The vast majority of historical epics normally focus on one of a few things. We have stories from the bible, Roman or Greek mythology, or medieval Europe. Audiences with a broader taste will have also no doubt seen some films set in ancient China, or at least a magical version of it. Something we don’t often get to see however are films set in other parts of the world, which is exactly what Mohenjo Daro has to offer. The trailer promised an epic tale set 4,000 years in the past, which will no doubt come complete with classic Bollywood elements like over the top action and giant musical numbers. What could possibly go wrong?
Set in the year 2016 B.C., we follow Sarman (Hrithik Roshan), a handsome, brave, kind, and all round good guy. Growing up in a small village, he’s always dreamed of travelling to the city of Mohenjo Daro, the trade capital of the known world. One day he’s given this chance, but when he gets there, he finds that it’s not quite the perfect utopia he’d imagined.
The beginning of this film is pretty strong. We immediately know who our hero is, what his motivations are and where the plot’s going, as well as having some questions asked about his past. Hrithik Roshan is an all round film star, and even though he feels a little bit old for this role, he’s more than capable of portraying this character, and he remains believable through everything that’s thrown at him. The film also doesn’t waste much time getting to the city of Mohenjo Daro, which is where the meat of the story takes place.
The supporting cast each manage to pull their weight, even if the characters are a little stereotypical. We have the bumbling and pudgy best friend / comic relief, the pure and forbidden love interest, the sinister older man with a mysterious past, and even the cool badass local who helps our heroes with anything they need in the big city. Like I said, nothing game changing, but everyone plays their role well enough. There are also only a few musical numbers, which all have excellent choreography, and have songs good enough to listen to outside of the film they’re in.
Most of the the problems I had with Mohenjo Daro came in the second half. There’s a great action sequence just after the interval (in the cinematic cut), but things slow down quite noticeably from there. There’s around a 45 minute stretch which is a little bit tough to get through, but the finale makes it all feel worth it.
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