Marking 10 years since the release of Jodhaa Akbar, director Ashutosh Gowariker shared an unreleased poster of his historical drama on Thursday. Gowarikar thanked viewers for giving the film “so much love” in the tweet, asserting that the film appealed not only to Indian audiences but to cinephiles across the globe. Jodhaa Akbar was released on February 15, 2008.
Starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai, Jodhaa Akbar was a fictionalised account of the love story between Mughal Emperor Akbar and Rajput princess Jodhabai. The new poster shared by Gowarikar shows Rai’s Jodhaa Bai locked in a passionate embrace with Roshan’s Akbar.
The film had attracted fierce protests from Rajput groups ahead of its release in 2008, which is possibly why the poster had been kept under wraps. Dissenting outfits alleged that the film was a “blatant distortion of history” and that the depiction of Jodha Bai (Rai) as Mughal Emperor Jalaluddin Akbar’s (Roshan) wife was factually incorrect. They also asserted that Jodha Bai was not the daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amber, as shown in the movie, but the child of Motaraja Udai Singh of Marwar. However, the filmmakers had insisted that there were no distortions in Jodhaa Akbar as it had been made after consultation with history experts.
One of the groups leading the protest was the Rajput Karni Sena, which was also at the forefront of the recent violent and long-drawn agitation against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat. Before Jodhaa Akbar’s release, some members of the Karni Sena had reportedly sent letters written in blood in protest to theatre owners in Rajasthan.
Bhansali’s epic, inspired by the legendary tale of Rajput Queen Padmavati, was released on January 26 after a delay of close to two months and on the back of vicious attacks, death threats to its cast and vandalism.