By: Keyur Seta
The title Mohenjo Daro gives an indication of the film to be an ancient historical saga. However, even before the interval point, you realize that the name is misleading. But having said this, the Ashutosh Gowariker film has few things that make it an average fare, more so for the lovers of formulaic Hindi films.
Story (without spoilers): The story takes place in 2016 BC. Sarman (Hrithik Roshan) is a brave and adventurous farmer living in the northwest region of India with his aunt and uncle. He is eager to visit the land beyond the mountain – the city of Mohenjo Daro. But he is never allowed by his aunt and uncle due to some reason. They don’t succeed in stopping him much though and hesitantly allow him to visit the place to sell their produce.
Sarman is mesmerized by Mohenjo Daro. But he gets a strange déjà vu feeling. He soon realizes the dark underbelly of the city ruled by the evil Mahaam (Kabir Bedi). Sarman feels like returning but his liking towards a young girl, Chaani (Pooja Hegde) and his gut feeling ask him to stay back.
– The fast screenplay doesn’t give you much time to think much. The story is narrated quite smartly.
– For the first time, Govariker has tried such raw fight scenes and has managed to pull them off pretty well. He is ably supported by the stunt choreographer. The fight scene in the second half deserves special mention for the seeti-bajao effect it produces.
– The hugely difficult task of recreating a period as old as this one is carried out with some degree of conviction, although few sets don’t suit the era at all.
– The camerawork falls in the good category while the background score succeeds in producing the effect.
– The justification for using Hindi as the language and the manner of justifying it is intelligently done.
– The film is relevant in today’s era as it touches topics like power hunger, hypocrite leaders of state, corruption, democracy, free speech and people power.
– Mohenjo Daro rides high on Hrithik Roshan’s shoulders and he delivers a convincing act. He keeps the film alive. Manish Chaudhary, Naina Trivedi (Chaani’s friend), Suhasini Mulay, Narendra Jha, Sharad Kelkar and few others offer good support. Kabir Bedi is decent as the bad guy while Arunoday Singh, as his son, is average.
– The biggest problem with Mohenjo Daro is the title. The film is like a typical cliché-ridden Hindi potboiler with hardly any relevance to that era. In other words, the story could have taken place anywhere and in any time zone.
– The climax tries justifying the title and the scenes are overwhelming too. However, the idea turns out to be silly.
– The events in the second half are too convenient.
– The basic plot is a mixture of Baahubali and Agneepath.
– Quite a few times the behavior of the characters is illogical and silly.
– A R Rahman’s music produces a couple of hummable tracks but that’s it.
– Pooja Hegde is a disappointment as she lacks acting skills. Her weird attire makes it worse.
Overall: Mohenjo Daro can be seen once if you enjoy Bollywood masala films. It has some chance of earning decent in the first weekend at the box-office. But the budget of over Rs 100 crore and tough competition from Rustom will ensure it faces huge losses.
Rating: * * ½
Director: Ashutosh Gowariker
Producers: UTV Motion Pictures and AGPPL
Writers: Ashutosh Gowariker
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Kabir Bedi, Pooja Hegde, Arunoday Singh, Manish Chaudhary, Naina Trivedi
Music: A R Rahman
Genre: Period drama
Runtime: 155 minutes