Mission Majnu Movie Review: It’s Not Shersha, But Siddharth, Rashmika’s Entertaining Hit
By Tushar Joshi: India vs Pakistan makes a great setting not only for ODIs but also for films that chronicle historical episodes of both countries. India and Pakistan have always been at odds, so the story surrounding their fight makes for an intriguing watch. If you throw in nuclear testing and words like ‘nuclear’, the setting gets even more excited.
Shantanu Bagchi’s Mission Majnu has an interesting premise. The film revolves around a RAW agent infiltrating Pakistan to uncover Pakistan’s nefarious designs to build an atomic bomb. After India’s first successful nuclear test in 1974, a worried Pakistan decided to carry out its own test with the help of shadowy allies willing to sell it materials to make its own bomb.
Tariq or Amandeep Singh (Sidharth Malhotra) is a RAW agent living in Pakistan. He marries his blind girlfriend Nasreen (Rashmika Mandana). Tariq has a dark past across the border where his father was branded a traitor in his native India. Living with the guilt of his father, Tariq’s life changes when he is assigned to India’s covert operation in Pakistan – titled Mission Majnu.
As part of this mission, Tariq along with his accomplices (Kumud Mishra and Sharif Hashmi) must provide physical evidence of Pakistan’s covert attempt to conduct a nuclear test. If they fail, they face imminent war not just with India, but with global intervention and the possibility of nuclear strikes. Mission Majnu is a 70s period film, so a lot of effort has been put into ensuring the characters, sets, locations and production design look 70s.
The film starts off well with the introduction of Tariq and Nasreen. But as the plot progresses and things get serious, the direction lacks focus. A spy thriller like Zodiac is proof that a serious subject can be filmed without feeling like a documentary. Shantanu Bagchi’s treatment of the lesson in MM is lost and confusing at some points. Does he want to make a gritty spy drama or is this a vehicle to complement the star power and weave in clichéd commercial elements like songs, romance and an action-polished climax? Also, real-life personalities like Pakistan’s General Zia-ul-Haq and India’s then Prime Minister Gandhi are seen as caricatures rather than recognizable characters.