. How did Akbar come to marry Jodhabai in spite of their religious and cultural divide? I immediately reacted to their alliance. I saw an interesting story there that needed to be told.
As for the youngsters, I had one rule of connectivity in my range of vision. Any word or dialogue that I didn't understand in Urdu I kept out. I've no interest in impressing audiences with my knowledge of Urdu, Hindi or even literature. I feel literature is for the books, and that's where it should stay. I needed to reach out to the masses.
Q: So is "Jodhaa-Akbar" kitsch?
A: No. I've referred to literature and academia. But the Akbarnama was in Pharsi. It doesn't mean I'd use Pharsi in my film. I want Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Bengal to understand the film. I'm dubbing the film into Telugu and Tamil. Each language has its own regality and I'm going by the individual regality of the province. I had one vision before me when I started making this film. It was the world of the Amar Chitra Katha. I've grown up on that world.
Q: Are you happy with the end product?
A: Oh! it has been tremendously enriching. So far the Mughal period was part of textbooks. I always wondered about the battles and the durbar intrigue. The Mughal period was known for its lavishness, so much so that studio bosses in Hollywood from the golden period were not called movie czars or movie nawabs. They were called movie moguls.
Jodha Akbar, a periodic film is a much hyped film not only due to its story line, but also due to its start cast. One of the world beautiful woman Aishwarya Rai and a handsome hunk Hrithik are donning the role of Jodha – Akbar.
When the shooting of the Epic film Jodha Akbar started, all seemed well between the two stars Ash and Hrithik. And all of the fans expected that the two stars will keep their onscreen chemistry going ,like in Dhoom 2.But it is said that the break up between them or can be termed as a cold war started recently after Aishwarya’s marriage.
Although the duo did not let their off screen behavior affect their on screen chemistry, it was obvious that Ash and Hrithik were not comfortable and kept their interactions to a bare minimum.
Apparently it was the incident that took place during one of the shoots under able director Gowariker that initiated the entire ruckus and created the ruckus between them. Ashutosh had to film a scene where only Hrithik was needed to face the cameras though ash was required to offer cues to her leading man. Hence she required on the sets to say a few dialogues from behind the camera which in turn would help Hrithik enact his scene and dialogues in the much needed manner.
Prior to the scene Hrithik was punctual as always and ready to give his best shot but had to wait on Aishwarya for almost an hour. And when Ash emerged from her van, she had a request to tag a visitor who happened to be a family member. Permission was given and everyone was looking for the completion of the scene. But when Hrithik began his lines, Ash would very often turn around and signal the visitor. Although Ash never missed with the cues that she was supposed to give, but was forever fidgeting and in turn irking Hrithik at the end. Hrithik was miffed up with the Ash’s behavior, but was silent.
Though Hrithik never showed his displeasure on the sets of the film, he found his opportunity later when he willingly offered lifts to Ashutosh Gowariker and his assistants on the sets of the movie, but purposely refused to offer the helicopter facility to the leading lady of the period film.
When recently Hrithik was questioned on this, he very sarcastically retorted that Ash was a married woman now and will only prefer traveling in the helicopter with her husband Abhi. With Teji Bachan’s funeral passed off peacefully the Bachchan khandan bahu,
is busy in completing the last formalities to her grandmother and is also said that she will be delaying the shooting Jodha Akbar . With all the hurdles arising suddenly Ashu’s epic film seems to be postponed again from February 15th to some day of April, 2008.
And let’s hope that the cold war between Ash and Hrithik will end up soon as the lady is already in war with SRK & Salman who declared that, they are not going to work with Aishwarya in Future. And if the war with Hrithik does not end soon then this will surely be the last film for the two stars together..
2006/11/28 11:52:53 Film producer-director Ashutosh Gowariker collapsed on the set of his historical opus Jodha Akbar …, after a shouting rage, news reports on said Tuesday.
Gowariker was shooting the 16th century love story about Mughal Emperor Akbar and his wife, but was enraged as people in modern dress kept wandering on to the set near the west Indian city of Jaipur, the Asian Age newspaper said. He collapsed soon after, it said.
He was given first aid and returned to work later in the day, the daily said. The movie features actors Hritik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai.
The screening of the Hrithik Roshan-Aishwarya Rai starrer Jodhaa Akbar restarted in Madhya Pradesh on Friday.
It was resumed three days after the Madhya Pradesh High Court rejected the state government's order to ban the screening of the film, though temporarily.
The court had ordered the government to lift the ban Tuesday. The movie was released on Feb 15, but banned in Madhya Pradesh on Feb 22 by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government following fears that it may cause a law and order problem as some members of the Rajput community was against the film's content.
The community alleged that the film's director Ashutosh Gowariker presented Jodha Bai as Mughal emperor Jalaluddin Akbar's wife, which they said was factually incorrect.
According to them, Jodha Bai was not the daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amber as shown in the film, but the daughter of Motaraja Udai Singh of Marwar. And she was married to Akbar's son Salim alias Jehangir.
The state government ban on screening of the controversial film has boosted the sale of pirated version of the movie, a retailer said.
The film's distributor for Madhya Pradesh is estimated to have suffered a loss of at least Rs 20 million since the ban was imposed.
"The state government banned the legal trade as a consequence of which the illegal trade has got a boost," said Aditya Chouksey, Jodhaa-Akbar's distributor for Madhya Pradesh.
The state government too has suffered a loss of Rs 6 to 7 million on entertainment tax during the week since the screening of the film has been stopped. Pirated VCD/DVD vendors are estimated to have done business worth over Rs 10 million during the period.
The Central Circuit Cine Association has also criticised the state government's assertion that screening of the movie was a threat to peace. The association pointed out that sporadic protests were held in many states and it was the duty of the government to provide security.
The movie has so far been screened in 17 locations in the state and was originally scheduled for release in 50 locations.
Bollywood heartthrob Hrithik Roshan's S-class Mercedes was badly dented on Sunday night due to a road accident near Panvel. The actor who was in the car and was on his way to Karjat for the shoot of Jodha Akbar escaped unhurt.
Reportedly there was a Zen ahead of Hrithik’s car which wasn’t giving way even after repeated honking from Hrithik’s driver Sushil. After repeated attempts Hrithik’s driver managed to overtake the Zen. After getting the lead the Mercedes slowed down a bit. Then suddenly the Zen car driver who was apparently drunk bumped into Hrithik’s car.
A Bolero which was travelling quite close to the Zen jammed hard but hit by a truck from behind it rammed into the Zen. Had the accident happened at a higher speed one can only imagine the consequences.
According to sources, Hrithik even came out of his car and tried to confront the driver of the Zen. But seeing his drunken state he left the place. Despite the accident Hrithik went ahead to Karjat for the shoot of Jodha Akbar.
Shooting for Ashutosh Gowarikar's "Jodha-Akbar" is expected to be over next month and the long awaited film, that the director insists is not a "remix version" of "Mughal-e-Azam", will be released Oct 12.
"That's the Eid week. We're looking at a cross-culture of audiences to come for the film," says the "Lagaan" and "Swades" director.
"Swades" wasn't a huge success. "But ultimately it reached out to the right people... You know, we're going through a 're-mix phase' in music and cinema. We need to get over that. It will soon go away and a new order will emerge. Let me reiterate, 'Jodha-Akbar' isn't a 'remix version' of 'Mughal-e-Azam'."
"Jodha-Akbar", starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai, is Ashutosh's most expensive film. "Our budget is Rs.37 crores. But my co-producer Ronnie Screwvala and I aren't looking at the budget as a responsibility. Between us we've worked out the financial details, including what is required in production and marketing."
Aishwarya and Hrithik have undergone the most gruelling and rugged outdoor experience of their lives. But the horse riding and sword fencing were not entirely a shock.
"We had several sessions in Mumbai... lots of riding and sword-fighting lessons just so that they'd be attuned to their Mughal characters and know the right way of riding a horse or holding a sword. You know sword fencing is a very western concept, whereas the way the talwaar was used in the Mughal times was very different.
"I had got Hrithik and Ash accustomed to the body language and attitude of those times from beforehand. Now all they're doing is executing a vision they're already aware of," says Ashutosh from his location in Rajasthan.
Is he worried by the utterly contemporary image of his lead pair in "Dhoom 2"? "Not at all! In 'Dhoom 2', they are Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. In my film they are Akbar and Jodha. Their personas in 'Dhoom 2' are closer to what they really are. Not that I've changed their physicality. But audiences will see only the characters."
Ashutosh thinks Ash and Hrithik aren't only immensely good looking but also hugely talented.
"I've seen every single film of theirs from 'Kaho... Na Pyar Hai' and K'yun....Ho Gaya Na' to 'Dhoom 2'. They always show an easy adaptability to the requirements of every director. Be it 'Chokher Bali' or 'Raincoat' for Aishwarya or 'Mission Kashmir' and 'Fiza' for Hrithik, they've transformed in front of the camera. They're both intensely dedicated."
The diligent filmmaker is all praise for the pairing. "Hrithik and Ash look really good together in my film. But the full impact will be discernable only when the film releases. The give-and-take between the two as they get into character is amazing."
The film also stars Sonu Sood, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Suhasini Mulay and Raza Murad.
The director is confident the audience will see exactly the vision in his mind. "I'm working towards it. So far so good. You know, Akbar once decided to not hunt a cheetah because he fell in love with it. Instead he got it to be trained and put next to him in the Diwan-e-Khas. But because of the animal-rights rule I can't have this shown on screen.
"That's the kind of bearable compromise I'll have to make. But I'm sticking to the authentic vision as much as possible. But I want the Golden Period of the Mughal Empire to look as glamorous as possible."
Now that her problems with the customs department have ended, there are joyful tidings for Bollywood's beauty queen Aishwarya Rai. She is back in Jaipur shooting for Ashutosh Gowariker's "Jodha-Akbar" with Hrithik Roshan.
"It's going great!" Aishwarya exulted from Jaipur as she prepared for the day's shoot.
So, has she done any horse riding and sword-fighting as yet?
"None of the above. But I rode an elephant for a scene. And his name was Lakhi. After 'Dhoom 2' and its hi-tech ambience and accessories, entering a world of elephants and Mughal grandeur is a true culture shock. And a real challenge for both Hrithik and me after 'Dhoom 2'," Aishwarya told IANS.
"But what's the life of an actor without challenges? I'm at a stage in my career where I need to constantly re-invent myself."
About the elephant ride, Aishwarya explained with a giggle, "It wasn't exactly a unique experience. I've ridden an elephant before for Gurinder Chaddha's 'Bride & Prejudice', though very briefly.
"In 'Jodha-Akbar' everything is far more elaborate. I guess I must be the only actress of my generation to have taken two elephant rides."
2007/8/3 8:03:29 Ram Gopal Varma shoots for Sarkar Raaj by day in Hyderabad, and does post-production work for …Aag by night in Mumbai. (When do these guys sleep?)
Juggling schedules in Bollywood has become a way of life, and how! We realised the full extent of it when Ram Gopal Varma shared his crazy schedules with us yesterday. Ramu has actually been commuting between Mumbai and Hyderabad every day.
The filmmaker shoots for Sarkar Raaj at Ramojirao studios in Hyderabad every day, then after winding up the shoot for the day, catches a flight back to Mumbai. In Mumbai, he spends much of the night winding up the pending post-production and publicity work for Ram Gopal Varma Ke Aag. "I come to Mumbai every evening to work on the post-production of my film Aag, and return to Hyderabad in the morning for shooting Sarkar Raaj," Ramu says.
Meanwhile there's another filmmaker who's working overtime to complete his film too. Ashutosh Gowariker is struggling to complete the post- production of Jodha Akbar. And he too is scuttling between Mumbai and Hyderabad. This is because although Ash's dates are with Ramu for Sarkar Raaj, she is simultaneously dubbing for Ashutosh's Jodha Akbar, at Ramojirao studio.
So how did Ashutosh manage that? He packed off his team of assistant directors and asked them to follow the actress to wherever she was shooting. And, thus began Bollywood's famous 'adjustment' act. Happily, both Ashutosh and Ramu have worked out a way to work with Ash without really disturbing each other's film. Now, Ashutosh too has packed his bags and left for Ramojirao studios where Aishwarya is shooting for Ramu's Sarkar Raaj.
The industry is certainly getting very accommodating! Although Ash's dates are with Ramu, he apparently does not mind that at all. "Aishwarya is dubbing for Ashutosh when she is not shooting for me," he says matter-of-factly.
Since Ashutosh was not available to comment, his wife, Sunita Gowariker confirmed the news, saying, "Yes, Aishwarya Rai is dubbing for Jodha Akbar in Hyderabad."
Says a source, "Ashutosh has been pressed for time and needs to wind up his film soon. He had to begin the dubbing of Jodha Akbar at the earliest but Aishwarya Rai was busy shooting in Hyderabad for Ram Gopal Varma's film. Hence he had to follow her to Hyderabad to get his dubbing done."
While Ash dubs for Jodha… in Hyderabad, Hrithik, who is in Mumbai, will start the dubbing soon after Ashutosh and his team return from Hyderabad.
After shooting round-the-clock for Ashutosh Gowariker's Jodha-Akbar, flying back each evening to rehearse for the Filmfare awards event and shooting for an ad in Singapore, superhero Hrithik Roshan is down with a severe attack of viral fever.
"I'm totally bedridden," he said from his home.
"I've been working round-the-clock, flying in from Karjat to rehearse. Then I also took off for Singpaore,” he added.
"All the time I had high fever and was keeping it down with paracetamol tablets. Today is the first time when I'm resting. Post Saif, all of us really need to take care of ourselves," Hrithik said.
Lately Hrithik has allowed himself to be self-indulgent with his food habits.
"I was so much into being well-toned for Dhoom 2 I decided to give my body a holiday! I splurged for a while. But, then, I needed to get back into shape. Therefore, after shooting, rehearsing for my Filmfare performance, I was also going to the gym daily,” he said.
"On top of all this, Gowariker hadn't warned me that we'd be doing sword-fighting sequences during the last 20 days when I was in and out of Mumbai and Karjat. All this has taken its toll. I'm completely exhausted and burning with a fever,” he added.
He brightens up while speaking about his role as Akbar.
"I've enjoyed playing everyone from Rohit in Koi Mil Gaya to Aryan in Dhoom 2. But playing Akbar is a different challenge requiring a lot of researched attention."
The Urdu professor who called on location to check the accent is happy.
"He hasn't been complaining. So, I guess I'm doing it right," said Hrithik who is in no mood to sign another film yet.
"At the moment, I think a break is seriously needed after Jodha-Akbar. We must learn to listen to warning signals from the body,” the actor said.
Is there a Salim on the way? Actress Aishwarya Rai, Jodha Bai of the period epic "Jodhaa-Akbar", is having toght time handling the speculation about her pregnancy in the media. And she refuses to rise to the bait.
"If I walk too carefully or if I stand with dupatta draped on one side, the media will be rife with speculation the next day. It crosses the line of decency…of respect… yes, it gets frustrating at times.
"We have agreed as a family to let the father of the family that is Amitji to clear out all the rumors. Like I said it takes more strength to maintain silence," said the chirpy former Miss World-turned-actress shimmering in a cloud of green chiffon and diamonds..
She was in the capital to unveil a new collection of Nakshatra diamond jewellery, a brand she represents.
She is not even threatened by the return of Madhuri Dixit in "Aaja Nachle". "Have you watched 'Devdas'?" Aishwarya shot back when asked how did she take the former superstar's comeback.
Aishwarya is comfortable in her new role.
"This new phase of my life, as Abhishek's (Bachchan) wife, has been special. I have another set of parents in Amit (Amitabh Bachchan) and Jayaji. The goodwill of the media and the people in general also has mattered," the actress said.
The actress is full of memories of "Jodhaa-Akbar".
"It is a director's film all the way. Ashutosh Gowariker is a committed filmmaker and for me it was another project that I enjoyed.
The choice was between two films and Ashutosh was undecided which one he would make first. Then he messaged me one day saying will you be my Jodha. I said why not?" recalls Aishwarya.
There is no special connect on the part of Aishwarya with Jodha Bai, emperor Akbar's favourite Hindu queen, whose identity is still a mystery.
"Ashutosh is not here to give a lesson in history. He just made a movie on the moving love story between Jalaluddin Akbar and Jodha Bai. It is an inspiring story.
They were two people, who had an arranged inter-religion marriage despite the fact that they came from different backgrounds," she clarified.
The only aspect of Jodha Bai the actress identifies with is her "silence". "She made her presence felt through her silence and spoke only when she wanted to make herself heard," Aishwarya said.
Speaking about love for diamonds and accessories, she said: "Diamonds were to a woman what cars were to men."
The actress is nostalgic about her first diamond. "I got it from my father. It was a diamond ring which belonged to my grandmother."
The rest of the diamonds she acquired along the way "with experience and they have been priceless".