Rustom 1, Mohenjo Daro 0: Akshay Kumar wins on social media; no buzz for Hrithik's film

Gautam Chintamani

Aug 11, 2016 16:11:30 IST

The verdict between Rustom and Mohenjo Daro seems to be out even before the fight took place.

More than the pre-release buzz that Akshay Kumar’s Rustom has generated, it’s the abject lack of interest in Hrithik Roshan starrer Mohenjo Daro — not just from the audiences but also within the industry — that seems to suggest that the former has already won the so-called big 15 August weekend release date fight.

Rustom has seen the likes of Salman Khan, Alia Bhatt and Ranveer Singh making videos urging people to go watch the film; while Karan Johar, Sonam Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha took to Twitter and Instagram to show support.

By comparison, Mohenjo Daro barely has anyone rooting for it besides the official quarters, of course.As far as social media goes, Rustom: 1; Mohenjo Daro: 0

The ‘clash’ came to a pass of sorts when Hrithik Roshan tweeted:

To which Akshay Kumar responded with:

Reams have been dedicated to how Rustom is enjoying all-around support while Mohenjo Daro is appearing to be a non-starter. The reasons cited range from how Akshay Kumar cutting across party lines is one of the biggest factors for the encouragement for Rustom and how perhaps Roshan’s recent spat with Kangana Ranaut (not taking sides or siding with the ‘bigger’ entity, take your pick) could have influenced industry-insiders to not being vocal about their appreciation for the Ashutosh Gowariker directed period drama.

 Rustom 1, Mohenjo Daro 0: Akshay Kumar wins on social media; no buzz for Hrithiks film

Akshay Kumar in Rustom. Hrithik Roshan in Mohenjo Daro.

But beyond the usual logic that operates Bollywood, could the fact that Mohenjo Daro’s insipid trailer, the only thing that people have seen of the opus up until now, be the real reason why no one’s kicked about it?

If one were to simply go by the trailers of the two films Rustom seems like a typical big budget Hindi film that is well-intentioned whereas Mohenjo Daro, which made much fuss about everything, comes across as a hybrid of 10,000 B.C. (2008) and Gladiator (2008).

Inspired by the events of the Nanavati case that rocked the country, Rustom recreates the 1959 incident of a naval commander killing his wife’s lover. It also went on to become the last jury trial in India. There have been many cinematic interpretations of the case, beginning with Yeh Raste Hain Pyaar Ke (1963) that featured Sunil Dutt and Leela Naidu, and the Gulzar directed Achanak (1973), which in spite of being directed by Gulzar, didn’t feature any songs.

Unlike Rustom, Mohenjo Daro is perhaps the first ever film to be made on the subject and keeping in mind the challenges of capturing the story of one of the oldest civilisations known to man, Ashutosh Gowariker is, by all accounts, the only name that comes to mind.

Cinematic liberties aside, the challenges of basing a film on a civilisation whose written language has not yet been deciphered can be a double-edged sword — what a filmmaker makes would be interpreted as ‘authentic’ and no matter how hard one tries, something would fall short.

This element notwithstanding, looking at Gowariker’s imagery one can’t help but feel a sense of disappointment. A glance at the images of the film, especially the costumes that Pooja Hegde is wearing, and you know what to expect.

It’s one thing to adorn your characters with costumes based on research, while making a period drama based on the oldest civilizations, but to see the heroine in finery that could put the biggest present-day designers to shame is something else.

This is a civilisation that existed when modern dressmaking, the kinds of which Pooja Hegde’s character is draped in, didn’t exist and so to be authentic either they had to be semi-clad or even nude and while Gowariker can’t show that level of authenticity, he could very well have not gone to the other end.

Gowariker has said to have consulted with archaeologists from all over the world who are considered to the experts on the Indus Valley civilization and some of them even inspected the sets and props before giving their approval; wonder what they had to say about Ms. Hedge’s haute couture?

Apart from all that might be glaringly wrong with Mohenjo Daro (strictly based on the trailer), there’s another thing that comes to mind — are we somewhere not ready to deal with historical fiction in the truest sense?

It’s ironical that the same audience that loved Mughal-e-Azam (1960), Jodhaa-Akbar (2008) or even Bajirao-Mastani (2015) in the name of artistic liberty, might not be able to garner enough suspension of disbelief for Mohenjo Daro. The trailer is definitely not helping the film and neither are the director’s previous last two films.

In almost a decade since Jodhaa-Akbar, Gowariker’s made What's Your Raashee (2009), which no one remembers, and Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey (2010), which many would like to forget.

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Updated Date: Aug 11, 2016 16:13:19 IST