Jodhaa Akbar is an epic film on every scale, from its cast, its director, its costumes and of course the incredible battle and action scenes in the film. The cast, including stars Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan had to go through intensive training to prepare to portray their roles. They not only had to learn sword fighting but also riding horses and in Hrithik’s case fighting an elephant. If that was not enough they had to make it look like it was natural. The man in charge of the action sequences was stunt director Ravi Dewan and he recently talked about the massive undertaking that was Jodhaa Akbar.
Dewan said, “I was training about 15 to 17 actors in Jodhaa Akbar for these fight sequences. I had to teach Hrithik, Ash, Sonu Sood and the main villain Nikitin Dheer both horse riding and sword-fighting. And each of these action sequences took about a month and a half to complete. Firstly I had to train them in horse riding for which we had to book the Mahalaxmi Race Course for about a month. It was a lot of effort but in the end I am sure it will be worth it.”
Then he had to train them for the sword fighting sequences, “The training for sword-fighting took place at Mehboob studios and we shot for about 45 days at a stretch. Both actors were very professional about learning sword-fighting.” One particular scene shows the shows Jodhaa and Akbar sword fighting each other, “There is a fight scene between Hrithik and Aishwarya. But that was a romantic, masti fight, where they tease each other. That has come out really well.”
About working with Hrithik for the first time Dewan said, “Yes, after being around for so many years I worked with Hrithik for the first time. I have worked with the best of the lot right from Raj Kumar to all the Khans. And let me tell you that training Hrithik wasn’t too much of a labour for me. He never threw any tantrums and the same was with Aishwarya as well.”
Dewan said that in preparation for the filming they had a storyboard for each scene and then, “Me and my assistant rehearsed every fight first. Then after preparing everything on the sets we shot the entire sequence on location. After which we sat down and edited those shots and included only those that were necessary. And we worked in tandem with the costume designer, art director and everyone else on the sets of the film. Everything on the sets was detailed.”
For the scene with Hrithik fighting an elephant, it took director Ashutosh Gowariker a lot of convincing to get Dewan to agree to do the scene. Dewan explains, “The most difficult stunt was taming the elephants. When Ashutosh told me about this particular scene, I refused immediately. Elephants are very difficult to tame. In the scene, the elephant is supposed to be wild and angry, and Hrithik has to tame it and finally, sit on it. Hrithik would feed the elephant bananas and jaggery before and after the shoot.” He also called the elephant Sweety.
Dewan revealed that for the climatic massive battle scene, “I took 250 stuntmen to Karjat and Rajashthan. Plus, we had 5,000 villagers. The battle sequences were quite big, and it took a lot of time. We would start preparing for the scene at 3am every morning, and would be ready for the first shot only by 7am.” The shoot for that scene alone took 20 to 30 days and though massive, there was a lot of standing around for the 5,000 villagers since the main fight is between… well I won’t give that away you will find out in a week!
As you probably know Jodhaa Akbar releases on February 15th and we will have many more stories leading up to the films premiere so be sure to check back here every day!
Of course, one of our movie critics plans to see Jodhaa Akbar on the day it releases so be sure to watch this space to read his review!