Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The other side of India

We've been hearing an awful lot about Slumdog Millionaire lately, thanks in part to it's historic run of film awards including the Oscar for Best Picture. I haven't watched Slumdog yet, but there has been some unhappiness amongst the people of India about the less-than-glamorous image the film presents of India.
One way to counter that would be to watch the new Indian epic on our shelves: Jodhaa Akbar. This is a sweeping 3 1/2 hour film in the tradition of the old Hollywood epics: monumental battles, tender romance, fabulous costumes and lots and lots of extras milling around in the background. Jodhaa is a fictional recreation of the marriage of the great Mughal Emperor Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar and the gorgeous (in the film, at least) Hindu Rajput Princess Jodhaa. If you want to set this in an historical context, their son went on to have his own legendary love story and built the Taj Mahal to his dear departed wife.
Since there were no People Weekly or FOX News reporters back in sixteenth century India, a lot of this film comes from the director's imagination. But wow, what a great story, and the sets and costumes are luscious. If you like to watch epic battles or splashy costume dramas (like The Duchess, starring Kiera Knightly - another film we recently purchased), then you should give Jodhaa a try.
Disclaimer: the dialogue is entirely in Hindi, with English subtitles, and it is not rated.

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