Sometimes I believe Indian audience doesn’t deserve good cinema(or good History textbooks). Or perhaps Bollywood (and academia) is an oligarchy, where the biggest bidding Star (or political patrons) buy good reviews (and liberal arts syllabus), with only a few of actually good movies getting lifted to blockbuster status with the sheer applause of masses, despite the disgust of critics. Rajiv Masands and Anupama Chopras (Romila Thapars too) would rate a mediocre Housefull 3 or Ra.One a +3, while a masterpiece like Swades or now, MohenJo Daro would get barely 2 or 2.5, added with sneer remarks as to how come an Indian Director attempt to pull off a Hollywood standard flick out of Indian Cinema?
I watched Rustom yesterday, its a brilliant thriller. I watched Mohenjo Daro today, its once in a decade masterpiece.
Given the scarce amount of resources we have of the civilization, given that the Harappan script is yet to be deciphered, and all evidence we have are a bunch of fabulously planned buildings and roads, some beads and pottery, murals and seals, a highly advanced port at Lothal, and like Sherlock’s clue; a random horse burial, a few scattered skeletons and weapons in a particular place at Mohenjo Daro, there literally is no evidence so as to establish the accurate way of life of Mohenjo Daro, the extent of diplomatic relations of Mohenjo Daro, the precise religion of Mohenjo Daro, the body politic of Mohenjo Daro, and most importantly, the abandonment and exodus of inhabitants from Mohenjo Daro.
Most of what we can construct of this period is speculation. Marxists have their own speculations, rather flawed, politically motivated and factually proven untrue speculations over a period of time since it was first excavated by Alexander Cunningham in 19th century and later researched by Sir Mortimer Wheeler. Our Indian Marxists, who have arrogantly hijacked our Academia like the Maham of movie (Kabir Bedi) gleefully bought those lies from the westerners and propagated it in our universities since the 60s till now, despite the same Westerners now undoing, unlearning and relearning the Harappan civilization altogether with new facts, narratives and modern research.
This, perhaps is the most mysterious and intriguing of all the ancient river valley civilizations. Even more than Egypt. And when you research Harappan civilization and then watch this film, its like you literally spectate on a 70mm screen what you imagined of it in your mind.
Now coming to point why it pisses off a section of Marxist Oligarchs (Mahams of Indian academia).
I read this critic of Mohenjo Daro from an Aligarh Muslim University graduate film historian of sorts in The Hindu yesterday. It was a 2 page gibberish as to how the film has Hindutva overtones and then goes on to say that the spurt in such ‘Hindutva’ ‘Hypernationalist’ films such as Bajirao, Bahubali, Baby, Dishoom and now Mohenjo Daro are directly related to the NDA govt led by PM Modi and its all Sanghi propganda.
He further hints at Ajay Devgan, Salman Khan, Hrithik, Akshay Kumar, Nana Patekar, Kajol, Ranveer, Varun Dhawan, K.Rajamouli, Rajnikanth, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and pretty much the whole of Indian film industry is in pockets of PM Modi and get their script written from their nearby RSS Shakhas.
GIVE ME A FREAKIN BREAK!
This is why no sane person takes Leftists seriously anymore anywhere in the world.
This critic forgets that a film with blatant anti-Hindu undertones like PK was released with the same dispensation at power. Recently, Madari, another brilliant film, which is like one of the most anti-State movies ever, was released and applauded well, too. I mean, does this even need an explanation?
Coming back to Mohenjo Daro, the pertinent point raised in the movie which would hurt the Marxist most is the absolute no reference to the debunked and much hyped ARYAN INVASION THEORY.
The narrative that ; fair-skinned Upper class chariot-riding Vedic Hindus from Central Asia invaded the dark-skinned dalit/dravidian natives suited the Britishers(and Nazis in Germany) well. It served well later, to our socialist politicians and their crony marxist Historians like R S Sharma and D D Kosambhi who literally raised a generation of brainwashed Intellectuals to carry on the marxist agenda in our universities (result of which are Umar Khalids and Kanhaiya Kumar).
It kept the Indian society divided, still keeps a section of it divided, and guess who profits the most from it? – The modern oligarch ‘Mahams’ of Indian civilization.
Good that the movie chose to side with the truth and put up the right narrative, or at least left a sense of ambiguity by depicting Tajik traders from Central Asia who came to sell Horses, and not to ‘invade’ riding on horses.
Furthermore, the movie shows a rich network of trade with Sumerians and Egyptians. Recent finding of Harappan seals in Babylon, Somalia and Canaan valley(Egypt) and Yemenese coins found at Lothal indicate that the whole civilization was not some semi-isolated neighborhood, without global acknowledgement and access, as stated by Colonials and later Marxists.
The film also depicts a clearly Class-based society, contrary to the ambiguous classless version of Marxist narrative. The Upper Citadel has the rich, and the lower one had the poor, and they were rarely allowed to mingle. This is obvious with most of the ornaments and lapis Lazuli being found in the Citadel, while the Lower city was almost bereft of any.
As much as the Marxists act as absolutist on Vedic narrative, that much skeptic they are of Mohenjo and Harappa. This Absolutist-Skeptic dichotomy is most profoundly observed when they narrate religion and society. For a marxist, the Vedic Age was this super-duper-orthodox-bereft-of-any-goodness absolutely evil Brahman dominated era saved by the coming of Buddha, While the Harappans are these ideal sacrosanct Marxist Utopian society, which has no religion and believes in goody goody pacifism.The film takes the speculation to right direction, a sphere where Marxists are reluctant to go. The Indus river is a ‘mother goddess’, adapted on the Mother Goddess figurines found in city. The Pashupati(Lord Shiva in his lord of animals version) has been adapted into the chief pradhan. While the Priest figurine is well, the Priest. Only the Dancing Girl figurine adaptation was missing, or perhaps I missed it. But over all, no other filmmaker can come any close to the Characterization, religious-societal plot, and amazing and accurate sets of The Great Bath.
The final scene sees the Maham and his couple of guards captured and tied up inside the lower city after a minor scuffle with the armed mob of citizens . This fits well with the excavations of these random skeletons with weapons around found at a random spot in city.
Finally, what has pissed off the Marxists most is what pisses them off the most in actual Historical debates ; The climax of the movie.
It is now established fact that the Indus river changed its course, and that the Saraswati-Ghaggar-Hakra river dried up, which eventually caused the Indus Valley people to migrate elsewhere(and not White Aryan invasion from Central Asia, duh). The major part of the exodus went towards the Ganga-Yamuna Doab and settled to continue as what Marxists call the ‘Early Vedic period’. Hrithik Roshan leads the weary Mohenjo-Darons to the banks of a river, and finally declares the new river as a cradle of their continued civilization : Ma Ganga.
Hear hear. :D
The director has of course taken creative liberties and obviously the whole story of the movie is not true. But it is amazing as to how close a film, an Indian film at that, could come to an almost accurate depiction of Indus Valley Civilization.
Access to Internet, plethora of books on flipkart and amazon, and well-researched films from across the world have opened an almost limitless access to knowledge for the ordinary masses, and this pisses off the ‘Oligarch’ Mahams the most! “How dare independent peasants do their own research and challenge our narrative. We have the sole right to set the direction of discourse and manage narratives”. The frustration in reviews and criticism from Marxist historians is a sight to behold. But thankfully 21st century doesn’t belong to them.
Ashutosh Gowarikar gave us Lagaan, Swades(Personal favourite), Jodha Akbar, and now this masterpiece. The box office collections are stingy, and Indian audience immature. But if you are reading this Critique and are interested in Ancient India, then please give this movie a theatre visit.
Mr. Gowarikar, please keep em coming.
And Maestro Mr. A. R. Rehman, you’re like many many times in Gowarikar films, an absolutely delicious icing on the cake.:)
– Saumitra Shikhar, A History Graduate and Bollywood Buff, Often likes exposing the Marxist Bluff.