It’s complex narrative coupled with even more complex scientific jargons make the movie a tought watch, but entertaining nevertheless.
On the other hand, today there I was witnessing a film which is able to explain complicated rocket science in layman’s terms which would be enough to make a school kid excited about science. This is one of the attributes which makes Mission Mangal easily accessible to the common Janta and that should be enough to pull the audience into the theatres.
Taking some creative liberties along the way, writer-director Jagan Shakti has come up with a film able to narrate a proud chapter in Indian History while keeping the people intrigued with the subject matter. Here’s a detailed analysis of Mission Mangal for you to decide for yourself.
The story picks up in 2010, when a team at ISRO is led by Rakesh (Akshay Kumar) as they launch a rocket into outer space. But that launch mission ends up in unexpected failure when a technical error forces the rocket to veer towards earth. The ill-fated error happens under the watchful eye of one of the mission directors Tara (Vidya Balan), but during the media-fuelled fiasco later on, Rakesh takes the blame for it. As a result, Rakesh is assigned to the far-fetched Mars Mission at ISRO, which other scientists at the organisation believes is nothing but a flight of fancy. But, the patriotic Rakesh and the industrious Tara decide to fight the odds and put India on the space map, again.
Dealing with minuscule budgets, scrutiny from their peers and pressure from all quarters Rakesh and Tara, make a team of junior scientists from ISRO with the intention of putting the Mars Mission into space within 24 months. The Mars Orbit Mission (MOM)’s team comprises of five strong women Tara, Eka (Sonakshi Sinha), Neha (Kirti Kulhari), Kritika (Taapsee Pannu) and Varsha (Nithya Menen) who wrack their brains and come up with innovative, low-cost solutions for the Mars mission. Part of the same team are Parmeshwar (Sharman Joshi) and Ananth (HG Dattatreya). Together the team endeavours to make the dream of being the first nation to successfully send an orbit mission to Mars in its first attempt, a reality.
The Plus Points
The writing of the film is as entertaining as it gets. The narrative cleverly makes use of logic, home science and alternate science to add quirky entertainment into the mix. Moments of heightened drama in the screenplay are tailor-made to please the audience, especially those who don’t have a knack for theories, equations and numbers. Mission Mangal simplifies its complex subject so that viewers of all ages and backgrounds can engage with the story and the characters. The storytelling is backed by solid characters in the MOM team, who have scientifically thought out solutions for their real-life problems, too.
The performances by the ensemble cast are strong. Akshay Kumar leads the cast with Vidya Balan as the parallel lead. Both actors team up to give measured and engaging performances as scientists who give their heart and soul to realise India’s dream of being a big player in the international space race. They are ably supported by Sonakshi Sinha, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Nithya Menen. Their team also has Sharman Joshi and senior actor HG Dattatreya, who bring in some moments of levity to the drama. Sanjay Kapoor in a brief cameo, looks outrageous at best. Dalip Tahil, who plays the NASA-return scientist with a half-American half-Indian accent doles out more laughs than advice for the other characters.
The Minus Points
On the flipside, the simplicity does get a bit too convenient on more than one occasion. The narrative could have focused more on the nuances of the mission and the authenticity of the mission control at ISRO.
At times, the characters get a bit over-the-top and then on occasions the screenplay gets a bit pedantic. Even the CGI is pretty average. But then, the feeling of patriotism and national pride does eclipse the minor pitfalls of this mission.
All In All
Under the vision of creative director R Balki and an average execution by filmmaker Jagan Shakti, ‘Mission Mangal’ makes good with its emotional highs and drama. In the end, when you see India’s scientists celebrate their hard-earned victory with the Mangalyaan orbiting Mars, you can’t help but cheer for the triumph of a nation and its scientific success.
We’re going with 3 out of 5 stars for Mission Mangal. Despite its ups and downs, this story does make you believe that dreams do come true, even in the vast expanses of the outer spa.