He is to perfect manners born. Cordial and cool, he could have been a don at the Oxford University, lecturing on history or geography, or both. A Mughal emperor has aroused his interest and he has also been among the first to shoot in the Maharashtra hinterlands, for Swades.
Slick and street-smart he is not. Ashutosh Gowariker’s oeuvre has demonstrated that he would rather narrate a story in a leisurely, detailed style than jump cut, swish pan or opt for ellipses. This is his prime strength, and paradoxically, his Achilles heel. If it’s a film by Ashu (the filmbiz nickame for him), be ready for a lengthy residence in the auditorium. Indeed, if the ...view middle of the document...
Visually Ashustosh Gowariker may lack the camera agility of an Anurag Basu, the jolting editing chops of Anurag Kashyap, and even the lighting schemes of the late Mukul Anand. Still, his content overrides the lack of technical zowie, a rare case of substance scoring over style. Coming to Jodhaa Akbar, oddly enough its underlying text was far more important than the surficial jiggery-pokery
Gowariker had lost an opportunity to achieve an epic on the scale of Mughal-e-Azam. The film’s interminable length was a downer. So were clumsily directed scenes like the combat with an unruly elephant. Yet at least an attempt had been made to go back to a bygone century to look at a form of sovereign governance. With all its elephantine flaws, Jodhaa Akbar was an honorable failure.
Of Ashu’s initial phase as an actor, it was just about passable. He was impressive as a student in revolt (Holi) but you might have to scratch your head to recall his acts in the TV serial Kachhi Dhoop or the films Chamatkar, Naam, Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro and Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa. Also his kick-off films Pehla Nasha and (1993) and Baazi (1995), as a director, are perfect for permanent memory loss.
The 1993 movie, Pehla Nasha (inspired by Brian De Palma's Hollywood movie, Body Double) marked Gowariker's directorial debut. It was a failure at the box office. His second movie, Baazi (1995), starring Aamir Khan, was a "below average" grosser at the box office. Gowariker also acted in a weekly horror show, "Woh", on Zee TV, which was critically acclaimed
In 2001, Gowariker directed the period epic movie, Lagaan, produced by and starring Aamir Khan. Lagaan, the story of a cricket match between British officers and Indian villagers in the late 19th century, was released to great critical acclaim at home and abroad. In India, it won the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment, an award shared between Gowariker and Khan. Abroad, the film won a number of awards at international film festivals and was nominated an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (see Awards and nominations for Lagaan). It ranked third among 2001's Indian movies in terms of gross revenue.
In 2004, Gowariker directed Swades, starring Shahrukh Khan. Swades also received high critical acclaim. It was popular overseas, but it did not do well at the box office in India.
Historical love epic "Jodhaa Akbar" swept the 10th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards in Macau, China, on 15 June 2009 taking home trophies for best picture, best director and best actor.
"Aamir Khan and I were supposed to do a Hollywood film together in the wake of Lagaan, but both of us are not the kind to strategise proposals. Cinema has to come from the heart. It has to move to you, matter to you; to an extent that it haunts and hunts you, like Swades did for me to plunge headlong. I have an agent in Los Angeles and he is upset because he has sent me so many proposals over the years and I have...