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Jodhaa Akbar chopped in Patna

Still from Jodhaa Akbar
Is it the end of the road for long films? The producers UTV and the director Ashutosh Gowarikar may have thought otherwise. But the exhibitors of Jodhaa Akbar (JA) in the smaller centers have taken matters in their own hands.

Vital sequences amounting to a good 30 minutes of playing time, including Hrithik Roshan's elephant fight and Aishwarya's culinary conflict with Ila Arun, have been edited from Jodhaa Akbar in Patna. According to sources this has been done to accommodate the mandatory 4-shows which had been denied the film to start with.

But the film's Bihar distributor is none too pleased with the local exhibitor's editorial skills. "I was myself shocked to see some of the key scenes gone from JA. I don't think any exhibitor has the right to act above the creative rights of a film's director and producer. Earlier a good 45-60 minutes were forced out of J.P. Dutta'a LOC when the director had categorically instructed exhibitors not to cut his film. If you don't wish to run a long film, please don't screen the film. But please don't act God over a film's fate," says the distributor.

UTV's Siddharth Roy-Kapoor is unfazed by the extra-constitutional editing of their premium product. "It's hard to monitor what happens in the smaller centers. But we're not the least daunted. We at UTV are certainly not going to dictate a film's length to a director just to fit into the screening timings. Ashutosh Gowarikar is making another film for UTV. And he's welcome to make it as long or short as he wants to."

One thing is for sure. While earlier scenes and footage were added to a film as it progressed towards that now-fugitive goal of a silver jubilee, today's average viewer has no patience to watch a film that exceeds 2 hours.

Aishwarya with Hrithik

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