Rustom & Mohenjo Daro: Readers’ Review, Film Companion

Rustom & Mohenjo Daro: Readers’ Review, Film Companion

Rustom & Mohenjo Daro: Readers’ Review, Film Companion

Set in 2016 BC, Mohenjo Daro starts with an action sequence where a brave indigo farmer, Sarman, (Hrithik Roshan) fights with a crocodile. This mediocre CGI (computer-generated imagery) and rubber crocodile fight is a warning for what’s coming your way in next 250 minutes.

Sarman, an orphan from a small village, goes to Mohenjo Daro, a developed city for business. He instantly falls in love with the priest’s daughter Chani (Pooja Hegde). What follows next is a bag of clichés like love-at-first-sight, party dance sequences in disguise, garibon ka masiha, Baap ka badla wrapped in the packaging of ancient history of the Indus Valley civilization.

Director Ashutosh Gowariker had everything in place here, except a good script. It’s a pity that despite a rich production value, A.R. Rahman’s music, a big studio’s backing and a talented actor like Hrithik Roshan, the end product is so disappointing. Ashutosh is a fine director but his latest offering is letdown by weak screenplay and poor visual effects, which are crucial parts of the film. With plots resembling Baahubali and The Lion KingMohenjo Daro never really takes off. Adding to the misery are Kabir Bedi and Arunoday Singh who ham throughout the film and are miscasts here.

The only thing which is commendable in this film is Hrithik’s earnest performance. Pooja makes a confident debut, however doesn’t have much to do here. Mohenjo Daro could have been a game changer but instead is a major failure on all accounts.

I am going with a generous 2 stars for Mohenjo Daro. Watch it only for Hrithik’s performance.

Rustom & Mohenjo Daro: Readers’ Review, Film Companion

Rustom & Mohenjo Daro: Readers’ Review, Film Companion

Apart from the familiar rather almost repeated cast, it is hard to believe Mohenjo Daro is brought to us by the same director who had once brought us Lagaan and Swades. Ashutosh Gowariker’s latest attempt, a story based in a civilization dated to the prehistoric times (cheesily labelled 2016 BC) is nothing more than a ’90s crass and clichéd script encapsulated in a pretentious and superficially designed setting of Mohenjo Daro.

It kick-starts with a cringe worthy sequence of a dino-croc’s (crocodile of an unusually large size) dual with Hrithik Roshan’s character while all that CGI just doesn’t help. Having conveniently borrowed themes from Game of Thrones, Gladiator and even BaahubaliGowariker disheartened me with his poor and lazy writing while he didn’t shy away from ignoring some major flaws in his production design, including the recklessness in the make-up of his actors. Kabir Bedi is seen flaunting a partially dyed and well razored beard in almost every frame while he tries pretending to be the villain during the prehistoric times. Examples such as these are not just cringe worthy, they give you a good laugh.

My biggest disappointment remains in the fact that Gowariker doesn’t give us any content that allows us to soak into the times and culture that he bases his story in, something his previous attempts like Jodha Akbar and Lagaan had managed successfully. Again, the casting is repeated from his previous films that leaves no cognition for the outcomes of each character.

Mohenjo Daro, the famous pre-historical civilization we were once taught about, certainly deserved a better canvas than what Gowariker managed to give it. I would choose to keep it dusted inside my history text books than watch Gowariker’s version.

I am going with a single star.

Rustom & Mohenjo Daro: Readers’ Review, Film Companion

Rustom & Mohenjo Daro: Readers’ Review, Film Companion

Rustom falls short of the enticing spirit expected from a concoction of treachery, shock and murder. It doesn’t transfix the audience unlike its inspiration, the arresting Nanavati case. The crisp start takes the audience swiftly through the Pavris’ courtship; Rustom’s arrival home only to discover his wife, Cynthia and friend, Vikram’s covert affair; and the eventual firing of those three sensational shots.

A plethora of reasons is thrown as to why Rustom, the celebrated officer, deserves to remain untarnished, much like his uniform. Thanks to the relentless convincing by a tabloid run by a fellow Parsi, the masses announce Rustom ‘an honorable murderer’.

The impending question is if it was an act of self-defence or premeditated murder. The ensuing trial, interspersed with dry humor, tries persuasively to weave an air of unnerving tension around itself but fails in its execution. It’s the witless Prosecution against the harmonized Defence that withers the court-room drama away.

Akshay Kumar, whose acting prowess lies in portraying statesmanlike characters pulls this one off with finesse. Only if there was more depth to his character, as Rustom is anything but flawed.

Since there’s no mystery to solve, I wish there was more to chew on the complexity of relations between the wronged, hurt husband and his remorseful wife. The art direction is passable with intermittent pink-hued scenes. The detailing of 1960’s is limited to the leading ladies’ immaculate curls, the Pavris’ transistor and the traffic police’s uniform. While Ileana DÇruz fares well, Esha Gupta’s character is wasted away in red pursed lips and absurd cigarette bearing stance. I wish Pawan Malhotra and Sachin  Khedekar had meatier roles as Usha Nadkarni to prove their mettle.

Overall, Tinu Desai’s Rustom, provides an interesting if not arresting storyline but somewhere meanders into a dreary momentum unlike its initial vigor.

I’m going with 3 stars

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