Sunday, August 14, 2016

Mohenjo Daro Review - A Movie You Cannot Afford To Skip.

Mohenjo Daro was being considered as one of the most anticipated movies of 2016. But its hype got dented due to mixed response to its trailer. Competition from a more appealing movie (Rustom) also did not help Mohenjo Daro’s cause.

The movie released on 12th August, and received mixed reviews by the critics. Result? The audiences did not go to watch the movie.

But, Mohenjo Daro’s team constitutes of Oscar nominee Ashutosh Gowariker, Performance Powerhouse Hrithik Roshan, Oscar Winner AR Rahman, and the Legendry Jaaved Akhtar. How could a prolific team of such experts go wrong? I had this question in my mind, when I went to watch Mohenjo Daro.

Here is my unbiased, spoiler-free review of ‘Mohenjo Daro’.

The theatre, to my surprise, was 90% full. I had expected not more than 30-40% occupancy. The movie started, and the first scene itself resulted in a loud cheer by the audience. It was the perfect start to the movie, and I felt goosebumps already. Then the audience was greeted with enthralling sets of Mohenjo Daro, which either Ashutosh Gowariker, or Sanjay Leela Bhansali can create. Yes, the sets were not glossy like Bajirao Mastani or Jodhaa Akbar, but, then, it is Mohenjo Daro. How can it be glossy? Being an avid lover of History, I noted small things which Ashutosh has taken care of – the brick-laid roads, the houses, the architecture of Mohenjo Daro’s civilization, the paintings on the walls, the clay pots, the drums, the figurines, Indigo Farming etc. For a normal viewer, who loves to see glossy sets and outfits, the first half may look slow and boring. But for me, it was a beautiful experience. Hrithik Roshan looked charming. His boyish looks were similar to Kaho Na Pyaar Hai days. His friend ‘Hojo’ made me smile, and laugh. Their bonding was endearing. Pooja Hegde looked ravishing. Yes, there was nothing special in the Love Story, but it was 2016 BC. It has to be clich├ęd! It is not a modern day love story. Hrithik Roshan’s transformation from lover boy into a fighter was tremendous. You give any scene to him, and he will take it to a different level. One of the best parts of First Half was the songs. AR Rahman’s music, and Hrithik’s graceful dance moves … what more you want?

The Second Half started with a ‘Bang Bang’. The arena scene, in which Hrithik combats with two giants, matched the level of Gladiator. In fact, expressions and energy of Hrithik was far better than many of the Hollywood heroes, who have performed such scenes. The climax was the best part of the movie. No spoilers here. You have to watch it! I was not expecting this. The crowd clapped and cheered for Hrithik, whenever ‘Sarman’ did something special. And, he gave them many reasons to cheer and clap. Kabir Bedi deserves a special mention too. He has a roaring voice. He was menacing and lethal. AR Rahman's background music will give you goosebumps. Editing is crisp. They have deleted 'Sarsariya' song as well, to keep the film as short as possible. The cinematography is top class. The VFX is good (not the best). The action scenes are mind-blowing. 

The movie ended on a High! When I walked out of the theatre, I stayed in Mohenjo Daro’s trance for quite a long time. The climax kept on replaying in my mind. Then I thought, why critics gave such response to a great movie. Maybe most of them don’t know anything about Indus Valley, and thus made fun of the props, the dresses, and the architecture.

Mohenjo Daro is a must watch for a lover of good cinema. Today we call Swades a cult-classic. It is because of us that Swades had bombed at the box-office. Lagaan too had struggled to recover its costs, and was saved by its second half, which was a cricket match. Sadly, Mohenjo Daro is also heading towards the same fate.

It is high time we ignore critics, and start believing in our own instincts. If I had gone by critics’ reviews I would have definitely missed an opportunity to watch a great movie on big screen.

3.5/5 for the First Half.
5/5 for the Second Half.

4.25/5 and thumbs up for Mohenjo Daro. This movie deserves to be seen.

Go Watch Mohenjo Daro! 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Army Major Gaurav Arya's Open Letter to Burhan Wani is Hard-Hitting and Thought-Provoking.

Burhan Muzaffar Wani was the poster-boy of Hizbul Mujahideen. For those who don’t know, Hizbul Mujahideen, as per Wikipedia, is designated a terrorist organisation by India, the European Union, and the United States. The Government of India had announced Rs 1 million bounty for finding him. He enjoyed a ‘fan-following’ on social media, and was known for posting videos in which he appealed the youth to join Hizbul Mujahideen.

On 8th July 2016, Burhan and his two accomplices were killed in an encounter in Bundoora village of Kokernag. The mission was carried by the joint team of Special Operations Group of the J&K Police and 19 Rashtriya Rifles.

The so-called poster boy of one of the deadliest terrorist organisations was dead. But little did anyone know that his death would result in more deaths, more injuries, more tears, and more pain. As soon as the news of Burhan’s death spread, belligerent protests erupted in some of areas of Kashmir Valley. Curfew was imposed. Internet services were cut. Food supplies stopped. Shops were closed, with their shutters carrying ‘love messages’ for Burhan. Weddings were postponed. Tourists, who were planning to visit Kashmir, cancelled their tickets. The beautiful heaven on earth had come to a lethal still.

Amid all the protests and anger against the men in uniform, Burhan Wani received a heroic funeral in his home town Tral. Draped in a Pakistani Flag, his funeral was attended by thousands, and was given a 21-gun salute by his fellow militants.

Major Gaurav Arya, a veteran of anti-insurgency operations in Kashmir, has penned an open letter to the dead Burhan Wani. In his open letter, he stresses that though Wani is being hailed as hero and martyr in Kashmir, he was, in reality, a terrorist. Major Arya clearly states that even if Wani had escaped the encounter, he would have been eventually killed, sooner or later.

Major Arya stressed on the fact that how the power and talent of youth is being wasted in Kashmir. He rightly points out that the young men, like Wani, can become Doctors, Engineers, Archaeologists, and Programmers, but, sadly, some of them choose to lift the guns, for the wrong cause.

In Major Arya’s own words -

You (Wani) could have been an engineer, a doctor, an archaeologist or a software programmer but your fate drew you to the seductive world of social media, with its instant celebrity hood and all encompassing fame. You posted pictures on the internet with your “brothers”, all you fine young Rambos holding assault rifles and radio sets. It was right out of Hollywood. Your rifle’s fire selector switch was set to “safe” and your weapon rested on your shoulder. I know it’s too late to advise you on such matters, but NEVER do that in an operational area.

Major Arya rightly points out how the youth never sees why the sons of the leaders of Hurriyat Conference are ‘safely’ settled in abroad, or away from Kashmir. Major Arya says –

I wish we had met and I could have explained to you (before killing you) that the old men of the Hurriyat Conference are like leech. They feed on the blood of men. They send young Kashmiris to face the Indian Army. What sort of a war is this, where lambs are sent to fight lions?
I would have shown you the sheer duplicity of the Hurriyat, with their sons living abroad, pursuing professions other than jihad. Name one relative of Syed Ali Geelani, the head of the Hurriyat Conference, who is fighting the so-called Indian “occupation”? His son Nayeem Geelani is a doctor in Rawalpindi, and lives under the patronage of the Pakistani ISI. Zahoor, his second son, lives in South Delhi. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s sister Rabia is a doctor in the US. Mariyam Andrabi, sister of head of the radical Dukhtran-e-Millat, Asiya Andrabi, along with her family lives in Malaysia. Every Kashmiri separatist leader’s daughter or son is rich and safe, outside Kashmir. Jihad is for other people’s sons. And your parent’s son is dead

Major Arya has clearly warned that if anyone will raise his weapons against India, the Indian Army will him, just like they terminated Wani.

You were a terrorist. You chose to wage war against India. Like for all other such perpetrators in the past, it didn’t go too well for you. When you choose to fight against the Indian Army, know this; THEY WILL KILL YOU.

We believe that terrorism has no religion, and a terrorist should be treated like a terrorist, not like a martyr. At the same time, we also believe that it is unfair to link terrorism to one particular religion. The word ‘Islam’ has been derived from Arabic word ‘Salema’, which means peace and purity. Those who are lifting the guns to destroy the peace and sanctity of our motherland, are definitely not humans. They are neither Hindu, nor Muslim, because no religion teaches or preaches terrorism.

The supporters of terrorists, and those who are willing to avenge Wani’s killing, have forgotten that it was Indian Army who had saved them when Kashmir was battling floods. It was Indian Army who had always tried to protect them from all the evils. The Indian Army is for the protection and safety of every Indian. Now, with curfew imposed in Kashmir, tourism, which is the basic earning of the state, has come to standstill. Kashmir is a beautiful valley, arguably the most beautiful hill-station of India. It is rightly called as the God’s heaven on earth. Let’s not destroy it with guns, bullets, and blood.

India is our country. It us our motherland. And we will never allow any terrorist, irrespective of his religion, caste, colour, and sex, to get away. A terrorist is a terrorist, and as Major Arya has rightly said, he should be treated the way Wani has been treated by the Indian Army. Jai Hind.