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Gowariker's first love story blooms

Gowariker on his new film, Akbar-Jodha.Reel Rewind 2005: Relive the B'wood magic

india Updated: Dec 28, 2005 15:01 IST

He has made Lagaan that almost won the Oscars. His next film Swades won critical acclaims. And now Asutosh Gowariker (above) is busy with his magnum opus Akbar-Jodha starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. HT City caught up with him, during hisrecentvisit to Kolkata.

What is the latest onAkbar-Jodha?
It’s still at the scripting stage. I am doing a lot of research and hope to finish the draft by January. I plan to start shooting in July.

What made you delve into such a subject?
I have never made a love story. I am dealing with the love affair between Akbar and Jodhabai after marriage, how she became the head queen. I am not worried about the bombing of Taj Mahal (by Akbar Khan). The base of a story in any film is set in the first ten minutes. And that has to be taken into account.

There were certain controversies regarding your film.
Yes, there was. I am not quite worried about the historical aspect. History has different sides to it. My focus is entirely on the love story angle. I have consulted professors of Jamia Milia Islamia and the direct descendants of Jodhabai. So, I have both perspectives. My film is a marriage of alliances. I don’t want to hurt anybody’s sentiments.

What about the casting?
I present a young Akbar who is 27, so I needed some kind of regaleness and royalty in the person to fit the bill. He should have a poise and elegance and Hrithik fits the bill. So does Aishwarya who fulfils the criteria by her very screen presence.

The audience has lots of expectations from Ashutosh Gowariker films...
You can never fight audience expectations. But I start from point zero. Lagaan and Swades are behind me. People only react to a story told. All their expectations end once they reach the theatres.

You must be disappointed at Swades not making it to the Oscars.
Of course, I am. But ultimately it all boils down to the jury. Every filmmaker thinks his film should make it. As regards Paheli’s chances, I can’t comment because I am not quite aware of the films that are in the foreign category except for one.

Your reaction to the BFJA honour in Kolkata.
Kolkata is the epicentre of world cinema in the country. It was an honour to get two awards for Swades here after one year of the film’s release in front of Mrinalda, Tapanda (Tapan Sinha), Nabyenduda (Nabyendu Chatterjee) and Sandip Ray.