02 Hours 13 Minutes
Star Cast: Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu and Sonakshi Sinha
Directors: Jagan Shakti
Producer: R. Balki
In Theaters: 15 August 2019
'Mission Mangal', which is being touted as India's first space film stars Akshay, Taapsee, Vidya, Nitya Menon and Sonakshi in the main lead. Before hitting the theatres near you check out the movie review by Senior Journalist and Author Bharathi Pradhan.
When GSLV Fat Boy, a space mission fails, ISRO scientists Rakesh Dhawan and Tara Shinde are as deflated as the aborted rocket. Until frying pooris at home with the gas turned off fuels Tara’s imagination to go on an impossible mission.
Rakesh, a bachelor who knows no religion but science and keeps stress at bay with a film tune or two, is equally fired by Tara’s idea. Together with a motley team of scientists, they put India on Mars, a feat which far better equipped nations like USA and Russia couldn’t pull off. If sending Mangalyaan to Mars on a budget less than the cost of a rickshaw ride per mile, was mission impossible, it’s equally difficult to explain a space mission in such an entertaining and elevating manner.
R Balki’s writing has it all: a housewife like Tara juggling between growing up problems of her children and the mission. Varsha Pillai who’s pleasantly plump and desperately trying an IVF procedure. Kritika Agarwal who can’t drive a car for nuts and has an injured soldier-husband who eggs her on to do this mission for India. Divorcee Neha Siddiqui who can’t get a house also because of her surname. Sunita Williams’ fan Eka Gandhi who grew up in an orphanage and has only NASA as her dream job. And just when Rakesh Dhawan starts wondering if he’s been handed a women’s team, he gets a religious young man who can’t get a matrimonial match and a 59-year-old Iyer with sagging shoulders, joining him. Watch how beautifully Rakesh makes those shoulders go up and the chest puff up for fabulous morale lifting.
Inspiring such a team to sit up and infuse passion into the mission is so warmly handled by Rakesh and Tara that the viewer begins to feel like a part of the team. You jeer at Rupert, the token antagonist who sneers at the programme. And you cheer each time the team gets it spot on.
There are so many wonderfully written scenes that you lose count. Akshay Kumar jabbering in Tamil with Abdul Kalam brings a smile. And Tara’s cake with a message that says, ‘Happy birthday to the scientist in us’ wets your eyelids.
Director Jagan Shakti packs so many little messages on pride, patriotism and women power using a blend of entertainment and emotion that it is one of the most fulfilling films of recent times.
Saying so much in 133 minutes is a feat by itself.
Chandan Arora’s editing is slick and this is Akshay Kumar’s Chak De! India. His performance as Rakesh Dhawan is completely satisfying. There’s even a sequence in the metro where the women on the team beat up goons who’re harassing Akshay. So utterly delightful.
Vidya Balan is superlative as Tara in a role that stands tall along with the hero. Sonakshi Sinha, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Nitya Menon, Sanjay Kapoor and Sharman Joshi are all handpicked for their roles. Veterans Vikram Gokhale, Dalip Tahil and HG Dattatreya complete the spectrum.
The dialogues match the rest of the film. Simple but effective like, ‘Dreams are not what you see when you sleep. Dreams don’t let you sleep’. In another scene, Tara tells a colleague who has to make the most compact shuttle, ‘Don’t think small. Just make things small’.
By the time Mangalyaan goes into the orbit of Mars, every viewer has a fervent prayer on the lip. And when it gives its first victory beep, it’s like a stadium cheering the winner after a tense finale. Tell the world, copy that!
Jagan Shakti signs off by paying tribute to Dr Kalam, Vikram Sarabhai and the other scientific brains who’ve fuelled India’s ambitious space programmes. And there are a few lines from Prime Minister Modi on one of the most ambitiously successful space missions ever.
Disclaimer: We are proud that LehrenTV reviewer Bharathi S Pradhan has been appointed an advisory member of the prestigious CBFC. However, her reviews reflect her personal appraisal of a film and do not in any way speak on behalf of the Censor Board.
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