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Will Akshay Kumar's Rustom beat Hrithik Roshan's Mohenjo Daro at the box office? 

12 August will see two big stars clash at the box office with the release of Akshay Kumar's Rustom and Hrithik Roshan's Mohenjo Daro. Going by the reviews of the trailers online, Rustom seems to have the upper hand for now. 

Shriram Iyengar

Akshay Kumar's appearance as the suave naval commander accused of a scandalous murder in Rustom's first trailer has set the social media on fire. The dapper Kumar looks to be in his element playing a patriotic naval officer who commits a crime of passion. Based on the infamous KM Nanavati case, Rustom is directed by debutante director, Tinu Suresh Desai, and will arrive on 12 August. By all signs, the film looks to be another success for Akshay, except for one little flaw. It releases on the same day as Hrithik Roshan's epic Mohenjo Daro. 

Mohenjo Daro is directed by Ashutosh Gowariker and carries all the staples of his previous films. A period film set in the Harappan era, the film stars Hrithik and Pooja Hegde as citizens of the lost city of Mohenjo Daro fighting to protect it. The trailer, shot extravagantly with a balance of stunning VFX and high octane action sequences, supported by the brilliant background score of AR Rahman, was received well. The focus of the trailer was Hrithik's Sarman, a common indigo farmer, fighting for the rights of his people against the dictatorial rule of a tyrant, played by Kabir Bedi. 

However, the reception of the trailers has been contrasting. Gowariker's trailer was panned by many critics on social media for its historical inaccuracies. The main point of contention was the costumes of Chaani, played by Pooja Hegde. The use of a VFX alligator to add to the drama of the action sequence was also panned by critics. Gowariker defended the decision by saying, "We had to build a lot from imagination, and we did that after doing research and consulting the archaeologists about the possibilities and probabilities of this period, which does not get categorised as history, but as pre-history," The similarities between the sets of Jodhaa Akbar, and the overdramatic dialogues did not help the trailer's reviews either. 

Meanwhile, Rustom has had a great reception online. With dramatic scenes, a controversial plot, and a glamorous setting, the trailer for the film looks stunning. Akshay Kumar's presence adds conviction to his portrayal of a headstrong, idealist naval officer caught in the wrong circumstances. The Nanavati case remains one of the most controversial scandals to have hit Indian newspapers, and thus, has an added attraction for viewers. The only risk remains the abilities of the director, Tinu Suresh Desai, who has helmed the film. Desai's previous film 1920 London (2016) had bombed without a trace and was panned ruthlessly by critics and audiences alike. The film also rests on the shoulders of Akshay Kumar, since neither Esha Gupta or Ileana D'Cruz are known for their hits or acting capabilities. 

Either way, both films offer audiences a chance to watch two of the most important historical events from a different perspective. Incidentally, Hrithik was quick to congratulate Akshay on the release of Rustom's trailer. Both stars seem comfortable at the thought of their films going up against each other. 

Perhaps, only the box office might provide a correct answer as to which one of them would make it. Till then, all we can do is wait for 12 August.