I don’t watch many Bollywood movies, but the main reason I snatched this one up at my local library because it is set during the Indus Valley Civilization in 2016 BC. The civilization spread through modern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northern India. The title of this movie, Mohenjo Daro, refers to an actual ancient city in Pakistan, which looks super beautiful in pictures!
Since I don’t know much about the civilization, I was excited to watch this movie. And I’m really glad I did, even if its run time is three hours.
Synopsis: The movie follows Sarman, a young indigo farmer, who comes to trade at the massive city of Mohenjo Daro, only to discover the corrupt ruler Maham is slowly bleeding the poor dry after damming up the massive river. Sarman falls in love with the high priest’s daughter Chaani and learns of his past as he strives to save the city and its people.
This is a sweeping historical epic with beautiful costumes and dramatic shots. So dramatic that at times I was laughing out loud, so I clearly didn’t appreciate the seriousness of the matter. Like most Bollywood movies, people will randomly break out into song and walk in slow motion. However, there is something so incredibly fun about this movie.
It follows the typical hero trope: the good guy discovers he is more than just a farmer, falls in love with a princess, and defeats the evil villain. Even though the plot follows this pretty over-used trope, it is the filming, the music, the acting which truly makes this movie epic.
But let’s break down different aspects of the film more.
First, the costumes were absolutely beautiful, especially Chaani’s, the main female love interest. I wasn’t a huge fan of her massive headdresses, but all her costumes were so pretty. Saying that, throughout the movie I really wanted to give Sarman a bath because he looked filthy (I understand he’s a farmer) and I did not know why Chaani would like someone so dirty…I may be shallow, but their romance was even more shallow (endearing, but shallow. I mean, who falls in love after a couple songs together?)
Speaking of music, I absolutely loved all the songs. Like in most musicals, people will just randomly break into song and dance. But it is the beautiful Hindi language and instruments that really make the songs pleasant to listen to. My favorite song is still the song named after the title of the movie, and the first one they sing. It’s so stuck in my head!
The acting was good as well. I know Hrithik Roshan from Jodhaa Akbar (I love that miniseries). However, he is way too old to be cast as someone who is supposed to be no older than his mid-twenties. His character is coming-of-age, but Roshan is in his mid-forties. The casting choice just felt a little weird. Outside that, I really liked all the casting choices. Pooja Hegde is gorgeous and perfect for Chaani. She plays a bright, courageous, but also a silly girl. I mean, she literally goes into the market and starts destroying the merchants shops. If you don’t believe me, just watch this song.
The city was absolutely breathtaking, though I will admit some of the computer graphics looked a bit fake, especially the unicorn goat (yes, there is a unicorn goat…which I’m really curious to find out if it is a common depiction from the Indus Valley Civilization). But I would have watched this movie just for scenes of the city.
My one and main complaint about the film is the main protagonist. He is too perfect. He never makes a mistake and all his conflicts are external. He’s good at everything he does, and because of that he doesn’t feel real. He doesn’t have to work that hard for anything, even when the villain stands before him.
Saying that, I understand that this is more of a myth story. I mean, you hardly see a Hercules movie with intense internal struggle. That’s not what an origin story is, and I love how this film mixes history with mythology. Like I said, I don’t know much about the Indus Valley Civilization, but after watching this movie, I want to know more.
Does this movie look interesting to you? What are your favorite mythology movies? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more musings and, as always,
Best wishes in your life full adventure,