One thing that has always bewildered me in most of Bollywood’s over-the-top action espionage stories is how they spoon-feed the audience about how agencies like RAW operate. The new “Deshbhakthi” package, Mission Majnu, starring Sidharth Malhotra in the central role, is yet another jingoistic action drama soaked in age-old cliches. The terrible writing of the movie needs to learn how to layer the one-liner idea into a script that can humanize a spy. And Mission Majnu is a lackluster creation that just wants to take advantage of the hyper-nationalistic political climate.
Tariq Hussain, aka Amandeep Ajitpal Singh, is an undercover agent trained by RAW. Post India’s nuclear power status, RAW gets information about Pakistan’s efforts to become a nuclear power. With absolute secrecy around the mission, it was difficult for India to find enough evidence to expose Pakistan in front of the world. How India’s agents in Pakistan helped their country in getting that proof is what we see in Mission Majnu.
The clues that Tariq finds in his investigation and how he manages to crack the case through minimal elements like a western toilet or hair samples are actually fascinating. If this was a movie made by someone like Shoojit Sircar, we would have got a smart espionage thriller that talked about intelligence rather than the over-the-top bravado of agents. The core part of the story is actually very small. So writers Aseem Arora and Parveez Shaikh are trying to stretch that episode to make it look longer. But sadly, they don’t really bother much about the dilemmas of this character and invest more in the Tom Cruise kind of action, which is somewhat generic in spy thrillers. And frankly, the visual effects or the action choreography isn’t really working in favor of this film.
The naive Pakistani tailor act of Sidharth Malhotra is actually unconvincing. The over-enthusiasm can easily make him suspicious, which isn’t great for a spy. While being the action hero, the Shershaah actor is fine. Rashmika Mandanna is pretty much playing the pretty face who sings, smiles and cries. Sharib Hashmi and Kumud Mishra play roles that are significant on a story level but rarely challenge them as actors.
The issue with most of these Pakistan-hate-filled patriotic films is how they make things convenient for the heroes by making the Pakistani officials look like a set of fools. The ease with which Aman is getting information from a Pakistani higher official about their nuclear experiments can actually irritate a RAW agent as it oversimplifies their job. The usual dosage of true-patriot dialogue is there in the movie. And it is not really that difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction from the script. The production design is also pretty lazy as you can clearly see plug points in a train in the ’70s.
Initially designed for a theatrical release, Shantanu Bagchi’s Mission Majnu is clearly a misfit for a direct-to-OTT release. Looking at how the script has broad strokes and unexciting structuring, one can see why Ronnie Screwvala opted for the safe mode. If you aren’t exhausted with the parade of template patriotic dramas that has got released in the recent past, you can try your luck with Mission Majnu.
If you aren't exhausted with the parade of template patriotic dramas that has got released in the recent past, you can try your luck with Mission Majnu.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended