Why Blame Salman For The Failure Of Mohenjo Daro?

Salman Khan is now the Donald Trump of Bollywood . Anything that goes wrong is blamed on him. Now the entertainment industry thinks Salman to be responsible for the woefully adverse and sometimes vicious response to Ashutosh Gowariker’s Mohenjo Daro(MD).

It all started when Salmam posted a video on Instagram recommending Rustom, the film that opened against MD. This, say the insiders(the ones who KNOW IT ALL) was not an innocent salespitch from one colleague to another. This was vendetta. Apparently at a film awards event in Madrid in June Salman  asked Hrithik to let Daisy Shah—yes, the same lady who made her debut with Salman in Jai Ho—dance with Hrithik.

Hrithik refused politely.

That was enough for Salman to get vengeful. He decided to promote Rustom and even got all his colleagues to recommend the film.

So did Salman kill Mohenjo Daro?

Just the other day television star Akashdeep Saigal blamed Salman for destroying his career.

Errrr…what career? It’s like blaming  Michelle Obama for global warming. Or Kangana Ranaut for AdhyayanSuman’s non-happening  career.

No.Mohenjo Daro didn’t bomb because Salman recommend Rustom. Nor did it fail because it is an awful film. It is not. The film has many virtues, the least of them is its proclivity to project the past with a fastidiousness and exactitude that dares to invite a whole lot of skeptical questioning. It would have been the easiest thing in the world for Gowariker to stick to the history books, cull the sketchy descriptions of Indus Valley civilization from whatever material was available  and make a faithful historical treatise.

Gowariker took the  more difficult route. He let his imagination flow like the river Sindhu which runs across the film’s in currents  of periodicity. There is an immense investment of imagination in the recreation of an era that existed 5,000 years ago. The clothes, for example, are all hand stitched: did any of the critics even notice this?

Did anyone notice that the heroine Pooja Hegde(treated with utmost contempt for her sartorial outrage)  whose clothes ,accessories and headgear have been ridiculed for seeming to be part of a beauty pageant(makes very cute copy, no, to say the beauty queen in real life paraded like one in her debut film?) wore no jewellery of gold or any other ore ? Minerals were yet to be discovered.

I am not saying Mohenjo Daro is an impeccable historically accurate revisitation into the Indus era. It is probably nowhere close to the world that actually existed. But then how close was Zack Synder’s 300 to the Spartan stratosphere ? And how wildly implausible was the Wild West in Quentin Tarantino’s DjangoUnchained?

We applaud the departure from historical accuracy in these films from the West but expect Ashutosh Gowarikerto bring us an authentic view of a world that existed 5,000 years? Isn’t that a bit unreasonable?

As unreasonable as blaming Salman Khan for the non-acceptance of Mohenjo Daro, yes?

At least let’s applaud Gowariker for making a valiant effort to relive an era that most Indians today didn’t even know the existence of. The average filmgoer today is frightfully shy of history or any attempt to revisit the past through cinema. Unless there is an element of cheap thrills and seductive sleaze inherent in the material.

Anil Sharma’s Gadar  about the brutal aftermath of the Partition was a success because it fuelled  the Indian mind’s insatiable  appetite for sensationalism. When Deepa Mehta brilliantly recreated the barbarism  of the era in 1947 Earth Indian audiences were just not interested. If Mohenjo Daro has failed to whet our moviegoers’ appetites it isn’t because there isn’t enough history in it.  It’s because there is just not enough of that ‘IT’ factor in the storytelling that made Lagaan so luscious and seductive.

Hrithik Roshan may be an astonishingly complete performer. But this time the resources at his disposal are  just not hot enough to sustain his stardom.

 

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