Ash & Hrithik have no rivalry
Troubled and tired of all the controversies surrounding the release of Jodha-Akbar, Ashutosh Gowariker finally speaks from his bed where he’s recovering from a back problem.
Is it true that a company dumped the music of Jodha-Akbar?
It’s true that we were looking at an association with Big Music. But we didn’t agree on certain rights issue for the music….so we parted.
UTV Music, a label that Ronnie Screwvala wanted to start later during the year, is being launched in a hurry to release our Jodha-Akbar music. We”re having the music release function on the 9 Jan. An on 15 the music is in the stores.
The Maharani of Jaipur Rani Padmini, who’s a direct descendent of Jodhabai, and her husband are flying down to release the music.
Is it true you”re cutting two of the songs?
No. There”re only five songs recorded for Jodha-Akbar. And we”ve retained all of them. I treasure every song that I record and wouldn’t dream of cutting them for length.
Even if we had nine songs only two would wind their way into the charts.Though we”ve five songs I”ve worked on making each hummable.
How do you think the younger generation would react to the music?
The response to the first two songs has been surprisingly positive. People were expecting archaic songs. But they like the modern adaptation of the 16th century sounds.
The songs were never made to blare at pubs. Never targeted at the youngsters?
Why do you say that? When Pyar kiya to darna kya was created it was youngsters who were throwing coins on the screen. When Dev Saab sang Khoya Khoya chand it was the young who swooned.
And when Shammi Kapoor said Yahooo it was the young who responded. I”d say the film comes first. Whatever emerges from it should be suitably marketed.
The music of Jodha-Akbar can’t be Bhangra and Hip-hop. Just because the film has Aishwarya please don’t expect an introductory song and dance. It’s not a star vehicle. It’s about the characters.I’m showcasing Jodha and Akbar.
How will you be there?
I have to be there. It’s a big function. And I have to manage in spite of a slipped-disc situation. I’m just grateful it didn’t happen during the shooting. Imagine me being out of circulation on location in Rajasthan.
Have you strained or injured yourself?
No I strained my back while lifting a heavy bag.
Did the bag contain Hrithik?
(laughs) Well Hrithik, Aishwarya and I have certainly been carrying an awesome burden on our shoulders. I”d like to compare my struggle to release Jodha-Akbar to a video game where you play the first level very easily. As you go to other levels the game gets complicated.
What’s the truth about Hrithik and Aishwarya not doing the publicity for Jodha-Akbar?
Not true at all. We now have a publicity plan for them. It had to be aligned to the music and film release.
And what about these stories of how the two couldn’t get along?
Absolutely untrue! I don’t know how and why this is being said. Aishwarya and Hrithik get along really well. Even at the wrap-party they were fine with each other.
There was no rivalry between them. Aishwarya is the most professional actress I”ve worked with. She never bought any guests on sets, or her cellphone for that matter.
There were stories about how she was asking a spotboy for chai while Hrithik was rehearsing. Yeh sab bachkani baatein hai.
Did Abhishek ever drop in?
Only when he was shooting in Karjat nextdoor for that song in Ra Gopal Varma’s Aag. Even then he”d drop in before the shooting started, have chai and leave.
I just want to say both Hrithik and Aishwarya were extremely dedicated professional and sensible. They knew exactly what they had to do. It wasn’t as if they were shocked by getting into a period piece.
Specially after Dhoom 2 it must have been tough for them to get into the Moghul era.
Yes, but even for Dhoom 2 they had to assume an alien body language and personality. In Jodha-Akbar too they”ve worked to create a new persona. That couldn’t have happened if they weren’t focused.
Did you miss Aamir Khan in Jodha-Akbar?
They were showing our old film Baazi the other day…I’m dying to see Taare Zameen Par. He came to visit me twice during my confinement. But I can’t sit up for long hours.
When is Jodha-Akbar releasing?
We were very keen on Jan 25. But because of my back problem I was told to be in bed for 21 days. I couldn’t go to Chennai for the background score. A R Rahman had to travel down to Mumbai. That delayed things quite a bit.
So my cabin in office was being used to prepare the background score. That was most inconvenient. Now we”re coming on Feb 15. At the moment that’s the date.
Valentine’s Week for co-stars who aren’t the least attached to one another?
(laughs) That sounds like a good idea for an intensely romantic film. So far we”ve been looking at festival weeks to release Jodha-Akbar…Eid, then Independence Day…Now any Friday when Jodha-Akbar releases is celebration week.
It’s been a tough film for you.
I wouldn’t say so. The process of filming Jodha-Akbar has been really enjoyable. I”ve no issues except the back problem. “It’s not going to be postponed any more.” That’s my Hanuman Chalisa these days.