Jodhaa Akbar TV review: Rajat Tokas rules!

The new show is a love story about a political marriage of convenience between the Mughal emperor Akbar and the Rajput princess, Jodha

The story of Jodha and Akbar is not new to anyone who has watched Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Jodha Akbar starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, or those in tune with Indian history. Their love story is considered to be an epic that changed the dynamics of the Mughal empire and the course of Indian history.

But Zee TV’s Jodhaa Akbar claims to be purely fictional and has very little to do with facts. The queen of soaps insists that the period drama is 80 percent fact and 20 percent folklore. Ekta Kapoor’s bold attempt to make a historical show like this may have been thought to be foolish at first, but after watching the daily soap, we must say it is impressive.

The story begins with Jalaluddin Mohammad successfully waging war to expand the Mughal empire. Under the guidance of Bairam Khan – the general of the Mughal army – Jalal earns the reputation of being a ruthless and heartless conqueror. Jalal’s mother Hamida Banu Begum believes that her son is overly influenced by Bairam and Maham Anga – Jalal’s foster mother. Even some of the political decisions he takes are contorted and wrongly presented, she thinks.

However, Jalal is loyal to Bairam as well as to Maham Anga and doesn’t believe in anything that anyone has to say against them. The only exception to this stand is his first and favourite wife, Ruqaiya Sultan Begum. But things are going to change soon, fate dictates. Jalal’s next political aim is to conquer the Rajput dynasties – top on the list is the kingdom of Amer.

But even before he gets to Amer, he hears stories about princess Jodha and her beauty. Intrigued by all the talk, he decides to check her out for himself. The Mughal emperor is soon besotted by Jodha’s beauty, brains and bravery. He makes up his mind to make her a part of his harem by any which way possible.

We all know the story of Jodha Akbar, but Ms Kapoor attempts to give it a different spin – which we like. The first scene of the soap shows the souls of Akbar and Jodha in present times, standing near their joint grave, romancing. Now that was indeed novel.

We liked the war sequences; in fact, some worked better than those shown in the movie. The sets that have been recreated to give the feel of the Mughal and Rajput dynasties looked commendably impressive. However, the costumes and jewellery used in the show could have had more finesse to look grander.

While the story is interesting, the dialogues are a major letdown. The words used don’t really give the 16th century feel. Even the songs in the show seem quite modern; however, we like the background score used whenever Akbar thinks of Jodha.

Rajat Tokas, who played the role of Prithviraj Chauhan, manages to nail the character of Akbar to a T. His expressions and body language make you fall in love with the character and hate him too. Paridhi Sharma as Jodha lacks the stance of a queen. She doesn’t come across as the ultimate embodiment of beauty either. However, giving her the benefit of the doubt, we believe Rajat and Paridhi will have a good chemistry, when it happens.

Rumour is that Smilie Surie is only doing a guest appearance in the show as Ruqaiya Sultan Begum; frankly, we think that’s a very wise decision. The actor is probably one of worst possible choices for such a pivotal role. Besides having no chemistry with Rajat, Smilie’s dialogue delivery is beyond indigestible.

Ashwini Kalsekar, who plays the sly and manipulative Maham Anga, was a brilliant choice. The actor’s expressions are enough to set the mood of the scene, which we like. Naved Aslam – who was previously seen as a vampire in Pyaar Kii Ye Ek Kahaani – does a fabulous job as the shrewd and conniving Bairam Khan.

All in all, Jodhaa Akbar is definitely a good show, but has a lot of scope for improvement. Rajat is the star of this one. The upcoming romance between Jodha and Akbar will definitely keep the audiences hooked. Are you watching it?