Trailer Watch: 'Mohenjo Daro'
Both Samarpita and I despised the trailer of Mohenjo Daro so vehemently, we both decided to share our tuppence worth right here. Read on to find out why we were so disappointed by the supposedly next big epic of the summer.
Expectations. The bane of our existence. Expect and ye shall be disappointed, which I was, after I caught a glimpse of the trailer Ashutosh Gowariker’s Mohenjo Daro, which landed yesterday.
Essentially, a period romance set in the ancient civilisation of Mohejo Daro, the film sees Gowarikar team up with Hrithik Roshan post the splendid Jodhaa Akbar, alongside newbie Pooja Hegde (easy on the eye, but unidentifiable if you place her in a sea of wannabe starlets), and looks like a ‘punar janam ki kahaani’, which at its onset, seems to have virtually nothing going for it, apart from Roshan’s bronzed (but stale looks) and potentially, a stellar score by Rahman.
Agreed, you can never really judge a book by its cover but whatever is on display in these three (rather long) minutes of their upcoming film, we can all but expect to be let down by what resembles a Gods Of Egypt-esque like dud, with ropey CGI (flying alligators anyone?), a tired Kabir Bedi (as a caricature-ish antagonist), a cluttered cast full of nobodies and essentially a film, that will rely on Roshan’s magnetic charisma to see it through.
Sure this is by the makers of Lagaan and Jodhaa Akbar, but lest we forget Gowariker also helmed duds like What’s Your Raashee and Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey and this eye sore seems like its headed that way rather than attain the cult status of say a Swades. Either that, or it will be one of those films that’s so bad it’s good... and after viewing this, I'm not sure I want to find out anymore.
Rehashing an old storyline in a new avatar, or old wine in a new bottle, has long been Bollywood’s forte. Just watch a few Bollywood movies from the 90s and older and you’ll know. Of late, Hindi films had been bucking the trend and producing original content in its films. But, alas, there will always be outliers and sadly, Mohenjo Daro is one of them.
Set in the Indus Valley civilization (2016 BC, which the trailer proclaims), the trailer takes us back in time to deal with a story of Sarman (Hrithik Roshan, whose voice weirdly quavers throughout), a farmer who travels to the famed ancient city of Mohenjo Daro in search of a better life, meets a beautiful woman called Chaani (played by debutante Pooja Hegde), falls in love with her and then somehow gets entangled with local villain Maham (or Buffalo Man, judging by the massive buffalo horn helmet he wears), played by Kabir Bedi. The trailer appears to show Sarman saving the day by singlehandedly defeating the villain and saving the entire city while also battling flying alligators (I just couldn’t help but literally LOL at that). Does the theme sound familiar? It should, because the storyline seems to be like practically EVERY Hindi movie from the 90s.
There were so many expectations to be had from this film. Ashutosh Gowariker’s first film in eight years (his last release was in 2008). Ashutosh’s second outing with Hrithik Roshan (their previous collaboration being the beautiful Jodhaa Akbar (2008)). The setting of the film (which was hyped to be set in the millennia-old Indus Valley civilization). All of this, combined with Ashutosh’s penchant for making historicals, were cause for much excitement. The trailer, however, feels underwhelming and is much like what soda becomes when the bottle cap isn’t tightly shut: completely flat and without fizz.
It’s hard to gauge whether the film is historically accurate or not. One can only assume that Ashutosh’s team would have done their fair share of research, but there are several things that stand out. Why would a man from the Indus Valley civilization have highlights in their hair? Did they actually wear dhotis and pagdis? It’s almost hard to believe that this is a film set in the time period it is, because the styling of the characters almost places it in the 19th century!
The visuals, on the other hand, would have been great if they weren’t let down with below-average special effects (the flying alligator being one). The cinematography, however, in scenes that don’t require special effects, appears to be vivid and striking.
The seminal focus, of course, is on Hrithik Roshan, who seems eager in his performance. His voice modulation, however, seems to be inconsistent. Pooja Hegde looks beautiful and hopefully gets a chance to prove herself. It’s good to see Kabir Bedi on screen after a very long time, and he seems menacing enough in the role of the sneering villain.
Hopefully the rest of the yet-to-be-released promotional material can change my mind. For now, however, my perception is skewed by the flying alligator and one single thought: if you’re going to have a formulaic plot, why even bother setting it in the Indus Valley civilization?
Mohenjo Daro also features Arunoday Singh, Suhasini Mulay, Nitish Bharadwaj, Kishori Shahane and Sharad Kelkar and hits the marquee this August. What did you think of the film’s trailer? Yay or nay?