Mission Mangal also released with an Independence Day extended Thursday opening. Directed by Jagan Shakti (assistant director of English Vinglish and Paa), the film is starring Vidya Balan, Nithya Menon, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Sonakshi Sinha, Sharman Joshi, HG Dattatreya and the leading man ofcourse- Akshay Kumar.
Every year there comes a film which tells an important true story which deserved to get told on the screens. And it was none but Akshay who started this amazing trend with 2013’s Special Chhabbis. Last year, Alia Bhatt wore it like a majestic crown in Meghna Gulzar’s extremely essential Raazi. And this year, Akshay Kumar breaks the floor, coming up with two such pathbreaking tales- the first being about the glorious battle of Saragarhi, and only months later, the story of Mangalyaan and India’s reach to the Mars at the first attempt.
Mangalyaan’s success wasn’t an easy task to ace. The success rate of the mission probabled to just 0.8%, and the whole mission was budgeted at just ₹445 crores. The group of scientists led by visionaries like S. Radhakrishnan and Ritu Karidhal led the mission to its destination in 2013, that is 10 years ahead of 2023, the year it was slated to take place.
The writing of this film is just amazing. It was nice to see the dialogue delivery being flowed upon. R. Balki gives his patriotism good wings in Mission Mangal. Yes, R. Balki was never really productive with his job except Paa, but he certainly knows how to ace a script full of emotions and he also knows how to make a film- a film, and not more than that. He does exactly that to the writing, blending emotions with equations, facts with fiction. He sort of writes a Sci-Nonfi, which is a sci-fi with the drapery of an Indian soap opera style drama which is as sweet and dramatic as could be possible.
And what adds to the magic are its performers. Akshay Kumar is terrific in his best ever performance after Airlift. His character of Rakesh Dhawan carries more effect than Ishar Singh in Kesari. Taapsee Pannu is sweet and cute, while Nithya Menon proves her metal. Kirti Kulhari is given absolutely nothing to work on her character- she is her character from Pink who is involved in a great mission and not in a problem. Sharman Joshi is Sharman Joshi but great. HG Dattatreya provides delight to the storyline. But what makes this drama poignant to its best form is Vidya Balan- and let me report, she is more excellent and charming than Sulu, a similar character she played in Tumhari Sulu. Her Tara Shinde carries the MOM power the film rests upon- she is the Mom because of whom India’s ‘Mars. Orbiter. Mission’ is successful. We proudly feel it.
Akshay Kumar has taken in the film heroines of his from each film- Vidya Balan (Bhool Bhualiya, Thank You, Heyy Babyy), Taapsee Pannu (Nam Shabaana, Baby) and Sonakshi Sinha (Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobaara!, Holiday, Rowdy Rathore). Nithya and Kirti are breakouts. But all these five women lead the screens with their unmatchable and charming presence, showing backseat to Akshay Kumar once they enter.
This film again proves his metal and performance storytelling- he is better in ‘subjective story films’ than ‘story subject films’. His Padman or Toilet ek prem katha were subject films with little relevant story, so they didn’t work for me. Again, his ‘story films’ Baby, Naam Shabana and Gold didn’t work because these were story films which didn’t work on expanding our understanding of the themes. But when he has all of it in right proportion like in Airlift, Special Chhabbis or OMG- Oh. My. God! he makes it work. This is one of those brilliant films.
Also, the film is visually remarkable. Cinematographer Ravi Varman dazzles the film with his impeccable cinematic lights, and even without a high-budgeted special effects framework, Jagan manages to create extravagant and stunning M.O.M (Mars Orbitter Mission/Mangalyaan).
But this is not perfect drama, many of the certain aspects of the storytelling are stretched, and the characterization is a little to silly to get true. There are feelings, but the architecture of the film isn’t scientific enough to be called a science film. No ‘science drama’ story here. It promises fun and feelings, but doesn’t quite soar fairytale high on many things. Believe me, the film is well-crafted, but the nationalism is technically too one-note.
The mission, its characters and the writing of their backdrops has been oddly glamorized. Dalip Tahil as the NASA return Rupert Desai is caricaturish- we may contrast him with the ideal, upright foreign return Ayan Ranjan of Article 15, but he isn’t close enough in comparison since it’s an exhausting performance. They keep science and other things apart from each other, and only a little has been done to explore the fascination of these characters towards space and their professional quotient. The family lives-angle is just like any Bollywood movie. But still, Jagan Shakti has observed these relationships carefully and made them meaty enough to be interesting as well as entertaining.
You must watch Mission Mangal because it is a certain triumph of vision. Yes, it has clumsy visualisation, but it takes to the point its inspiration. Clearly, its a film which gets to its source material.
Verdict- Three-and-a-half out of five. 3.5 / 5.
Ajay films critic
wonderful narration. applaud moments. nice cast. great movie to watch
There is an overlying sense of artificiality in the way Mission Mangal (Mars Mission) has been made, with abundant textbook techniques to mix comedy and drama into the proceedings of a vastly technical subject such as an organization's attempt to send a satellite on the Martian orbit. It ends up as a series of cringe-worthy sequences. For a film that demands realism as the only single factor, Mission Mangal strays away from it right from the word go! as we see the actors fooling around in office and wherever they go. It's a good idea by writer R Balki to refer home science as the solution to issues hampering space travel but the way they have been dramatized makes the discerning viewer coil in anger and disgust. Melodrama takes the limelight in the film that can be best characterized as a lackluster take on a historic feat, that only gets worse as you proceed watching it, eventually leading you to a specific scene where a gang of inebriated Isro scientists brawl in a metro car all of which reeks of self-righteousness. Mission Mangal is a mockery of the very subject that it pays homage to. There's no reason to spend any money on this and I would instead recommend going through the Wikipedia page of the actual mission instead. TN.