Mumbai, March 19 (IANS) Is it the end of the road for long films? Although director Ashutosh Gowariker refused to shorten his 'Jodhaa Akbar', the exhibitors in the smaller centres have taken matters into their own hands.
The magnum opus that weaves its story around the romance between Mughal emperor Jalaluddin Akbar and Rajput princess Jodha Bai is 3 hours 20 minutes long.
Vital sequences amounting to a good 30 minutes of playing time, including Hrithik Roshan's elephant fight and Aishwarya Rai's culinary conflict with Ila Arun, have been edited out from the film in Patna.
According to sources, this has been done to accommodate the mandatory four shows that had been denied in the film to start with. However, 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 'Jodhaa Akbar'. I don't think any exhibitor has the right to act above the creative rights of a film's director and producer,' the distributor said.
'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 the film's fate,' the distributor added.
Siddharth Roy Kapoor, marketing and distribution head of UTV Motion Pictures, is unfazed by the extra-constitutional editing of their premium product.
'It's hard to monitor what happens at the smaller centres. But we're not the least daunted. We at the UTV are certainly not going to dictate a film's length to a director just to fit into the screening timings. Ashutosh Gowariker is making another film for UTV and he's welcome to make it as long or short as he wants to,' Kapoor said.
Decades ago, scenes and footage were added to a film as it progressed towards that now-fugitive goal of a silver jubilee. But today's average viewer has no patience to watch a film that exceeds two hours.