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Serious and Stodgy

Sutanu Bhattacharyya |

Director: Ashutosh Gowariker

Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Pooja Hegde, Kabir Bedi, Arunoday Singh

Mohenjo Daro

Kabir Bedi and Rakesh Roshan had come together for Khoon Bhari Maang in 1988. Now, almost three decades later, the same ensemble cast with junior Roshan in place of Rakesh Roshan teamed up for a motion picture experience so serious and stodgy that you would be far more entertained inside the reptile’s stomach. 

Mohenjo Daro is a 2016 Indian epic adventure-romance film written and directed by Ashutosh Gowariker. It is a cinematic representation of the Indus Valley Civilisation and its city, Mohenjo-daro.

If you go looking for history in the film set in 2016 BC, you might just find little specks of it here and there. In the set, perhaps the way it had been planned and laid or may be in the barter system in operation amongst the traders.

Set in 2016 BC at the height of Indus Valley Civilisation, the story follows a boy Sarman (Roshan) who travels to the city of Mohenjo Daro and falls in love with a high-status woman (Pooja Hegde), who challenges the elite class of the city ruled by an evil man, and fights against odds to save their civilisation. Gowariker took over three years to research and develop the script, working closely with archaeologists to ensure authenticity in the representation of his fictional story.

The righteous Sarman had an early tiff with the evil son of the cruel ruler. He decides to go back to his town but then he sees a beautiful girl. So he decides to stay back to win the girl and thus has to fight with the father-son duo.

The only redeeming scene in the film comes in the second half in a very gladiator-styled death match where Hrithik goes up against two humongous cannibal warriors.

The action is nicely crafted. Kabir Bedi and Arunoday reprise Subhash Ghai villains of the 80’s and 90’s where every emotion is expressed with extreme exaggeration. Pooja Hegde, who plays Chaani, the priest’s daughter, disappoints a lot.

She fails to express her emotions through her acting and sadly ends up being as wooden as the planks used in the sets around her. Hrithik Roshan too fails to keep up to the expectation of the viewers. He remains in a sense of wonderment in the film.

Much of what’s engaging in Mohenjo Daro is the imagining the civilisation in its heyday, taking images (the bronze dancing girl, terracotta pieces, metal insignias, the upper city and lower city, the great bath) and notations from history book and archaeological findings do fill in the blanks.

All-in-all, a disappointing film with historical and geographical errors: River Ganges flowing through the banks of Mohenjo Daro. Really?

Class X, Patha Bhavan High School