Director: Shantanu Bagchi | Screenplay: Parveez Sheikh, Aseem Arrora, Sumit Batheja Cast: Sidharth Malhotra (Amandeep Singh/Tariq), Rashmika Mandanna (Nasreen), Parmeet Sethi (RN Kao), Kumud Mishra (Raman Singh), Sharib Hashmi (Aslam Usmaniya) ea | Time to play: 129 minutes | Year: 2022
On May 18, 1974, India launches its first nuclear test, at the time of a global arms race. With a nuclear force on the border, Pakistan cannot be left behind and begins its own tests. India wants nothing to do with it, which is what the new RAW mission of India’s foreign intelligence service has created. majnu mission is the romantic story of an Indian James Bond who crushes Pakistan’s nuclear power with a lot of swagger, luck, and a beautiful lady by his side.
As the Indian equivalent of MI6 and the CIA, RAW became a key player in the fighting between Pakistan and India. In majnu mission after several wars, the two neighboring countries are depicted clearly separated by borders of religion and nationality. RAW agents stationed in Pakistan pretend to be strict Muslims, but they praise Lord Shiva in the presence of others and are not averse to fierce declarations of love for the Indian homeland.
Amandeep Singh lives as the friendly tailor Tariq in Pakistan. His secret mission, codenamed Mission Majnu, is to detect Pakistani nuclear weapons. But there is more at stake. He owes his double identity to the betrayal of his father, for whom Tariq must now pay to clear his name. He fights unwaveringly for his honor and his homeland, and above all he does not listen to his cruel boss on the other end of the line, who spits on him for his origin.
As a cover, Tariq marries the beautiful but blind Nasreen, for whom he soon loses his heart. Gradually, their romantic married life becomes more and more of a facade, as Tariq crosses the country without Nasreen’s knowledge. He slowly goes on the trail of a dangerous nuclear physicist (trained in the Netherlands!) and his secret facility. As Israeli fighter jets threaten the skies, it’s up to Tariq and his colleagues to find Pakistan’s nuclear power plant as quickly as possible before the patience of various political leaders runs out.
As a good secret agent, Tariq manages to get out of many situations with common sense and a big smile. He dresses up as a Sikh, plays football with the suspects’ children and allegedly finds his kid right under the noses of the suspected soldiers at the border post. His charming ability to react to bizarre situations adds a comedic twist to the spy movie, which is interspersed with domestic scenes with the now-pregnant Nasreen. Together, the various elements form an entertaining date movie, in which sing-along songs are not to be missed.
With the beautifully done 70s settings, a hidden story is made accessible, but the Bollywood songs betray the real charge of majnu mission. In addition to love, it is sung mainly about the homeland and the martyrs. The Indian spy film shares a page of history long denied by Pakistan, but tells that story without taking its Western neighbors’ perspective seriously. The portrayal of historical figures on both sides reflects this bias: incompetent Pakistanis are no match for Indian wits.
Following the logic of a B-movie spy movie, Tariq manages to trick all the Pakistanis into showing what an Indian hero looks like without much effort. His enemies never get a fair chance to show what it must have been like in the story, which has played out off the big screen. The doers’ bias makes it so majnu mission A film more patriotic than historical, which conveys a clear political message: India, unlike Pakistan, is a military and nuclear power to be reckoned with.
majnu mission can now be seen on Netflix.