Movie Review: Mission Mangal keeps the ‘josh’ high

At a time, when mission Kashmir is dominating news headlines, Mission Mangal adds to the overall sense of ‘feel good’ for Indians. Add the other I-Day release, Batla House, the recent movies on the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on ex-PM Manmohan Singh, The Tashkent Files (which sadly I haven’t managed to view), Uri and the preceding projects of Akshay Kumar, nationalism is clearly on the rise.

Even otherwise, its tough to be a critic to Mission Mangal. In layman terms, Project Mangalyaan (2014) is India’s rags to riches World Cup victory in a domain played by all 195 countries of the world, at a fraction of the budget in which others have achieved and in her maiden attempt. The Americans had failed four times, the Russians couldn’t make to Mars on first eight attempts, while India did it on her first shot. The brains behind the mission, ISRO, later went on to launch 104 satellites in one shot. That was like another World cup won – not the quadrennial event, but ones that are achieved once in a generation. Even the movie likens the Mars Mission to India’s 1983 ‘underdogs to Cricket World Cup Champions’ journey.

Strengths

Akshay Kumar is my favourite superstar actor, much ahead of the Khans; I drool at Taapsee Pannu’s effusive smile and love the strength of purpose that Vidya Balan displays in each of her characters. Add to it, Kirti Kulhari’s expressions, plenty of laugh inducing moments and star of the cast, Kannada actor, H. G. Dattatreya.

With that background, it was tough for me to find any flaw with Mission Mangal. The technical nuances have been explained simplistically enough; the insurmountable challenge built up well; the tough job of bringing down a technology heavy movie to a emotional watch is achieved with some ease. Mission Mangal is a story that needed to be told. Also to pass the message that behind every housewife look, there could be a global level achiever; behind every grey haired simpleton, there could be a person who has taken India to the grandest stage.

A bit too many social causes fitted

If Mission Mangal suffers from one ailment, it’s the introduction of too many social messages within limited timeline. There is debate on religious freedom, on Muslim divorcee struggling to rent a house, a mom getting frequent taunts for not bearing a child, tiny houses with foldable beds and dining tables, the need for women to be independent, to learn driving to stay safe, woman being bullied at home, superstitious beliefs etc etc.

Yet, as a viewer, its easy to overlook all that and stay focussed on the strong nationalistic fervour. There is a strong tribute to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, push for ‘Make in India’, and dialogues that pump you up.

‘Be original, make your own path.’

‘Dream is not what you see while sleeping. A dream is one, that doesn’t let you sleep.’

And after the successful launch ‘Poori duniya se kaho, COPY THAT’

Rating: 3.75/5

Hows the josh? High… Sir. Do watch Mission Mangal.

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