What does frying pooris with the gas switched off have to do with sending a satellite to Mars? What does Kapil Dev leading the 1983 Indian cricket team to World Cup victory have to do with India’s space mission?
The constant comparisons between cooking, cricket and India’s space programme can at times seem tedious in Mission Mangal, but if science was your weakest subject in school, take heart, the movie can seriously give you aspirations of topping your class!
Mission Mangal could at worst be held guilty of oversimplyfying India’s Mars Mission of 2013 – the Mangalyaan or Mars Orbitor Mission that showcased Isro’s ( Indian Space Research Organisation) prowess in space science, but nobody can dispute that the movie has its heart in the right place.
Directed by Jagan Shakti, it stars Akshay Kumar as Mission Leader Rakesh Dhawan, ably supported by heavy duty actors like Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu, Sonakshi Sinha, Nithya Menen, Kirti Kulhari, Sharman Joshi and H G Dattatreya.
The film is a celebration of India’s achievement in space programme even as it dramatises the events leading to the launch of Mangalyaan. While the makers have admitted it is a fictionalised account though based on authentic technicalities, Mission Mangal can at times test your patience.
We loved the fact that all the women are given solid backgrounds, even though most of them seem typecast. Sonakshi Sinha is Eka Gandhi, the ‘promiscuous’ single woman with dreams of joining Nasa, Kirti plays Neha Siddique, a divorced Muslim woman who finds it difficult to rent space in a big city like Bangalore; Nithya Menen is Varsha Gowda, who turns to IVF after being taunted by her mother-in-law for not being able to bear a child despite her qualification as a scientist. But all of them together portray the strong, middle class Indian woman who balances her household with a demanding job. We particularly love Vidya’s character, Project Director, Tara Shinde, who is unapologetically career minded and gives it back to her husband for trying to make her feel guilty for ‘ignoring’ her children for her work.
On the occasion of India’s Independence Day today, we suggest you give Mission Mangal a chance – it will give you a serious case of national pride, even if Akshay Kumar and his team give it a typical Bollywood treatment.
Film: ‘Mission Mangal’
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Nithya Menen, Sharman Joshi, H.G. Dattatreya
Direction: Jagan Shakti
Rating: 3 out of 5