Misrepresentation of history in Bollywood movies has perpetuated over years and with Ashutosh Gowarikar’s latest being out a while back, Mohenjo-Daro has prepared itself to another round of scrutiny, and unfortunately history seems to be losing once again with a horrendous set of Bollywood etched masala that tides the purges through a 155 minutes of play. Gowarikar’s Mohenjo-Daro much unlike his previous hit Lagaan carves its mark by hotspoting itself as a political allegory in the guise of a costume that will give lemons in your life.
The movie much awaited as it was has made its opening on screens on Friday, the 12thof August and put waters to a many who were still hopeful of it being acutely right than wrong even after witnessing the faulty display of a category of Indus tradition, color and mosaic that swiveled the T.V screens in teasers and trailers. You would not find the golden history touch or the mumbo-jumbo of the lingo which quickly mutates into a mix of dialects. Nor will you find the past staring at you in the righteousness of its story. Mohenjo-Daro, notwithstanding the inaccuracies of the massive civilization however does not fail a bit to spur and whip up the attention of masses with it’s too grand for the time’s sets adorned in grandeur and greatness. Business men and traders in the movie will taint your minds and make you think that the Indianness of the times were situated within an ancient Egypt. The authenticity of the movie(as shown)gets no justification (as the director himself marks at the disclaimer that a range of radically different interpretations were drawn on the civilization).
First, Gowarikar’s seems to have confused the Vedic Age with the Indus Valley Civilisation. To the knowledge of masses, horses that are featured in the movie comes nowhere at the time of Indus Civilization, but according to proven historical theories, were brought by the Aryans much later. Couple this with the heavily Sanskritised Hindi spoken in the movie trailer and you have yourself a bad cocktail of two different eras (separated by at least 500 years). Then you will see a Roman-esque arena hosting gladiatorial wars, a feature that finds no mention in Indus Valley Civilization history.
Our hero Sarman played by Hrithik Roshan is an indigo farmer who looks less than incharacter but more like a Roman hero with the camera rolling slyly over his perfect biceps and gliding over his pungent heart hammering looks. Chhani, played by Pooja Hegde, who is presented like a garden of head gears adding the white skin tone that Bollywood prefers as a badge to women playing leads is a fanciful mistake. Very evidently, no terracotta figurines found from the Indus valley sported anything like a headdress, like Gowariker’s dusky turned fair heroine does. Chhani however is ethnic only in her headgear, the side slit dresses that she clads herself in seem to be straight away coming from a 21st century filmfare. The fair and lovely bias very much seen in the depiction of the priest king played by Kabir Bedi also does not correspond to the real skin tone of the people of the civilization .Major troubles lie in the garmenting of the characters giving them a sour presentation of a rich populace and plaguing identities by the highly ornamented, rich assemblage of their dressing.
Chhani who is shown as "sindhu maa ka prateek" is an outrightly wrong representation owing to the fact that the cult of mother goddesses came in much later. The trailer ends with the great deluge hitting the environs of Mohenjo-Daro and brings to life the long-held stereotype about the great Indus flood. The Indus flood hypothesis has long been discarded as a reason for the civilisation’s decline. But everyone loves a fanciful collapse, especially when Bollywood manufactures it.
With specks of history at places, Gowariker tries to situate and fix a plot on his own wild imagination where a hero tries to take over responsibility of saving a community and overthrow a despot. Good trail, but with a zillion books on the civilization and wit and sanity still being alive in the minds of a few,Mohenjo-Daro does not stand its way out for a recommendation nor for a second watch.