Director: Shantanu Bagchi
Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Rashmika Mandanna, Sharib Hashmi, Kumud Mishra, Paremeet Sethi, Mir Sarwar, Zachary Coffin, IamrealMohsin
Available On: Netflix
Duration: 2 hours 9 minutes
‘Mission Majnu’: Story
Amandeep Singh IPS (Sidharth Malhotra), a RAW field operative heads to Pakistan on an undercover mission to investigate Pakistan’s involvement in creating nuclear weapons. He falls in love there with a blind Nasreen (Rashmika Mandanna). They get married, and the two are even expecting their first child. Now, it’s upon Singh to maintain a balance between his professional and personal life. He can’t tell her the truth about his identity, and he can’t also let his mission go to the dogs. What will he finally choose? Will love triumph over patriotism? Or will he be able to find out the secrets that he actually went to find in Pakistan? Well, for all that you’ll have to watch the movie.
‘Mission Majnu’: Performances
Sidharth Malhotra is the same happy-go-lucky chap that he has been playing in pretty much all his recent films. While he is definitely picking up different characters, but somehow or the other, the characters are all turning out to have a similar sense of humour or the body language or the emotional space. Even his patriotism has become a lot subdued. It was good to see him in ‘Shershaah’, as that character had a lot more intensity to it. However, Sidharth Malhotra just doesn’t end up getting this ‘Mission Majnu’ character to that level of intense patriotism. It feels sad to see him miss the mark once again after a terrible ‘Thank God’.
Rashmika Mandanna playing a blind girl is equally bad. Despite being blind there are numerous occasions where you can see her eyeballs waver towards the spot where the other characters are looking at. Thankfully she has lesser screen time in the movie, otherwise, there would have been many more shots throughout the film. Even though she has massacred the key characteristics of a blind person, she is still better than Sidharth Malhotra in justifying some of the finer emotional moments of the character. The child-like curiosity, the innocence in the smile and the coyness in the public display of affection, etc are some very finer nuances that she has managed to bring to the character really well. Had she put in a lot more effort towards getting the blind act perfect, the character would have been much more lovable and memorable.
Kumud Mishra and Sharib Hashmi also are decent in their smaller characters, however, considering they both are also uncovered spies, it would have been great to see a lot more about what they did in their time away from the lead character.
Stellar actors like Mir Sarwar and Parmeet Sethi have been given minuscule characters, which is a total injustice to their stature and talent.
‘Mission Majnu’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects
Shantanu Bagchi’s direction and the writing by Aseem Arrora, Sumit Batheja and Parveez Shaikh are to be blamed for the film’s numerous shortcomings.
The screenplay is filled with terrible VFX-laden shots in order to portray the late 1970s.
To add to that the way the Pakistanis have been represented as fools of the first water is rubbish. I can understand that all Indian films do show Pakistanis as slightly stupid, but this film just takes it to a whole new level.
Then, when you’re making a film from a verifiable portion of history, you shouldn’t try to take too many cinematic liberties with them. For instance, from what we all have read in our history lessons, the Israelis got involved in this scuffle between India and Pakistan’s nuclear weapon supremacy war only in the 1980s (around 1984). However, the scene has been shown in the film, which is set in the times of Prime Minister Morarji Desai, who served as PM between 1977-79.
There is also a scene depicting the iconic phone call by India’s PM Morarji Desai to Pakistan’s General Zia, where he tells him that he has proof of Pakistan trying to test out nuclear weapons. The phone call itself is too dramatic and makes you feel like you’re seeing a terribly ugly break-up scene between two jilted lovers. The forthcoming scene with the Pakistani General slamming his head of defence and related officers is even more dramatic. While there is no testament to prove how the conversations must have taken place, but being heads of the two states, it can be believed that they would speak with much more dignity.
Moving on, the songs of the movie barely do any justice. Despite having Sonu Nigam’s powerful vocals, the song ‘Maati Ko Maa Kehte Hain’ doesn’t elicit that patriotic emotion as ‘Sandese Aate Hai’ or ‘Kandhon Se Milte Hai Kandhe’ did in ‘Border’ and ‘Lakshya’ respectively. ‘Raba Janda’ is still a decent song to listen to on its own but has no place in the screenplay. It could have just been a promotional track altogether.
Bijitesh De’s cinematography doesn’t help the sinking ship either. The era of the late 1970s isn’t created as good as it could have been. There are shots of fighter planes and weapon carrier planes which hadn’t been even invented around that era, and they were yet shown in the film, which was set in the 1970s. The VFX also seems to be very low on quality, and not up to the standard which was expected from a film like ‘Mission Majnu’.
The editing by Nitin Baid and Siddharth S. Pande is decent. It keeps the climax taut and gives you some patriotic feel-good factor. They’ve managed to keep the length of the film decently short, which must also be lauded.
‘Mission Majnu’: Can Kids Watch It?