A humorously ‘mangled’ yaan!

Film: Mission Mangal

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Tapsee Pannu, Sonakshi Sinha, Kriti Kulhari, Nithya Menen, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Sharman Joshi, H G Dattatreya, Vikram Gokhale, Dalip Tahil, Sanjay Kapoor

Director: Jagan Shakti

Rating: * * ½

India’s very first and successful satellite launch to Mars, the ‘Mars Orbiter Mission’, costing Rs 400 crore – a fraction of the cost that America spent for its own Mars Mission, a triumph without parallel, green-lighted and nurtured by the Manmohan Singh government, comes to the screen viz. Jagan Shakti’s Hindi directorial debut film ‘Mission Mangal.’ Unfortunately it presents a dumbed-down kitchen sink variety of science and the jocular treatment allotted to the narrative about trend-setting space research makes all that spectacular effort (by a largely all-woman team) seem rather trivial.

But of course it’s not without entertainment value. The script has Scientist Rakesh Dhawan (Akshay) spearhead a team constituting Tara (Vidya Balan), Eka (Sonakshi Sinha), Neha (Kirti Kulhari), Kritika (Taapsee Pannu), Varsha (Nithya Menen), Parmeshwar (Sharma Joshi) and Ananth (HG Dattatreya). The narrative, instead of conjuring high stakes tension ridden drama within the ISRO premises, prefers to swing between family squabbles and peculiar, film-tainted comedy.

The result is rather silly, irreverent and hare-brained. You even have the team embroiled in ‘Swachch Bharat’ mimicking antics, help deliver a Baby and provide post-natal care and also have Rakesh Dhawan aka Akshay Kumar, the so-called man married to science (what a hoot!) mumble some scientific jargon. The references to scientists and their connection with religion and the stock market are smartly inferred, no doubt.

Jagan Shakti also tries to incorporate social issues by showing a Muslim woman scientist being brushed-off by the estate agent because of her single status and religion. But that only goes to show that the Director hasn’t done any serious research about his film’s subject matter. Neither the science nor the scientist’s personal life stories connect much with reality as we know it.

The dumbing down treatment given to established scientific theories trivialises the entire experience. Even the unpolished CGI doesn’t cut much ice here. All the actors do their part in making this experience frivolously entertaining. But is this all we can expect from mainstream Hindi cinema..? Definitely a question that all cine goers must ask themselves.