Directed by Shantanu Bagchi
Mission Majnu is mentioned only once, or maybe twice, in the entire film. That’s the codeword for RAW agent Amandeep (Siddharth Malhotra)’s mission across the border.
Now the kaum in Pakistan in Indian cinema means green everywhere and the characters in skull caps addressing one another as ‘janaab’, which is not how people in Pakistan speak. Where is the normal conversation?
But yes, to the film’s credit, civilians in Pakistan are not demonized for once, only the politicians are. And they, I am sorry to say, come across as fools and clowns. No fault of the good actors Rajit Kapur, Shishir Mishra et al. who try hard to confer some dignity to their characters.
But it is a losing battle. When it comes to the depiction of Pakistan in Hindi cinema it always is: a losing battle, I mean. In every sense. In this film the desh-bhakti jingoism goes even further: when THEY make nuclear weapons they are evil. When we do it , it we just protecting ourselves from evil.
Having to wade through the political stereotyping is not easy. Once we get through it Mission Majnu has a sweet tender love story at its core. Siddharth Malhotra masquerading as Tariq plays the wide-eyed Majnu to Rashmika Mandana sightless-eyed Nasreen. Their chemistry is filled with tender sighs and shimmering shayari. Some of the supporting cast playing Pakistani civilians is interesting . Bijitesh De’s cinematography captures the bazaar bustle with vigorous visuals.
The climax squeezes out a tear or two from the audience, although it is tackily shot. But I must say Lucknow pretending to be Lahore is as convincing as Siddharth Malhotra pretending to be Tariq Ali.
The lead pair brings a certain thehrao [stillness) to their roles. I especially liked Rashmika raving about Dharmendra and Sholay –this is the 1970s, by the way—although I am not sure how she saw Sholay.
I am also not sure I know why Rashmika is blind in the film. She just is. Just like the sky is blue Rashmika is blind. Such a pity she won’t able to watch Mission Majnu.