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Mohenjo Daro  : Excavation Without Excitement
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Friday, August 12, 2016
Ashutosh Gowariker
Hrithik Roshan, Pooja Hegde

Writer-director Ashutosh Gowariker creates a strange pre-historic world that doesn’t make a heart-connect on any level. Speaking a language that’s neither comprehensible nor consistent, Gowariker’s fantasy land is more brutal than beautiful and should’ve stayed buried.


Besides the time period, the story Gowariker chooses to tell is also ancient. Hero Sarman is drawn like Bahubali to a land forbidden to him. Once he steps in, he finds Chaani, the love of his life and discovers that wicked ruler Maham is the repository of villainy. Maham stands between him and Chaani. By a stroke of creative genius, Gowariker reveals that Maham had also ousted and killed Sarman’s father who was the original Pradhan of Mohenjo Daro. It now becomes a fight to the finish for Sarman to win his woman and avenge his father’s death. One would like to ask Ashutosh why he had to excavate such a moth-eaten tale. Some of the crucial scenes are also museum pieces. Like the hero taming wild horses to save the heroine. The hero saying, palat, palat, she’ll turn and look at me. 


Tepidly, there is a series of unexciting climaxes. Sarman fighting for his life in an arena with two barbaric man mountains. Sarman fighting Maham’s huge son Moonja. Sarman fighting Maham’s goons who’re robbing the land of its wealth. And Sarman leading Mohenjo Daro in its fight for survival with nature’s fury unleashed burying the whole land under water.


In the absolute final climax, Sarman is tossed around in turbulent flood waters with the whole population of Mohenjo Daro watching. He has to swim or drown. Sarman swims, the film continues to drown.


Cinematography by Muraleedharan is visually professional. AR Rahman comes up with only Tu hai, the sole melodious tune in the film.   


Kabir Bedi playing main villain Maham has a strange way of breaking up his lines into short groups of staccato words. As son Moonja, Arunoday Singh continues to be all brawn and limited acting. New find Pooja Hegde is so lacking in fire, she’s like a sparkler that’s stayed out in the rain.


Finally, Hrithik Roshan as Sarman is so sincere you wonder why he makes such ineffectual choices. His last release was the storyless Bang Bang two years ago. Mohenjo Daro is another where Hrithik’s handsome good looks and hard work go down the Indus waters.


For a film that’s overlong and doesn’t entice you into a new old world, Mohenjo Daro gets a 2* rating.    


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan
Senior Journalist & Author


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