Tonight marks the return of an Ashutosh Gowariker film to the Piazza Grande as Mohenjo Daro is being screened here as the closing film of the 69th Locarno Film Festival. The Piazza Grande is a huge open air theatre for which films selected are works intended for mainstream audiences but made by genuine auteur filmmakers.
Not only is this a huge honor, especially since the selection committee on their initial viewing had loved the film, it has also created a sense of déjà vu for Ashutosh. Exactly 15 years ago, his Lagaan was screened at the same festival, at the same venue. In the case of Lagaan, the Locarno Film Festival screening was the first international milestone the film achieved, eventually culminating with its nomination for an Oscar Award in the foreign film category, the last time an Indian film reached the final 5 nominations.
As Ashutosh Gowariker spent the day attending press conferences and undertaking other media interactions, the excitement was palpable as the organizers and attendees alike are awaiting the screening which expects to see the biggest turnout of the entire festival. Kabir Bedi answered the media in fluent Italian and his popularity with the Italian audiences and media is truly amazing.
For producer Sunita Gowariker, the festival also holds a special meaning, “When Ashutosh and I traveled with Lagaan to Locarno, it was so overwhelming, and a bit daunting to see 8000 people turn up at the Piazza for the screening and then so many wanting to interact with us about the film. The Locarno Film Festival holds such a special place in my heart and as a producer I could not have asked for a better international start for the film.”
During the prehistoric Indus Valley, in 2016 BC, the evil greed of a man is about to destroy one of the oldest cities in the world, Mohenjo Daro. A young indigo farmer, Sarman, enters this city and meets Chaani, the daughter of the priest, predicted to be the Origin of a New Society. Sarman, in his attempt to win Chaani’s love, uncovers secrets nobody was ever supposed to know – about Chaani, about Mohenjo Daro and about his own past!
Directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, writer-director of the Oscar-Nominated Lagaan, Mohenjo Daro stars Hrithik Roshan and introduces Pooja Hegde along with Kabir Bedi and Arunoday Singh. Presented by UTV Motion Pictures and Ashutosh Gowariker Productions, and produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur and Sunita Gowariker, the film released worldwide on 12th August 2016.