2016 BC; before the British Raj, before Mughals, before Christ, before Buddha, before India as we know it, there was Mohenjo Daro . Yes, I am talking about Ashotosh Gowariker’s latest prehistoric adventure, screened worldwide on August 12. This is indeed the first movie on Indus Valley Civilization ever since Mohenjo Daro was unearthed in 1922 by Archaeological Survey of India.

Mohenjo Daro is modern day name of this ancient city discovered in third decade of twentieth century when local people found remains at the site. Since no one has been able to read scriptures, it is yet unclear what this advanced ancient city was called by the natives. Archaeological ruins are a testimony to this advanced urban settlement, its uniqueness and significance in that period.

About one third of world population in 2016 lives without proper sanitation and clean drinking water.

But imagine; in 2016 B.C, the people of Mohenjo Daro had proper sanitation system, covered drainage, public toilets and wells.

Imagine; people of that period had means of communication and trade i.e ships and carts.

Imagine; it was the centre of trade and exports to other civilizations of that period, say Egypt, Mesopotamia and others.

Imagine; their building structures were constructed with proper planning and engineering techniques to control heat and air quality.

Imagine; men and women decorated themselves with jewellery, flowers and printed fabrics.

Fascinating, no?

Like many others, I was also very concerned when I heard about the Bollywood movie on Mohenjo Daro , and was wondering if one should commend Bollywood and Ashutosh Gowariker for bringing this topic back from the dead or censure them for projecting an imaginary world, which is yet to be excavated and deciphered?

But, during promotional interviews it was established by the Director Ashutosh Gowariker that this movie is about a romantic-revenge drama, a self created story, with the background of Mohenjo Daro and Indus Valley Civilization . That was a sigh of relief – because no human stories have been found or decrypted until now.

After saying that, Ashutosh Gowariker ended all the speculations and debates about characters and the story. He also confirmed that eminent archaeological experts were consulted in the project, those who had a strong grip on the subject of ancient Indus Valley Civilization .

Sarman, the lead character in the movie is indigo farmer of a small village. He calls Aamri, another ancient settlement of Indus Civilization, located about 220 kilometers south of Mohenjo Daro . Till date, these two ancient cities exist on the right bank of Indus River. Dyeing troughs and stamps have been discovered during excavation of Mohenjo Daro and the writer has tried to relate his lead role with the indigo framing and dyeing profession.

The director has no doubt attempted to create an imaginary world of Mohenjo Daro according to the excavated ruins of this archaeological site. If you read Mohenjo-Daro and the Indus Civilization by Sir John Marshall, you may find housing structures, inscribed stamps, seals, boats, toys, signs, painted pottery and flooring used in this movie to resemble what archaeologists have discovered during excavation and written throughout all these years.

Critics slamming Ashutosh for tampering archaeological facts need some patience, because this the film is an love-revenge drama, not a factual and historical documentary on Mohenjo Daro and the Indus Valley Civilization .

Believe it or not, Mohenjo Daro is back in mainstream with this movie and it will definitely open floodgates of popular interest on the subject. According to the official Facebook page Harappa.com:

“Twenty-one years into running Harappa.com, the release of Mohenjo Daro is a landmark for interest in the subject, traffic in the last few days has doubled to five thousand people a day, most to the Mohenjo-daro slideshow.”

As a film director Ashutosh Gowariker has successfully introduced the ancient civilization – albeit through his own imagination – to the non-history readers and to people around the world who hardly know about this ancient civilization.

Ashutosh's hard work, imagination, interest and courage to bring the prehistoric era on the mega screen is highly appreciable. Lakh lakh thora Ashutosh Gowariker and entire team of Mohenjo Daro!

P.S: If I were the Sindh Chief Minister or the Minster for Culture, Tourism and Antiques, I would have invited Ashutosh Gowariker and his team to visit archaeological sites of Mohenjo Daro .