Mission Majnu (2023): The “Romeo” Spy

Jan 26, 2023

“Romeo” is out on a mission! This time not for his Juliet, but for the sake of his motherland; India! Bollywood brings you an epic fictional spy story that is supposed to have occurred during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War. Titled “Mission Majnu”, this fictional spy-thriller was released on Netflix on January 20, 2023, after facing multiple delays.Co-written by Parveez Shaikh, Aseem Arora, and Sumit Batheja; co-produced by Ronnie Screwvala, Amar Butala, and Garima Mehta; and directed by Shantanu Bagchi, the film stars Sidharth Malhotra in the lead role.Mission Majnu (2023) Official Teaser:Mission Majnu (2023) Synopsis:Starring Sidharth Malhotra as RAW agent, Amandeep Ajitpal Singh disguised as Tariq Ali in PakistanThe story dates back to the early 1970s. India and Pakistan are at war. India’s intelligence agency RAW suspects that Pakistan is making a nuclear bomb. RAW plans to track down Pakistan’s nuclear facility and neutralize it. So, it sends its undercover officer Amandeep Singh (Sidharth Malhotra) to Pakistan to investigate the secret nuclear facility where the bomb is being made.In Pakistan, Amandeep Singh disguises as a tailor named Tariq Ali to give light to his secret mission. However, during his mission in Pakistan, he gets attracted to a blind woman named Nasreen (Rashmika Mandanna). They eventually marry. Now, Amandeep a.k.a Tariq will have to balance his undercover mission with his personal life. Will he be successful in this covert mission to Pakistan? Watch till the end to know!Mission Majnu (2023) Official Trailer:The Good:Great Lead Coupled With Outstanding SupportAmandeep Singh disguised as a tailor by the name Tariq Ali in PakistanSidharth Malhotra has carried out his role of the daredevil spy Amandeep Singh a.k.a Tariq Ali quite competently. Bollywood reports reveal that Sidharth had to go through some intense action stunt training to step into the shoes of this fictitious Indian spy. Rashmika Mandanna as Tariq’s blind love-interest turned wife Nasreen, did well too. However, she had brief appearances in the movie, and her short sequences didn’t give her much space to showcase her talent better.Kumud Mishra played the role of RAW’s senior field agent Raman Singh who was disguised as a Pakistani named Maulvi, and was helping Amandeep carry out his secret mission. Sharib Hashmi played the character of Amandeep’s other ally in Pakistan named Aslam Usmaniya. I must say, these two actors carried out their supporting characters excellently.Rashmika Mandanna plays Nasreen, a blind Pakistani woman whom Amandeep disguised as Tariq marriesZakir Hussain as Amandeep’s in-charge, Sharma was hilarious. His character was always dismissive of Amandeep. The way he humiliated Amandeep with his comical dialogues was indeed funny as well as interesting to watch. Other actors included Parmeet Sethi as a RAW officer and Amandeep’s boss, R.N. Kao, Rajit Kapur as the former Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Mir Sarwar as Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, Avantika Akerkar as the former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Avijit Dutt as former Indian politician Morarji Desai. These actors had brief roles in the movie. Still, they lent excellent support.Sidharth Malhotra in a scene from Mission MajnuIt was indeed a pleasure to watch famous personalities like Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai, and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto come alive with the makeup and performances of these actors. Although Indian spy Amandeep Singh a.k.a Tariq Ali is a fictitious character, personalities like Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai, and Bhutto are world famous and really exist.Awesome DialoguesThe dialogues in Mission Majnu have been written by Sumit Batheja. In some instances, the dialogues are great and add to the patriotic essence of the movie. The way Sidharth Malhotra has delivered them is appealing as well. Some of the dialogues are indeed worth applause!Sharib Hashmi as Aslam Usmaniya, Amandeep’s ally in PakistanVisually Convincing With Sharp EditingI would say, the only aspect which added a bit of thrill in Mission Majnu is the convincing cinematography by Bijitesh De. The filming was done in Lucknow city located in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The sets and backgrounds were made as per the “Pakistani atmosphere”. Being an Indian, I have never been to Pakistan because I am not allowed to. However, upon watching this film, I truly felt that the cinematic atmosphere was created to resemble that of Pakistan; the backgrounds, localities, dressing style of the actors, everything!The train action scene from Mission Majnu involving Sidharth MalhotraThe editors, Nitin Baid and Sidharth Pande, have kept the film’s duration, 2 hours and 10 minutes with their precise editing. This film does not fluctuate very often and has little space for confusion. Yes, there are some loose moments as apart from being a spy-thriller, this happens to be a love story too. However, the editors have done their best in placing all sequences systematically, thus making the story easy for the audiences to understand.Rabba Janda: A Pleasing SongThe tracks in Mission Majnu have been choreographed by Tushar Kalia. The romantic track “Rabba Janda” is melodious. And why not! After all, it has been sung by Jubin Nautiyal who has achieved stardom in the musical world owing to his magical voice.Sharib Hashmi in an action scene from Mission MajnuHowever, there is another patriotic track “Maati Ko Maa Kehte Hain”, sung by the iconic singer Sonu Nigam, which not only lacks melody but lacks rhythm as well. I am highly disappointed that such an iconic singer like Sonu Nigam, who has been regarded as the “King of Melody” and was one of my favorites during the 1990s, has performed so horribly in this track. The background music in Mission Majnu is not so appealing as well.The Bad:Not A New StoryThe story of Mission Majnu has been written by Parveez Shaikh and Aseem Arora. There’s nothing new to the story. Bollywood, in the past few decades, has come out with numerous spy-thrillers involving secret service agents on their mission to Pakistan. So, the predictability in the plot makes the story lose its sense of thrill. You will always know what the outcome will be. The Indian spy will complete his mission successfully, whether he lives or dies at the end.Zakir Hussain as RAW officer and Amandeep’s in-charge, Sharma in Mission MajnuMore On “The Missing Thrill”The thrill in Mission Majnu diminishes even further because of the manner in which Aseem Arora, Parveez Shaikh, and Sumit Batheja co-wrote its screenplay. A scene goes where Tariq Ali and Aslam Usmaniya stealthily sneak inside a nuclear facility in Pakistan and end up getting caught. The scene has been portrayed in a way that the audience does not experience the level of excitement or thrill that they should have.Also, as the screenplay unfolds, the viewers start feeling that nothing really is impossible for Amandeep a.k.a. Tariq. He seems invincible, ready to take on any obstacle and achieve anything he wishes for. This adds a sense of easiness to the screenplay which in fact makes it even less engrossing. Besides, if you ask me personally, then I would say that such a concept of an “invincible spy” is direly absurd.Kumud Mishra (Extreme Left) as RAW’s senior field agent Raman Singh who was disguised as Maulvi in Pakistan to help Amandeep in his undercover missionThe action scenes in Mission Majnu, choreographed by Ravi Verma, could have been more exciting. When you watch an action-oriented spy-thriller that involves an Indian secret mission to Pakistan, you have a lot of expectations. One of the action scenes involved Sidharth Malhotra hanging from a train. This scene was intense and entertaining, but it resembled the action scene from the 1970s iconic blockbuster “Sholay” which starred Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra. So here, familiarity breeds contempt! The climax of Mission Majnu does add a bit of thrill, but that is just not enough for spy-thriller lovers like me!Parmeet Sethi as RAW officer and Amandeep’s boss, R.N. KaoApart from “thrill”, the story also lacks patriotism. After all, the fictitious spy Amandeep Singh a.k.a Tariq Ali is on a mission for India. Upon watching Mission Majnu, I found the patriotic essence lacking. You too will probably agree with me, if you watch this movie. I feel the main reason why the patriotic essence faded away is that here Amandeep Singh, in spite of being a spy in Pakistan, married and settled with a blind Pakistani woman. This was actually not expected on his behalf. The fictitious character of Amandeep Singh who disguised as Tariq Ali truly lacked moral sense. I agree with the fact that love knows no boundaries. But when you are a spy in a different country, you got to set your own boundaries!The Verdict:Shantanu Bagchi has directed this film and his direction is just average. No doubt, he has extracted great performances from the actors. However, he has failed to establish the thrill as well as the feeling of patriotism towards the Indian Motherland in this anti-Pakistani spy-thriller.A still from Mission MajnuIndian Cinema has the habit of poking Pakistan every now and then. For decades, Bollywood has produced uncountable anti-Pakistani action-thrillers, spy-thrillers, and whatnot! Bollywood has mainly placed its focus on the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War with movies like Border (1997) and the Kargil War of 1999 with movies like LOC: Kargil (2003). Bollywood also showcases plane-hijacking movies involving Pakistani terrorists and also movies on terrorism events like the 26/11 attacks. However, these are true events and if Bollywood has showcased these events against Pakistan, that cannot be addressed as “Anti-Pakistani” because Pakistan is the nuisance creator here.Another still from Mission MajnuHowever, when you make something like Mission Majnu, which is entirely fictional, then this is something that is uncalled for. This film is said to have been “inspired by true events”. However, no such nuclear spying incidents have ever been recorded to have occurred in history. If you ask me, being an Indian I am telling you, this act of deliberately poking another country, that too our arch-rival, is not cool at all! This may only lead to further agitation between the two countries. It is becoming a trend in Bollywood; make an anti-Pakistani movie, and tag it as being “inspired by true events”. I was not born during the early 1970s. Even if such a secret mission did take place at that time, it has been highly dramatized in this movie which makes it absolutely fictional. Also, if such a daring spy like Amandeep ever existed, then where is he now? If he is alive, why has he not been recognized by the Indian media?This is what I am saying from the viewpoint of a film critic. However, if you ask me from the viewpoint of an Indian, I would say that Bollywood has done the right thing by coming out with another taunting movie aimed at Pakistan. When Pakistan creates a nuisance by sending terrorists to our country, then it does deserve to be pinched a bit with movies like this. It is another thing that this movie will be banned in Pakistan. Who can tolerate his or her own degradation? Nobody can!To conclude, I am relieved that Mission Majnu has been released on Netflix. Had it been released in theaters, then it would have been very difficult for this film to keep its audiences engrossed throughout its runtime. Acting – /10 Cinematography/Visual Effects – /10 Plot/Screenplay – /10 Setting/Theme – /10 Watchability – /10 Rewatchability – /10

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