Early on during the shooting of Jodhaa Akbar, I told Hrithik (Roshan) and Aishwarya (Rai Bachchan) that they don't have to do anything in the film," says Ashutosh Gowarikar with a chuckle. "I told them: You are the reincarnation of Akbar and Jodha."
Though the director signed Hrithik and Aishwarya over two years ago for his historical opus Jodhaa Akbar, the filmmaker says they appeared in his mind the moment actor Haidar Ali narrated the story to him over five years ago.
"And they accepted the film spontaneously," he continues. "To Aishwarya, I just had to say Jodhaa and she was ready to come aboard."
And it didn't take the filmmaker too long to convince Hrithik either.
"He, too, was ready for this film in no time," Gowariker says with a gentle laugh. "I told him: 16th century, the Mughals and Akbar."
Text: Arthur J Pais in New York
Also read: The inspiration behind Jodhaa Akbar