I guess Badlapur is trending on Twitter today because that’s the feeling with which people are walking out of the theatres after watching Mohenjo Daro. The movie happens to be director Ashutosh Gowariker‘s labour of love. It’s more than evident that a lot of hard work has been put into this project. But unfortunately, the efforts don’t really translate beautifully on celluloid. Yes, the cinematography by C. K. Muraleedharan is beautiful, especially the opening shot. So is the leading pair of Hrithik Roshan (Sarman) and newcomer Pooja Hegde (Chaani). But I’m afraid I cannot say the same thing about ANYTHING else in the film – not even ace composer and my favourite A.R. Rahman‘s music. Just imagine!
Mohenjo Daro is world’s first cinematic presentation referencing the ancient Indus Valley civilization. It’s based on some of the documentations by various archaeologists who have researched excessively on the said subject. So of course, it’s a blend of a few facts and a lot of fantasy.
Let me start with the sartorial choices of the residents of Mohenjo Daro. Well-fitted off-shouldered dresses, thigh-high slit gowns, strappy leather sandals and a lot of cool jewellery are the wardrobe staples of the women there. (The men also keep it stylish with fancy head gears, knotted tops, shawls et al.) Chaani, however, dresses differently from the other girls and her entourage. The daughter of the priest, she’s “The Chosen One” in service to Sindhu ma (the river) and is going to mark the beginning of a wave of change in their land one day. And what a wave that was! Anyway, coming back to Chaani – she always sports a bejewelled crown with a lot of feathers (the ones that received a lot of flak from various historians) along with sparkling cut-out dresses.
A dishy bronze complexioned indigo farmer (who hunts crocodiles in his free time) from another faraway land, Sarman, loses his heart to her, the moment he lays his hazel eyes on her. What follows is a love story filled with a lot of twists, turns and drama. Mohenjo Daro is a fairytale which boasts of a robust hero, a dainty damsel, a bunch of really mean villains, some man-eating monsters and even a unicorn. For school kids, it might be a spicier audio-visual version of a history chapter. But for adults, it’s just a bland slow-paced patchy movie.
Hrithik looks hunky in every frame and even performs well in a handful number of sequences. He kills it (literally too) during a fight sequence with two huge monsters. That part actually had my heart racing as I found myself rooting for his character. But he tries too hard and goes quite overboard more than once.
But of course, Duggu ups the entertainment quotient of the snoozefest when he hijacks a couple of costume dance parties of the locals and shows off his moves to woo his lady. The video of the title track did remind me of my fancy dress and group dance competitions from school days.
Kabir Bedi slays with his voice and dialogue delivery as the ruthless and conniving politician Maham. Arunoday Singh is convincing as his badass son Moonja. Assamese model-turned-actor Diganta Hazarika as the Senate Chief Lothar shines. The youngster shows a lot of promise and manages to hold his fort even while sharing screen space with Hrithik. Pooja looks pretty and dazzles in the flick but doesn’t really get enough scope to showcase her acting chops – if she has any, that is.
Sharad Kelkar‘s role as Sarman’s dad Sujan is minuscule but impressive enough. The supporting cast has tried to give this one their all but some of them end up overacting in process. Special mention to the one who plays a crazy old man – for some reason, he gave the guy sitting next to me a reason to giggle (read laugh histerically) every time he made an appearance on screen. Poor chap didn’t intend to be funny though.
I’ve tried to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible. Feel free to thank me in the comments.
All said and done, you can give Mohenjo Daro a single dekko for its visuals IF you are ready to test your patience this long weekend.
Ratings: 1.5 stars