I haven't done a review in a long while - years, actually - and yesterday I felt inspired to finally sit down and write up another one.
Rating: (out of 5)
you heard the story of the orphaned farm lad who dreams of life beyond
his provincial borders, so goes to the city/capital/castle and discovers
he has a much deeper connection to the province/kingdom/royal family
than he ever knew? Along the way he saves/falls in love with a woman of a
higher station, and takes on an evil tyrant while learning the truth
about his parents/heritage.
Yes? I should think so. It's a pretty standard Hero's Journey
story across a lot of cultures and Mohenjo Daro hits all of those beats
as well as a few other major tropes (see below). But if I avoided
every story that utilized storytelling tropes or followed a Hero's
Journey, I would never pick up a book or watch a film ever again. And
in doing so I would miss out on the richness stories bring to our lives,
and completely overlook gems like Mohenjo Daro. This is a film that
shines because of its heart, not its cutting-edge storyline.
Mohenjo Daro is about the farmer Sarman (Hrithik Roshan)
who travels to the title city against his aunt and uncle's wishes,
where he discovers the extent of the injustices carried out against the
people by the evil Senate Chief Maham (Kabir Bedi), and falls in love with the beautiful Chose One, Chaani (breakout performance from Pooja Hedge)
who is destined to bring in a New Era. The acting is on point across
the board, from the main actors to the supporting cast, and every
character comes to life with heartfelt sincerity. While I watched I
could feel the joy, wonder, love, and turmoil from each character as
they went through their stories and hardships. Hrithik Roshan was
wonderfully sincere in his portrayal of Sarman, and Pooja Hedge had a
strength and screen presence that I can't wait to see again.
and musically the film is absolutely stunning. There are a couple of
points where the special effects felt a bit... not rough, but perhaps
unnecessarily dreamlike? There was really only two minor points when I
felt the visual effects pulled me out of the story, otherwise it was seamless. The music more than made up for it. The soundtrack was... hauntingly beautiful.
I was disappointed that we only got
two song and dance numbers, despite three songs being released as
promotional material and my assumption there would be more considering
the length of the film (just over 2 and a half hours). The two songs we
did get, Mohenjo Daro and Tu Hai,
were amazing. Watching Hrithik Roshan dance is never disappointing.
That aside, I also loved the soulfulness of the dances, and the ability of
Roshan and Hedge to bring their characters to life through their dancing.
I really appreciated that Hedge's
character of Chaani was not reduced to a weak love interest turned
prize, and was given at least a couple of chances to show strength in
her role. For that matter I felt that the few female characters who had
speaking roles (4) were given real character, even if it wasn't for
very long. It almost made up for how little women had to do in the
Despite complaints from other viewers and
critics about the historical inaccuracies, I really enjoyed the
costuming. The variety, the colorful simplicity, and yes, Chaani's
headdresses, added to the overall beauty and color of the film. It was splendid.
through the film, a Big Reveal occurs, and it shifts the direction of
the story. Everything comes to a head, and there are a couple of pretty
brutal fight scenes as the characters face the repercussions of the conflicts from the first half of the film. The pace picks up
from there and keeps up until the credits. I didn't feel this was a
disjointed shift, it was definitely eluded to early on that this was
coming, though I can see how some might feel like the film seemed to
change genre. I disagree, but then this is all opinion anyways.
the movie perfect? No. Was it wonderful? Yes. Definitely. I walked out
of the cinema knowing that I was going to get the soundtrack, that I
wanted to go see the film again (I did), and that I can't wait until it
is released on DVD.
Ratings by Category:
Tropes (may be spoilery)
find it fun to look up what type of tropes stories have on
TVTropes.org, so I thought I'd include a list (not comprehensive) of
what I spotted in this film. This is in no way a criticism of
the movie on my part. You should see the lists my friends and I come up
with after going to see the popular American blockbusters - easily
twice as long in some cases, and these are considered tropes for a
reason after all.
Farm Boy/ The Heart / The Unchosen One
Rebellious Princess/ White Magician Girl / The Heart / The Chosen One
Locked Out of the Loop
Really Royalty Reveal
End of an Age
Links in the text (in order):