Mission Mangal review: Celebration of desi science

The women of Mission Mangal

Hindi (U)

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Tapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Nithya Menen

Director: Jagan Shakti

Rating: Two and a half stars

Pooris, plastic and cushion covers are what Mars dreams are made of. Under Akshay Kumar, India's frugal mission to the red planet is more home science than rocket science. No complaints. Even APJ Abdul Kalam dials up from the stratosphere to say shabash.

So our humble PSLV carries an even humbler satellite and tons of technology derived from pooris that turn fluffy even when the gas stove is off, sail boats that adorn our cushion covers, and the all-withstanding plastic we casually throw into the oceans.

Most of the eureka moments in Mission Mangal are contributed by the five graceful women on Akshay's team. Project lead Vidya Balan is a Mommy Cool who finds a perfect foil in husband Sanjay Kapoor (Dad Paranoid).

Nithya Menen has serious mom-in-law issues while Kirti Kulhari fails to find accommodation because of her Muslim surname. Tapsee Pannu is the biggest challenge on Indian roads; she mistakes her driving teacher's nether regions for a gear lever. Sonakshi Sinha fares better. She smokes and sleeps around.

All these scientists are scooped out of their comfortable ISRO projects and huddled into MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission). The journey is feel-good, but the science is all cardboard, with the lay person in mind. Sigh, the viewers deserve smarter bites. Instead, what they get for a villain is NASA-returned Dalip Tahil who is quick to tsk-tsk anything Indian.

And all this while, Akshay Kumar hums and butchers old Hindi songs. Nutty scientist, got it?  

The mission looks amateurish but one must agree a tricolour in space, at the end of it all, lights up the whole show.

Wait, the show isn't over yet. As the end credits roll, Modi makes an appearance and stakes his claim to a project launched by Manmohan Singh.

Mission hijacked.

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