“Jodhaa Akbar is finally releasing on September 15,” said director Ashutosh Gowariker at an opulent music launch of the film at a plush Mumbai hotel. “No…actually the release date as of now is February 15 and this time I’m serious,” Ashutosh corrected himself (with a chuckle) to a collective sigh from the gathered media and other dignitaries. Present at the rich-n-ostentatious occasion was of course the lead pair of Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai, producer Ronnie Screwvala, Amitabh Bachchan, Javed Akhtar, A R Rahman, Sonu Sood, Sonu Nigam, Madhushree, Jaaved Ali, Shatrughan Sinha, Akbar Khan, Sanjay Khan, Ila Arun, Zayed Khan and a host of other celebrities. The event was anchored by ravishing Anjana Sukhani and the music was launched by Maharani of Jaipur Rani Padmini, a direct descendant of Jodhaa Bai.
Flowing red curtains curled as if in a bun of hair, brilliantly scarlet ‘Paalki’ with coquettish secrecy, shimmering inside, authoritarian throne of the King of Kings, swords hanging the fate of destiny in balance and pristine music gently soothing the senses. The ambience was perfect for promoting a hugely mounted film which seems to be a labour of painstaking research, minute detailing and incalculable hard work. Maybe, a fitting tribute to Akbar, who in poet-lyricist-scriptwriter Javed Akhtar’s words, “is a symbol of Indian synthesis who was working towards a Secular society in India around 500 years ago.”
Alright, let’s bring you some more highlights from the evening and also a brief curtain raiser of what the music is all about. Apart from the usual thank-you’s (Ashutosh had a list as long as the duration of his films) and detailed-hugging-sessions, there are a couple of information-nuggets that you shall find very interesting. Ashutosh Gowariker disclosed that Amitabh Bachchan is doing a voice over in the film (Remember Big B’s evocative baritone set the tone-n-tenor in the eponymous Lagaan). Also, Shotgun Sinha’s lovely wife Poonam Sinha is making a comeback to films as she plays Akbar’s mother Hameeda Bano (she has acted in films like Jigri Dost and Sabak three decades ago).
"Story wise it is about two cultures coming together in a love story," said Rahman. "It was a big challenge for me to compose music keeping in mind this theme of union."
Known for his musical versatility -- from romantic compositions to foot-tapping numbers -- Rahman has innovated with different instruments and sounds to create some of India's best known musical hits for more than a decade.
But for filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker's ambitious project, the Bollywood composer said he had kept the modern day audience in mind.
"The sounds and songs are very contemporary," said Rahman. "It is a period film but I have not gone into using Rudraveena or those classical instruments while composing."
"The music is simple - mainly instruments and vocals and there's no flashy use of sounds."