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Mission Majnu: Crossborder Rom-Kaum



Mission Majnu

Mission: Majnu(Netflix)

Directed by Shantanu Bagchi

Rating: ***

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 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.

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