65 mine workers are trapped inside, and Akshay Kumar’s Jaswanth Singh Gill comes on the mic and tells them the reason why they were not intimated about the presence of poisonous gas was that they would get tensed and their faces would end up looking like Poori. I am not making this up. If this kind of dialogue/ sense of humor on the face of people facing death works for you, I would say the ultra-cliched heroism package in the new movie Mission Raniganj might be for you. From terrible CGI to a script that sounds like an AI-generated biopic formula, there is hardly anything in this Tinu Suresh Desai film that can be considered a positive takeaway.
The story is about the mining tragedy that happened in Raniganj Coalfields in 1989. The mining explosion resulted in flooding, and almost 71 miners got stuck inside that mine. When the authorities were struggling to come up with a solution, Jaswanth Singh Gill came up with a plan to evacuate the people stuck inside by digging a pothole that would connect with the highest point inside the mine. How Gill and his team managed to do that in a short period despite various circumstantial and political hurdles in front of them is what we see in Mission Raniganj: The Great Bharat Rescue (subtlety was not even there in the naming of the film)
If you try to research the real-life character on whom this movie is based, the information available in the public domain is minimal. But to understand how much the film has been fictionalized, you don’t really need to check too many facts. The script written by Vipul K Rawal is like the get-together party of the biopic scripting tropes. The hero is introduced as a protector, followed by a song. The hero will be the one single-handedly leading and doing all the major steps in the operation, and all the people who are against him will be caricatures who won’t try to act like they have concerns about people’s lives. The purpose of the wife’s character is to boast about the selflessness of the hero.
Akshay Kumar is very much playing Akshay Kumar, and the only thing different is that beard, which clearly doesn’t look that real. The same style of dialogue delivery but in another attire. It was so sad to see Kumud Mishra getting to play the role of a helpless senior whose only character trait is smoking cigarettes with a shivering hand. The only Bengali in this movie set in West Bengal, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, gets this caricature-like antagonist character. People like Pawan Malhotra, Ravi Kishan, and Jameel Khan are all part of the cast, but they are all given these characters that are so flatly written. Parineeti Chopra pretty much repeats her Kesari act as the overtly supporting and confident wife of Jaswant Singh Gill.
When the movie was moving from one cliched scripting trope to another, I wondered whether rejecting fresh suggestions was the basic motto for writing the script. Every moment in the movie is really loud, literally and dramatically. The very first combination scene conversation between the characters played by Akshay Kumar and Parineeti Chopra itself feels a bit weird. It’s like the writer has forgotten the fact that the viewers are seeing them for the first time. They have been husband and wife for a long time. A similar thing can be seen in how the writing depicts the workers and officials at the sight of the tragedy. This spoon-fed and formulaic tone of the script gets no tweak from director Tinu Suresh Desai. The visual effects quality and some of the flat green screen scenes were atrociously bad for a movie with a budget of around 125 crores.
The fact that this is based on a true story is like a defensive shield for the makers to run away from possible criticism on lack of novelty and craft, just like how PK uses stickers on his cheek to avoid getting slaps. I really hope the underwhelming buzz around Mission Raniganj gives Bollywood that wake-up call to work on their scripts properly rather than being this biopic manufacturing factory.
I really hope the underwhelming buzz around Mission Raniganj gives Bollywood that wake-up call to work on their scripts properly rather than being this biopic manufacturing factory.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended