Chronicling an event that recently boosted India’s strength, director Jagan Shakti’s film is a must watch
What comes to your mind when you listen to the word ‘scientist’? Probably an aged person with grey hair surrounded by formula and theorems of maths, physics or chemistry. Mission Mangal turns your world upside down here. This one brings forth the fact that scientists are not necessarily geeks, but extremely fun loving people, only very good in their skill. Apart from the fact that the film fills you with pride, it is the humane touch that finds foot hold along with great storytelling and a nail-biting climax.
The story is based on India’s 2013 Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) alias Mangalyaan conducted successfully by ISRO in it’s maiden attempt (only country having achieved this) marking the country’s name in the landmark achievements’ list (India is the fourth country in the world to reach Mars). The story is about how a group of dedicated and determined scientists overcome their personal and professional inhibitions to carry out one of the toughest and most remarkable space missions.
Written by Shakti and R Balki (who is also the creative director), the story needed to be told, without a question. Managing to send a spacecraft to Mars in it’s first attempt and deploy it exactly where it should be with 100% accuracy is no mean feat.
Secondly, the way the film is scripted is very interesting. Here you are not thrown into a world of astrophysics where a common person can’t understand the concepts. While the information is always the priority keeping the film serious in approach, it is topped with very endearing and amicable treatment so that even a child understands the nitty-gritties of the mission.
The scientists here have problems of their own, and they come with witty solutions. It’s the smart portrayal of jugaad that comes into place, which Indians are known for, which is also why the film is immensely likable. You are fed the crucial information about the mission including planning, logistics, finances, and even failures while you are smiling at how things have played on screen.
What makers must also be credited for is the screen space allotted to all the actors playing scientists. It’s a clear case of marvelous casting of actors where they suit what shoes they are in. Firstly they are introduced well (their spaces not directly related to the plot though), to add to which they also contribute significantly and in their own respective ways. Mind you, everybody is different, and this very quality makes the film more believable.
There are scenes that make you laugh. Some make you think. Some make you feel bad on how things aren’t falling into place. Some even make you want to get up and salute the people for never giving up. It is a mix. A perfect blend of emotions, cultures, and dedication. Remember, it’s a story where you know the end. Hence writing it in a way that you are immersed all through is all the way more challenging.
If this is by and large how things happened in real life, the mission becomes worthier than what it is. More than anything, it is impeccable writing that entices you. The scenes are genuine with inherent humor. The story sails smoothly with conflicts woven seamlessly. Yes you do find glitches in the form of breathers in the 2nd half, but given the grandeur of the film, they are just to be passed off.
Akshay Kumar is a charmer. Can he ever go wrong in such a territory? He never ceases to impress. A huge round of applause for pulling off this character with such flair. You love him in every scene. He makes the entire thing so enriching that you are up for an amazing ride all through.
Vidya Balan has very interesting things to offer to the plot. Her character is of a trouble shooter and undoubtedly the strongest voice in the mission. Vidya exudes warmth in how she portrays the character. Tapsee Pannu, another fantastic actor remains in her space but strikes gold.
Sharman Joshi plays the under confident man and amuses you with his character arc. He is someone to eagerly look forward to, after 3Idiots probably. Kirti Kulhari is also very very good. Hers is a character that comes across as distinct but relatable to the core. She blows life in a character that’s actually tough to play on screen.
Nithya Menen debuts in Bollywood with this one and she performs confidently. She has her moments within the narrative. Amid all the younger lot of actors, H G Dattatreya also has a role to look for. He brings in a sense of faith and maturity to the entire team dynamics, hence it is a character very important.
Sonakshi Sinha is good too, with layers in her role. She masters them all. Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, Sanjay Kapoor, and Purab Kohli in brief roles are very effective Dalip Tahil has a definitive character graph and he does his job with great honesty.
Vikram Gokhale, although is capable of so much more, has an affable character, reason why he wins you over.
The film has two songs by Amit Trivedi, one of which give s the film the needed soul. Background score is also very good. The film has several mood tonalities and the score is also vastly varied in terms of catering to all the flavours alike.
Cinematography by Ravi Varman is worth noticing. The sets, locations, lighting, and the overall visual feel is simply pathbreaking. This was the man behind the camera in Barfi, Tamasha, Jagga Jasoos, and Sanju to name just a few. He just can’t go wrong. It’s the way in which the camera has shown things that you are connected to the film more. A superb job done. Production design by Sandeep Sharad Ravade goes perfectly in sync with the camera giving your eyes a touch of vibrancy with realism. You are actually enamored by how the film looks on screen.
Editing by Chandan Arora is extremely edgy- one of the most stellar things in this film. The film in it’s overall run time keeps you invested even though you know what is to happen. There are still things you are inquisitive about. That’s one brilliant task accomplished at the editing table by Arora. The cuts, transitions, series of events, and their flow is what makes the film engaging right from the first scene to the last.
Find a fault here and you’ll probably fail. It is a film that’s rooted in the contemporary time, boasts of a country’s achievements, brings out cultural notions of the country, imparts a social message, and is near seamless in all aspects of film making. This one should be watched for education and entertainment alike. Must be watched by one and all, by all means.