Jodhaa-Akbar is an Indian epic film which shows the love between Akbar the great and his wife Jodhabai. The film is directed and produced by Ashutosh Gowariker, the director of the Academy Award nominated film Lagaan. The film stars Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai in lead roles. Extensive research went into the making of this film which began shooting at Karjat. The film centers around the romance between the Muslim Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great played by Hrithik Roshan and the Hindu Rajput Princess Jodhabai, played by Aishwarya Rai. The music is composed by acclaimed music composer A.R. Rahman. The film has won the Audience Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the Sao Paulo International Film Festival, two awards at the Golden Minbar International Film Festival, seven Star Screen Awards and Five Filmfare Awards, in addition to two nominations at the 3rd Asian Film Awards.
Many of the events portrayed in the movie are based on real events. Certain Rajput groups claimed Jodhaa was married to Akbar’s son, Jahangir, not Akbar. They also demanded a public apology from Ashutosh Gowariker. The film was not released in 30 cinema theatres in Rajasthan.
Several historians claim that Akbar’s Rajput wife was never known as “Jodha Bai” during the Mughal period. According to Professor Shirin Moosvi, a historian of Aligarh Muslim University, neither the Akbarnama (a biography of Akbar commissioned by Akbar himself), nor any historical text from the period refer to her as Jodha Bai. Moosvi notes that the name “Jodha Bai” was first used to refer to Akbar’s wife in the 18th and 19th centuries in historical writings.
Ashutosh Gowariker in his defense said that. “While making the film I did my best to go by the book. I consulted the best historians and went through the most rigorous research. And there are different names used for Akbar’s wife, Jodhaa being one of them. In fact, there’s a disclaimer about the Rajput queen’s name at the beginning of the film. But to see that, the protesters have to see the film.”
Protests and Legal issues
The portrayal of Rajput people in the movie was criticized by members of the Rajput community as misleading, politically motivated historical revisionisnthat minimized Rajput history and scapegoatedthem as evil. The community’s protests against the film in some states, and it has been banned by the states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttarakhand. However, the producer moved the Supreme Court by challenging it.