Mohenjo Daro is at heart a love story and a revenge drama which has only one USP. It unfolds in the city of Mohenjo Daro in 2016 BC. Thus the only things special about this film are the settings, the visuals, the costumes, the rituals and the overall feel. The moment you are out of that awe, the film becomes extremely pedestrian. Here is a story that has been done to death in Bollywood in every manner possible. After the first trailer was out, I had a feeling that this film would turn out short of the epic we all want it to be. I even did a trailer review for it wherein I expressed my doubts about the film. Unfortunately, the film has turned out to be exactly what I expected it to.
The story revolves around a simple farmer Sarman (Hritik Roshan) who has extraordinary strength and is a born leader. That much is made clear in the first 15 minutes of the film. He lives away from the city of Mohenjo Daro but dreams of traveling there. He is able to convince his uncle to send him there for trade purposes and it is here that he meets Chaani (Pooja Hegde). He falls in love with her and wants to spend the rest of his life with her. Chaani, however, is destined to marry Moonja (Arunoday Singh), the son of Maham (Kabir Bedi) who happens to be the king of Mohenjo Daro.
As the story progresses, Sarman learns that he is the son of Surjan, the previous head of Mohenjo Daro who was betrayed and executed by Maham when he tried to foil his plans of blocking the Sindhu river by building a dam and excavating gold from the river’s bed. Maham is not Sarman’s only challenge. He must now find a way to save the town as an imminent flood approaches the city that threatens everything that Sarman has come to love dearly. What happens next forms the crux of the narrative. Will Sarman be able to save it all? Will he and Chaani be together? What will happen of Maham? These are some of the questions that drive the narrative of the film.
For all those of you who have seen the trailer, the plot is already known to you. They even show the finale of the climax in the trailer. The fact that the story is done to death and we can practically predict each and every scene right to its end doesn’t help the film’s cause. The action sequences are also extremely ordinary. The much-hyped crocodile sequence is the weakest and lamest of them all and that is practically the first scene of the film. It sets the tone for the rest of the film and that I mean in a bad way. The Gladiator- esque action sequence with Sarman fighting two huge adversaries is something that we have seen better off and frankly speaking, a bit too much off before. We know exactly what will happen in the end and that too because of the trailers. Thus that’s another sequence that goes unnoticed and quite obviously un- appreciated.
The CGI of the film toggles between being good and plain bad. While some of the song and dance sequences are captured with flair, the overhead shots and most of the long takes and destruction showed using CGI looks utterly fake. I am no expert on the Mohenjo Daro architecture but the buildings and some shots of the city do look the part. There has been widespread criticism of the muddled historic correctness of the film and I will not dwell on it much as I am no expert but the costumes and the feel of the film do feel very contemporary at times and thus hits its novelty. Pooja Hegde’s wardrobe is the best example to prove this point. Also, the “smooch” proves to be too much to fathom.
Coming to the performances, Hritik leads from the front and he is great. He is the only thing watchable about this film. It’s his act that holds the whole film together and doesn’t let it crumble altogether. If it hadn’t been for him, this might have just been an unwatchable film. Pooja Hedge suffers from a lack of acting range. She really suffers in the dramatic sequences involving her wish to be with Sarman and the fact that she will be married off to Moonja. She is also exposed in the dramatic sequence where her father dies. Her character is also constantly in the shadow of Hritik’s character and that doesn’t help her cause.Kabir Bedi is an able bad guy. He has done these sort of roles before and he does well to make an impact. But his character is so one-dimensional and poorly written that he cannot do much to save the film. Arunoday Singh is barely there. The rest of the cast can be left unmentioned.
Overall, Mohenjo Daro is a huge disappointment. It is painfully slow, tedious and boring. The flair in the last 20 minutes and another 10 minutes of action right after the interval cannot save a film that is almost 3 hours long. Too many songs, too much of unnecessary mush and practically no challenge for the protagonist liquidates the film more than the giant flood in the climax. If you are going in to watch this film then brace yourself to be bored to sleep.
Rating : 2/5 (2 out of 5 Stars)