I was always the back bencher in school, especially those History classes, during which I wished I could walk through the back wall to the next room. What I am trying get at is I am in no position to pick on the historical accuracy of “Mohenjo Daro.”
The opening frame follows a vast expanse of rocky landscape, slowly moving the focus to the flexing muscles of our bronzed hero, Sarman (Hrithik Roshan), who, along with his villagemates, must find and kill a man-eating gator.
Later that night, he dreams of a one-horned deer and a place serene with a tune in the background that he finds his aunt humming the next morning. These hints impelled Sarman to set out on a journey to unravel the mysteries that the city of Mohenjodaro hides.
So far, so good. What happens next: boy meets girl, girl walks away, boy pursues girl, girl melts and gives in, boy sneaks into girl’s room, boy and girl kiss. This made me think what’s so unique about this situation that it needed to go Before Christ? Nothing.
Interestingly, that’s not the central plot of the period film, there are sub-plots, which are dotted with every last cliché Bollywood has used thus far. “Mohenjo Daro” cannot decide if it wants to be a love story or an epic adventure film or a revenge saga.
One moment, Sarman is smitten by princess Chaani (Pooja Hegde), the next he rescues villagers from the evil clutches of village head Maham (Kabir Bedi) and his scheming son Munja (Arunoday Singh). A little later he is thrown into an amphitheatre to fight to burly men. At this point, I thought I movie was over, but it stretched on for another 30 minutes.
While there are a few aspects in the script that helped the film rise above the ordinary, taut editing would have helped “Mohenjo Daro” from becoming a bit of a drag. The multiple climax scenes did irk me a tad, it evidently gave the makers to a wonderful chance to showcase some great VFX work.
Despite the shortcomings, Hrithik kind of manages to hold the film together well with his controlled performance and star power. Pooja, though is a newbie and may be should get the benefit of doubt, a little more expression along with the dialogues would have kept her from delivering a flat and completely rehearsed performance.
Director Ashutosh Gowariker is not so much in his element. One may say period films are his forte, but he fails to impress with this one. Yet, he seems to have tried to get the best of the script and his actors.
A R Rahman’s music and background score needs a special mention here. The maestro strikes the right chord complementing the whole setting of the film.
Final verdict: Watch it if you have nothing to do or if you’re being paid for it.