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Mohenjo Daro

Hrithik Roshan, Pooja Hegde
Siddharth |Roy Kapur, Sunita Gowariker
Ashutosh Gowariker
Ashutosh Gowariker
Adventure Romance
2016-08-12
Hindi
3/5
Take the plot of a typical potboiler of the 80s, where a prince/heir who is unaware of his true identity is back to claim his throne and save his subjects from the injustice of the cruel-greedy ruler, who obviously has acquired his current status of power through deceit. And, of course, not to forget the pretty princess who is all set to get married to a bad guy, usually the son of the evil ruler.

Now set them all in an era that dates back to 2016 BC, change the character graphs here and there, add some fancy visual effects, quirky costumes and voila, there you have the plot of the epic adventure romantic film — Mohenjo Daro.

Yes, more or less, Ashutosh Gowarikar’s magnum opus, which was apparently in the scripting stage for three years is all about that and a li’l bit more.
 
Sarman (Hrithik Roshan), is an indigo farmer who is desperate to visit the city of Mohenjo Daro for trade, but his uncle and aunt are not too happy with the idea. However, they finally succumb to his wishes and send him off with a bronze coin that has an embellished one-horned animal, which he is only supposed to use when in trouble. By the way, Sarman also keeps seeing a similar one-horned animal in his dream. The strange animal (Read bad CG) keeps popping up on the screen couple of times for no rhyme or reason. No points for joining the dots here that Sarman has a far deeper connect with Mohenjo Daro, which pulls him towards this majestic city.

On reaching Mohenjo, he spots the beautiful Chaani and instantly falls head-over-heels in love with her. The feeling is soon reciprocated when he saves Chaani in true heroic style from some stray horses. Simultaneously it is also established that Mohnejo is ruled by Maham’s dirty politics (Kabir Bedi) and Chaani is betrothed to Moonja (Arunoday Singh), Maham’s arrogant son. Maham is plotting a revenge against the neighbouring city Harappa and has been secretly exchanging gold for bronze weapons from foreign traders, and completely disregarding the well-being of the people residing in Mohenjo. He has even built a dam on the Sindhu river to alter the natural flow of the river so that he can easily dig out the gold.
 
What ensues is pretty much clichéd — victory of good over the evil. Boy gets girl blah blah…
 
While not much is still known about that era one can’t really accuse Ashutosh about the use of language and costumes. In fact, he does transport you into a different era with his imagery and production designs. Yes, it would have been a bit more believable had he stayed away from printed fabrics. Another aspect of the film that was much debated was the language. And it’s quite commendable how the director starts with an unknown language and shows its switch to Hindi, there by silencing all those who voiced their displeasure about the usage of Hindi language in the film.
 
However, despite the many cinematic liberties, Mohenjo Daro falters, especially because of its weak screenplay and poor computer graphics. A slightly more engaging, crisper and novel plot set in that time period would have been appreciated.
 
What does stand out in the film is the director’s genuine attempt to embed a strong message – ‘Don’t mess with nature. It will get back to you.’
 
That apart, the movie has very little to offer. Of course, there is this gorgeous hunk called Hrithik Roshan, who is not only looking divine in his rugged-tanned look but also delivers an honest performance. Pooja Hegde who marks her Bollywood debut with this film is decent. Arunoday Singh is impressive and though Kabir Bedi seems like a good cast of Maham, one wishes his voice carried a little more power.  
Mohenjo Daro did try hard to be extraordinary but ended up being a very plain and ordinary movie.

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