This Independence day, be prepared to fall in love with our Khiladi Kumar all over again as director Jagan Shakti takes you on a sophisticated, goal-oriented but women-centered trip!
Rating – 3.5 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐½
15th August equals patriotic films. Everybody knows that. And who better than our very own Indian superhero Akshay Kumar to release exceptionally unique and thought-provoking blockbuster-material movies that not only have our holiday entertainment sorted but also evoke a feeling of great pride and celebration for the holiday.
Based on the true story of Mangalyaan, India’s first ever Mars mission that it cracked in its first attempt, Mission Mangal focuses on Rakesh Dhawan (Akshay ‘hotness’ Kumar), a tad bit weird yet determined and passionate ISRO space scientist, who gets downgraded as the mission director for the Mars mission after a failed operation. Forced to stay optimistic, Rakesh and project director Tara Shinde (Vidya Balan) bring together a lackadaisical, demotivated, inexperienced team of six to make their Mars dream, a reality.
Following a carefully-designed formulaic plot, the film has a distinct lag, peak and climax, the kind you’d expect from any recent AK-starrer. Heavily driven by a strong sense of purpose, Mission Mangal establishes its expectations and end goal right from the word go – the 133 minutes to follow are fundamentally a detailed, captivating, feel-good journey taking you to the final destination. The shining star of the film, so to say, was the intelligent and beautiful looping in of personal lives – the idea that every team member had a well-defined backstory, giving each a crystal clear reason for their role, was where this spectacle hit gold!
“ Humari har samasya ki marhammat agar hum NASA se karwaane jaayenge, toh hum satyaNASA ho jaayenge!”
We have our main man Akshay Kumar doing what he does best – exhibiting crazy confidence and effortlessly convincing the audience of literally, anything. His character Rakesh’s quirky nature, involving randomly humming old Hindi songs, talking to cats and doing some OTT ‘naatak’ to make his point, is essentially what fuels the fiery tenacity of the film’s topic. But that’s not all – Rakesh Dhawan’s character goes through quite a subtle yet crucial transition, a genius strategy allowing you to build a personal relation with his persona and take a sneak-peak into the inner workings of his mind. From being the type to accept defeat, to slowly developing into a headstrong, unchained go-getter! And of course, we had those classic AK swag-filled one-liners shooting out at regular intervals, my absolute favourite one being “Aurat hai na, raat ka khaana subah tadka laga ke khila degi!”
What’s oh-so-amazing about this Jagan Shakti directorial are its five committed, energetic (did I mention stunning?) women! Vidya Balan pretty much forms the heart and soul (and brain) of the mission and the movie with her cute ‘jugaadu’ personality along with her graceful dialogue delivery. Pretty girls Taapsee Pannu and Kirti Kulhari, in particular, caught my eye! Despite taking a small amount of support from clichés such as women beating the bad guys in a metro, or a badass Sonakshi Sinha asking a modest Sharman Joshi “you’re a virgin?”, the film brings out the female-oriented enthusiasm without overdoing the feminist card. Coming to the men, we had Dalip Tahil nailing the white man role and with such an adorable Sharman Joshi, the humour was taken care of.
Integrating some genuine heartfelt as well as those much-needed goosebump moments, overall, Mission Mangal succeeds in making you smile throughout its length. Bonus points for not ending on a preachy note (my biggest worry). That being said – Akshay, I love you to the moon, sorry, Mars and back! Poori duniya se kaho “copy that!”
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