Mohenjo-Daro: An Epic Disappointment
With each passing movie, Ashutosh Gowariker seems to be aiming at the bigger landscape. But it doesn’t necessarily seem to be getting any better. After exploring the Mughal and British eras in his previous outings, this time, Gowariker takes a few strides ahead (or rather behind) to 2016 BC -the ancient civilisation of Mohenjo Daro. However, the disclaimer at the very beginning of the film makes it clear that the filmmakers cannot guarantee the historical accuracy of the film- a matter of worry for many wanting to watch a period drama.
The film starts off with an elaborate exercise to establish the protagonist, Sarman’s (Hrithik Roshan) heroism as he single-handedly fights to save his village from a menacing crocodile in the nearby creek. While he grows Indigo with his uncle in the village, wanderlust catches up with him as he craves to explore the world on the other side of the mountains (reminding us exceedingly of Baahubali). Despite his uncle’s ominous warnings not to, he leaves for Mohenjo Daro to trade in the market there. As he is learning the nuances of city life, he sees Chaani (Pooja Hegde), who is the one chosen for service of their supreme god Sindhu Ma, and has his sights set upon her. Their love story forms the central plot of the film, spanning most of the excruciatingly slow first half.
Many other sub plots are woven into the film, including that of the tyrannical ruler of the city Maham and his spoilt son Moonja (Arunoday Singh). Gowariker also tries to subtly incorporate many political ideas like feudalism, autocracy, uplifting the oppressed and unfair tax regimes into the film, none of which can save the failing narrative. A couple of fights (including one with cannibals), some predictable revelations, and a civil war later, we are left feeling positively eager for all of it to finish. Just when you are about to give up, the film snowballs into a colossal and arguably one of the better climaxes in recent times. Hrithik’s heroism is once again put on show as he rescues the entire population from a massive flood of the Sindhu.
In the climax and throughout, A.R Rahman’s background score binds the film. The folk-ish and earthy tunes are in line with the costumes of the characters that blend into the surroundings. Hrithik tries very hard to keep the film from falling apart, but the formulaic story and the shoddy screenplay ensure that he fails. Pooja Hegde puts up a mediocre performance but could have hoped for a better debut film while Kabir Bedi has to depend entirely on his appearance to seem cruel. Sadly, while the efforts of the filmmakers behind the film are evidently staggering, they don’t seem to have paid off.
Worth a watch, maybe.. But go on for one of those Tuesday discounts.
Contributed by: Gayathri Yadati
A part-time movie buff and a full-time chai addict, Gayathri’s defining quality is her undying faith in the Indian Film and Television Industry. By morning, she trains to be a journalist breaking the jhola bag and khadi kurta stereotype, and by night, dreams of making a path-breaking daily soap someday.