The elephant that loved Hrithik Roshan’s cologne

The ‘Jodhaa Akbar’ cast fell in love with the animals on the sets

Mayur Lookhar

Alfred Hitchcock thought “all actors are cattle”.But the challenge on the sets of ‘Jodhaa Akbar’ was to make cattle and assorted animals into actors.

Ashutosh Gowariker’s 2008 period love saga ‘Jodhaa Akbar’saw over 80 elephants, 100 horses and 55 camels facing the camera. The prying eyes of PETA or not, kindness and care for these animals was a selfish concern because that was the only way to get them to perform. Luckily the cast and crew fell in love with their quadruped costars.

Hrithik Roshan developed a bond with few stallions and a pachyderm. Chandni, one of his horses, was so smitten by the camera that she would take off the moment she heard the word action, even for scenes which required her to stay put. So the crew came up with other words for ‘action’. Interestingly, the horse used by Hrithik Roshan was called Superman.

One of the most memorable scenes from ‘Jodhaa Akbar’ is about Akbar (Hrithik Roshan) taming an unruly elephant. Now, there’s no way that Hrithik Roshan could have pulled off that scene without any connect with the animal.

Whenever the roster would be free, Hrithik Roshan would go down to Karjat, just to spend time with the elephant. Bunches of bananas helped the growing friendship. The actor fondly called the elephant “sweety pie”, while the gentle beast recognised Hrithik Roshan’s voice and his cologne.

Hrithik Roshan wasn’t alone in forging bonds with the four-legged cast. Late actor Rajesh Vivek, who played Chugtai Khan, used to recite poetry to his horse while preparing scenes.