Movie review: Mohenjo Daro-
by Hiba Usmani.
There is a certain technique that needs to be required in order to enjoy watching Indian films: one needs to leave his or her disbelief at the door. Mohenjo Daro, in its fairy-tale-like world, well unrooted from reality, the same technique needs to be applied.
Full of historical inaccuracies and visually similar to Game of Thrones, Mohenjo Daro is held together solely by its visual effects and the controlled performance of Hrithik Roshan.
Sarman (Hrithik Roshan) is introduced to us through a thoroughly exciting image of his rippling muscles as he fights and ultimately defeats a man-eating gator with the ‘help’ of his community members. Undoubtedly tired from this heroic endeavour, Sarman goes to sleep, only to dream about a strange animal (a one-horned deer? A unicorn) present in the mysterious city of Mohenjo Daro.
Against his uncle’s wishes, Sarman travels to the city where he lays his eyes upon Chaani (Pooja Hegde) and the two fall in love; however, Chaani is promised to marry Maham’s (Kabir Bedi) son, Munja (Arunoday Singh).
Unsurprisingly, these two are the cruel rulers of the city and Sarman takes it upon himself to save Chaani, the community, and the city from the duos villainous grasp.
If one ignores the historical inaccuracies, the clichés in the storyline, and the uselessness of some characters, then Mohenjo Daro is not the worst movie to set eyes upon. The movie drags on for around 30 minutes too long with there being far too many climatic scenes; however, the second half is a pleasant watch with many details falling into place.
The movie best benefits from its VFX work which bring a new imagery into the scenes it is used in. In one climatic scene in particular, the special effects give off the vibe of a Hollywood classic film. While the movie contains an unfortunate amount of historical inaccuracies, it does manage to be imaginative and keep the audience in their seats, albeit uncomfortably, for the entire 150 minutes running time.
The movie further benefits from a good cast. Even if the other actors were useless, Hritihik would still have managed to keep the film together. The veteran actor, known for his works in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Krishh, gives a controlled performance where he portrays the many aspects of Sarman’s simplicity, strength, and passion with supposed ease.
Kabir and Arunoday manage to hold themselves perfectly fine, taking their roles as villains very seriously and delivering believably cruel performances. The weakness in the casting lies in Pooja, although that may not be entirely her fault. Chaani is badly written as a one-dimensional character that fails to come out as a strong heroine. The constant flashes to her legs and her otherwise expressionless face put the audience off and pull them out of the transforming cinematic experience they would have been having otherwise.
It looks like director Ashutosh Gowariker was out of his elements with this film, which is strange considering the director’s special touch with period films (Jodhaa Akbar). Nevertheless, his hard work and effort is seen through his attempt to develop a strong script and his choice of actors.
Music composer A.R. Rehman deserves yet another ovation for his work in this film: the soundtrack and background score are enough to convince one to watch the film,
Lacking in the grand moments and bogged down by too many scenes, Mohenjo Daro is a good attempt to entertain the audience. Which it will, assuming audiences adopt the technique mentioned above.