just like how Eid is synonymous with a Salman Khan release, the Independence Day holiday isn’t complete without an Akshay Kumar starrer. From 2013 to 2018, he has had a release during this beneficial weekend, barring 2014. 2019 is no exception and this time, he is out with MISSION MANGAL, based on an important chapter of India’s history. The mood of the film is also apt, considering that just last month, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched Chandrayaan-2 towards the moon. MISSION MANGAL has all the trappings of a blockbuster. So does it turn out to be as exciting and entertaining as expected? Or does the content fails to entice? Let’s analyse.
MISSION MANGAL is the incredible true story behind India’s mission to Mars. The film begins in 2010. At the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), a space mission under Rakesh Dhawan (Akshay Kumar) fails after Tara Shinde (Vidya Balan) in his team makes an error in judgement. As a punishment posting, he’s asked to handle India’s Mars program, which is not expected to take off anytime soon. A few days later, Tara while cooking puris in her home has a Eureka moment. She realises that through innovative methods, they can try to get our satellite reach Mars in just two years. She tells Rakesh about the plan and he realises it’s a golden opportunity. Rakesh approaches his senior (Vikram Gokhale) for approval who finds the idea unfeasible. Also Rupert Desai (Dalip Tahil) who has come from NASA to join ISRO feels that Rakesh’s idea is ridiculous. Rakesh however manages to persuade and begins work. He asks for the best of the men from ISRO for this project. However he’s given inexperienced colleagues like Kritika Aggarwal (Taapsee Pannu), Eka Gandhi (Sonakshi Sinha), Varsha Gowda (Nithya Menen), Neha Siddiqui (Kirti Kulhari) and Parmeshwar Naidu (Sharman Joshi) and a very senior employee Ananth Iyer (H G Dattatreya). What happens next forms the rest of the film.
Jagan Shakti’s story is superb and also very challenging. It’s not easy to pen down a mainstream film with such a plot. Also many are not aware of what transpired behind the making of India’s Mars mission. Hence it’ll be exciting for them to witness the whole journey. Also there are so many twists and turns in the plot that one might not believe that some of the plot points are actually true incidents. R Balki, Jagan Shakti, Nidhi Singh Dharma and Saketh Kondipathi’s screenplay not only simplifies the proceedings but also make it massy. The screenplay blends science and entertainment seamlessly. The film’s goings on are extremely easy to comprehend. R Balki, Jagan Shakti, Nidhi Singh Dharma and Saketh Kondipathi’s dialogues are effective and funny.
Jagan Shakti’s direction is terrific for a first timer. He had a winning screenplay in his hand and he takes it to another level with his execution. The film has also has subplots of each of the main characters and even these are very well woven in the narrative. And through these tracks too, the makers have made some important comments about religion, parenting, marriage, religious bias etc. and all these contribute to the film hugely.
MISSION MANGAL starts off beautifully showing Tara running a house efficiently on the day ISRO has an important launch. Rakesh’s entry and the confrontation scene when he’s offered Mars program is intriguing as well as entertaining. It also makes it clear that the film won’t get serious and that the entertainment quotient will be maintained. The rest of the team is introduced in a quick but interesting montage like sequences and it adds a lot to the film. The first half moves swiftly with no complaints. The second half is longer and the commencing portions are where the film drops. Also to see the team renovating their work station at a time when they are running against time is a bit too much. Thankfully the film soon picks up. The best is obviously reserved for the finale. There are a lot of obstacles faced by the team here and it makes the film even more gripping. The finale is applause worthy.
MISSION MANGAL is embellished with some fine performances. Akshay Kumar is in top form. He gets to play such a splendid role and gets into the skin of his character. And he’s very much there throughout the film! The way his character rarely gets serious and makes even serious discussions light and funny is seen to be believed. One of the greatest sequences of the film is when he makes an imaginary call to none other than APJ Abdul Kalam. Vidya Balan dominates most of the first half and suits her character to the T. It’s also admirable that she has no qualms playing mother to teenagers. Sonakshi Sinha is lovely and gets to shine. It’s great to see how she makes an impact in a supporting role. Taapsee Pannu is also quite efficient and gives her best in the climax. Nithya Menen has a smaller role but it serves as a great debut. Kirti Kulhari manages to score and many would be able to relate to her character’s struggles. Sharman Joshi is funny and would surely make viewers smile. H G Dattatreya is adorable and the scene where he teaches Kirti’s ex hubby a lesson is too good! Dalip Tahil is appropriate as the pessimist. Sanjay Kapoor (Sunil Shinde) is the surprise of the film. He delivers a fine performance and post interval he goes in another mode that would be greeted with whistles in cinemas! Purab Kohli (Vivek) and Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub (Rishi) lend able support. Rohan Joshi (Dilip Shinde) is hilarious and even heartening as Vidya Balan’s son. Kashmira Pardeshi (Anya Shinde) gets no scope. Vikram Gokhale is decent. Others are also good in their respective parts.
Amit Trivedi’s music is well interspersed with the proceedings. ‘Dil Mein Mars Hai’ is entertaining and catchy. ‘Shaabaashiyaan’ is played at a crucial juncture. Amit Trivedi’s background score is engaging.
S Ravi Varman’s cinematography is quite simple and has the big screen effect. Sandeep Ravade’s production design is praiseworthy as it’s straight out of life. Debashish Mishra’s sound design is also as real as it gets. Sham Kaushal’s action is good in the lone action scene inside the metro. Famulus Media and Entertainment’s VFX is top class without which the long climax would not have worked so well. Theia Tekchandaney’s costumes are appealing yet not too glamorous. Kirti Kolwankar and Maria Tharakan’s costumes for Vidya Balan are authentic. Chandan Arora’s editing is just perfect as the film neither moves too fast nor drags.
On the whole, MISSION MANGAL is engaging and entertaining while being patriotic in its feel. At the box office, it will be accepted whole heartedly by the audiences and has the potential to emerge as Akshay Kumar’s highest grosser ever