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Jodhaa Akbar and those Mughlai delays

What have been the speedbreakers in the way of Ashutosh Gowariker's magnum opus Jodhaa Akbar? Hiren Kotwani finds out
Hindustan Times | By Hiren Kotwani, Mumbai
UPDATED ON OCT 23, 2007 11:15 AM IST

When the Jodhaa Akbar promo was screened for the media a couple of weeks ago, it seemed that the magnum opus had reached its finishing line.

But the buzz is that it will take 15 days or more to wrap up the Mughlai project. Ashutosh Gowariker and co-producer Ronnie Screwvala of UTV.. are smiling.. but just about.

Out of control
According to a source, a series of differences have cropped up between Gowariker and Screwvala ever since the production costs crossed Rs 50 crore. The pending work may add another Rs 5 crore to the budget. "Ashutosh did try to keep a check on the expenditure but the props and properties at times were not grand enough," says the source.

Surprisingly, frequently during the shoot, the scenes with dialogue were ready only on the morning of the shoot. "That gave Hrithik (Roshan) little time to learn the lines and the pronunciation before going on the sets. Even after he reported on the sets, the dialogue could be changed. So many factors added up the delay in the film's completion," the source reveals.

Cost cutting
It's said that Gowariker didn't allow the actors to check their scenes on the monitor after a take.. but after a point of time, Hrithik was frustrated with the way things were going and began checking his takes.

The source elaborates, "Of course, they did try to cut costs by hiring a good number of Karjat locals for the war sequences. Strangely, the weapons and armoury seemed ordinary."

He points out that cinematographer Kiran Deohans and his crew had to work very hard to cover up flaws.

When the shoot was on at ND Studios in Karjat, many essential properties were missing. "The mat which Jodhaa paints during her childhood has been used on the window of her temple room," reveals the source.

Way to go
Seems all the dates committed by Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik have been exhausted and they're giving additional time to complete the epic. "Some dramatic scenes and a song remain to be filmed on Hrithik and Aishwarya... which is why the sets at N D Studios haven't been dismantled. Hrithik will resume shooting in a few days and will be soon joined by Aishwarya and others," says the source.

With so much work pending, it seems as if Jodhaa Akbar might just about make it for release on January 25 next year. "Even a week's delay is unacceptable. Ashutosh is leaving nothing to chance in his race to complete the film," the source concludes.

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