Monday, August 15, 2016

Mohenjo Daro 

Pre-Historic Wreck

No matter what you think of Ashutosh Gowarikar’s films, at least he was original. Why then would he want to stake his reputation and spend a small fortune to make a wannabe Baahubali?

He sets his Mohenjo Daro in 2016 BC, in the famous seat of the Indus Valley Civilisation, and ignores even the slightest geographical or historical authenticity; worse, he lifts so many plot points from the Southern costume blockbuster.

Like the hero of Baahubali, Sarman (Hrithik Roshan) has dreams of Mohenjo Daro, and the reason is pretty much the same, but let there be no spoiler. The nephew of an indigo farmer, he insists on going to Mohenjo Daro against his uncle’s wishes and finally has his way. The city is magnificent (full marks to set design), and a trading hub, where people from all over the world come by to do business, sing and dance in fancy dress.

Sarman falls in love at first sight, with Chani (Pooja Hedge), the extravagantly gowned, bejewelled and hatted daughter of the priest. The man who rules the place with ruthless cruelty is Maham (Kabir Bedi) whose nasty son Munja (Arunoday Singh) runs wild in the marketplace. Everybody wears strange costumes, hairstyles and headgear, and speak a formal Sanskritised Hindi.

Chani is engaged to Munja, so the story moves along predictable lines—song, dance, secret meetings, snarling villain. Sarman also instigates a farmer’s revolt against taxes raised by Maham (unfortunately, no cricket!)  Since he is so gym-toned and muscled, Sarman is made to engage in a fight with two massive cannibals in a Roman-style arena. (He has had some experience battling a flying crocodile in the opening sequence.)

The film moves at a stodgy pace, has nothing new to offer and does not even have a comic-book cheekiness to it—it’s just dull and soporifically boring. It’s such a sad waste of talent and resources. Hrithik Roshan is usually so enthusiastic, but the film’s absurdity seems to have affected him too. Imagine being made to dance with a horn on your head! Can’t believe the indifferent music is by AR Rahman.


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