'Mission Majnu' review: Bland watch lacks thrills, excitement, and intrigue
Shantanu Bagchi's Mission Majnu landed on Netflix on Friday. It stars Sidharth Malhotra and Rashmika Mandanna in the lead roles, while Parmeet Sethi and Sharib Hashmi star in supporting roles. The thriller-drama brings to the fore lesser-known Indian bravehearts' story, but the scattershot film is a chore to sit through, an ordinary, forgettable affair you find difficult to root for or even care for.
This is what the film is all about
Inspired by true events, the movie follows Amandeep Ajitpal Singh (Malhotra), who works as a tailor in Pakistan, where he has been sent to thwart the country's aspirations to become a nuclear power. There, he falls in love with and eventually marries a visually impaired girl Nasreen (Mandanna). Hashmi and Kumud Mishra—who also live as undercover agents in Pakistan—aid him in the mission.
Screenplay can't stand on its own and constantly needs Malhotra
Mission Majnu's story is not too dissimilar from other movies cut from the same cloth, and there have been numerous in the past, such as War and Raazi. Malhotra tries to channel his character from Shershaah but there's only so much he can do in a film that is constructed using a brick of stereotypes and uses every (predictable) trick in the book.
Doesn't hold our attention, doesn't draw us in at all
Mission Majnu's obsession with telling us the same thing multiple times really distances us from the film. For instance, he is the son of a traitor—a fact that is hammered into our brains endless times lest we forget it. For all the patriotic fervor and zeal it so impatiently wants to display, it ironically fails to hold our attention and interest from the get-go.
At times, it feels like a checklist of important events
Another aspect that robs us of any entertainment is that it feels less like cinema and more like a checklist of facts and important events. It lacks the bite of Raazi, which was another film based on a remarkable true story or, say, the commercial appeal of Ek Tha Tiger. It may have its heart in the right place, but alas, that seldom suffices.
Plenty of coincidences make it tough to take film seriously
Despite a story that should demand our undivided attention, Mission Majnu becomes a yawn-inducing affair because it struggles to supply the thrills the genre demands, and ends up swerving between romance and spy-thriller. A string of coincidences and usage of deus ex machina also trigger question after question. Eventually, even when something supposedly important transpires, you are miles ahead of the caring point.
Despite lack of meat, Mandanna largely remains watchable
The film has an emotionally uplifting climax that works due to Malhotra and Mandanna's performances, and even though it's too late, it makes you feel for the characters. The usage of real footage from the 1971 Indo-Pak War and other important historical events also lends it a documentary-like feel. Moreover, Mandanna's grip on Hindi is far better than in her previous Hindi release, Goodbye.
We don't recommend investing your time in 'Mission Majnu'
Mission Majnu will be counted as one of the better films in Malhotra's career (performance-wise), but regardless, you won't lose out on much if you don't stream it. The climax wakes you up from slumber, but by then, the ship has already sunk. At one point, Malhotra says, "Finer details make the bigger picture," and that exactly encapsulates why this doesn't work. 2/5 stars.