Bruised at home, Gowariker takes heart from audience reaction at Locarno

Mohenjo Daro director says audience reaction is the biggest reward for a filmmaker.

Ashutosh Gowariker with Hrithik Roshan and Pooja Hegde at a promotional event


Ashutosh Gowariker has been humbled by the response that his film Mohenjo Daro got at the 69th edition of the Locarno International Film Festival, and says the reaction from the audience is the biggest reward for a filmmaker.

The Hrithik Roshan-starrer Mohenjo Daro was the closing film of the festival, which was held at the Italian-speaking resort of Lake Maggiore in southern Switzerland from August 3 to 13.

“Seeing the reaction of such a massive crowd, all of them so engaged while watching the film, the claps at various points and the long applause at the end; it's such a humbling experience which reminds you as a filmmaker that those reactions from the audience are our biggest rewards,” Gowariker said in a statement.

The film brings an epic adventure-romance story on the silver screen. Set in the city of Mohenjo Daro in the era of the Indus Valley civilization which dates back to 2,600 BC, the movie marked the Hindi film debut of actress Pooja Hegde.

Gowariker's Oscar-nominated film Lagaan (2001) was also screened at the Locarno festival. "When Lagaan was screened at the same Piazza Grande, on a giant screen, one of the biggest in the world, it was an out-of-the-world experience to see an audience of 8,000-plus of different nationalities applaud the film," the filmmaker recalled.

"With Mohenjo Daro, it was once again a grand night and looking out at such a massive audience and addressing them is something I still find surreal in spite of having experienced it before," he added.

Presented by UTV Motion Pictures and Ashutosh Gowariker Productions, and produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur and Sunita Gowariker, Mohenjo Daro released worldwide on 12 August. The film, made at a huge cost of more than Rs100 crore, has, however, been able to recover just half the money so far.