Mumbai, Feb 15 (IANS) Director Ashutosh Gowariker's much-awaited epic drama 'Jodhaa Akbar' opened to a lukewarm response at the box office here Friday.
Despite the media hype and large-scale promos, the initial box-office collections in Mumbai stood between 75 percent and 80 percent - not a handsome percentage for a film made on a whopping Rs.400 million budget and starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai.
Set in the 16th century, the epic love story explores a marriage alliance between two cultures and religions for political gain. Gowariker has tried to portray this political alliance as a romantic tale.
Younger audiences reacted unfavourably to the movie, primarily because it was a historical and many felt Akbar's role did not suit Hrithik.
Vinita, a college student, said she couldn't reconcile to Hrithik playing Emperor Akbar, at least at this stage of his career.
The usually bankable A.R. Rehman's music also proved to be a letdown as none of the songs will stay with the audience, unlike some of his memorable tunes in 'Bombay' or 'Lagaan', said trade analyst Amod Mehra.
The fact that 'Jodhaa Akbar' has not been released at many city multiplexes, except the PVR chain, could be another reason for its discouraging box office performance.
The film has already run into trouble with the Rajput community of Rajasthan, which felt Gowariker has distorted facts. Rajput organisations said Gowariker has presented Jodhabai as Akbar's wife, which is they claimed was factually incorrect.
According to them, Jodhabai was not the daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amber as shown in the film. The princess was the daughter of Motaraja Udai Singh of Marwar and she was married to Akbar's son Salim alias Jehangir. And Mughal king Shahjahan was her son, they say.
However, Maharani Padmini">Padmini, the direct descendant of Jodha Bai, not only attended the music release function of the film held here, also showered praises on Gowariker for keeping historical facts intact and doing justice in portraying the relationship between Akbar and Jodha Bai.
Gowariker is also said to have consulted several eminent historians for the film.
If the first day's collections are any indication, the movie will find it difficult to set the cash registers ringing in the coming days. Mehra also felt that barring grandeur, the film has very little to offer to the audiences by way of entertainment.
Some also complained that the movie was a bit long - 200 minutes - especially for youngsters and for what is essentially history retold.