MOHEN JO DARO: Better Dead Than Alive
Ashutosh Gowariker fiddled with the presumed love story of Jodha Bai and Mughal emperor Akbar and we loved it for he accepted that it was a “flight of his imagination,” and has little to do with the facts of the marriage which allowed Akbar to strengthen his hold over India.
The reception of Jodha Akbar perhaps encouraged the history-loving Gowarikar to zero down on Mohen Jo Daro, one of the oldest archeological sites in the world (currently located in Sindh, Pakistan) and the remains of at least 5000 years old Indus valley civilization.
But if you watch MOHEN-JO-DARO like I did – with high expectations of at least a better story if not historical accuracy─ you will be disappointed.
The movie may be a visual treat to some but as an overall package, Mohen-Jo-Daro is a two hour 35 minutes torture based upon stories from 70s Bollywood flicks or a Pakistani Punjabi film.
An entirely predictable plot
Sarman (Hrithik Roshan) is an orphaned farmer. He is strong, gutsy, brave and all that an ideal Bollywood hero is expected to be, and lives in a village nearby the great Mohen-Jo-Daro city with his uncle and aunt.
The guy wants to explore the city and even dreams about Ek Singha (a single horned animal found from the ancient city’s ruins). All his bravery, skills (which includes killing a crocodile in the beginning) getting permission from his uncle, and finally his entry into the city as a merchant – is shown in such predictable fashion that one can hardly stop a yawn.
But the movie’s predictability does not end here, as Hrithik’s love story with Chaani (Pooja Hegde), daughter of the head priest of Mohenjo Daro, Hrithik Roshan’s friend falling in love with Chaani’s friend, him being the son of the former council member of Mohen-Jo-Daro and his eventual liberation of the city from the evil ruler Maham (Kabir Bedi) is all what you have seen time and again in old-school Hollywood and Bollywood flicks.
To add to the misery of the viewers, both Hrithik and Pooja along with the supporting actors fail to act as the movie moves forward to become more and more predictable.
Perhaps the only actor who does justice to his role in Kabir Bedi as Maham, as he actually manages to look devilish.
Poker-faced female lead
Fair and Lovely girl, Pooja Hegde was to play Chaani, the Chosen One and the daughter of head priest of Mohen-Jo-Daro.
Though the woman looks beautiful, an actor must act well and sadly Miss Pooja is poker-faced and seriously lacks acting skills.
Neither Gowariker’s direction nor her Miss India Talented award could help her practically as she moves from scene to scene blankly, making the movie more intolerable.
Pooja not only lacks dialogue delivery skills, her failure to emote makes even the most romantic of scenes between her and Mr Roshan look dull.
Hrithik fights two cannibals in order to save Chaani from marrying Monja (the evil son of Mohen Jo Daro’s ruler), and is heavily injured – but is seemingly unhurt in the very next scene and fights Monja to kill him.
Maham kills a farmer leader along with his aides and none bats an eye in such a civilized society which allows counsels to decide the matter of society. Same happens when Moonja kills the head priest.
Though many would not count this one as a loophole, Chaani falling for a commoner after a single stunt, is in my eyes, a loophole.
Gowariker’s Mohen-Jo-Daro is fit enough to make the residents of the city thank God for not being alive to see the horror- which is what this movie actually is.