Mohenjo Daro review: Even gibberish and unicorns can’t cure this Lagaan hangover
Director: Ashutosh Gowarikar
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Pooja Hegde, Kabir Bedi, Arunoday Singh, Suhasini Mulay
When Mohenjo Daro’s trailer came out, it got historians laughing with extravagant sets and over-the-top sequences.
It turns out the movie – which stars Hrithik Roshan and Pooja Hegde – is no better. The film that narrates the story of the Indus Valley civilization appears to be a mish-mash of director Ashutosh Gowarikar’s previous movies.
It has the grandeur of his 2008 epic Jodhaa Akbar, the sincerity from his Oscar-nominated 2001 movie Lagaan and the lack of any substance from his forgettable 2010 flick Khelein Hum Jeee Jaan Sey.
Set in 2016 BC, Mohenjo Daro is the story of an indigo farmer Sarman (Hrithik) who goes to the market place in Mohenjo Daro, finds his love and chances upon certain atrocities that he decides to fight against.
Except for the distorted Hindi and weird headgear, writer-director Ashutosh offers little for the viewer who wants to watch a period drama - a peek into the ancient civilization. Mohenjo Daro looks like a hangover of a bad cocktail - one that mixed Lagaan and Jodhaa Akbar.
Much like Raghubir Yadav’s Bhura (Lagaan) and Makrand Deshpande’s Fakir (Swades, 2004) - Mohenjo Daro has Piyush Mishra’s Jakheera. Jakheera guides Sarman, tells the society the truth everyone knows but wouldn’t dare say and also assures Sarman that he is on the right path.
There are fleeting references to issues like child marriage but the film doesn’t stop to ponder over these. And that is one of the biggest flaws of Mohenjo Daro - it fails to give enough time to important things - like delving deep into main characters or giving a better view of the culture and society they supposedly live in.
Hrithik’s introduction is all about his abs, and of course, his great fighting skills. The sequence is also one of the least logical ones. Hrithik’s innovative ways to kill a crocodile aren’t something we are interested in. His flexibility and dancing skills, however, are things that would capture our attention.
Hrithik’s prowess is displayed not just in the songs but also fight sequences. The fight sequence in the climax flaunts his flexibility and swiftness like never before and those fifteen minutes are a treat.
While Arunoday Singh and Kabir Bedi are scary as villains, Pooja Hegde has little opportunity to showcase her skills.
She is ‘Sindhu Ma Ka Vardaan’, whose decision shall change the fate of the city but also the one who doesn’t take a single decision but leaves everything in the hands of either a cruel ruler or a good-hearted visitor. This discrepancy makes us wonder about what her character is up to.
Made on an estimated budget of Rs 115 crore, the film has a grand canvas. The over-whelming long shots and beautiful close-ups are something to look forward to. The climax sequence is especially breathtaking.
Watch the film if Hrithik’s physique, dancing skills and flexibility are enough to attract you but you can totally avoid it if a grandeur does not make up for the lack of substance, facts and logic.