Mission Majnu (2023) ‘Netflix’ Review: Redemption, Patriotism, and Diplomacy define this mild-mannered Spy Thriller

Why does one have to move past all the logistical pitfalls and narrative lacklustreness to assess a Bollywood film? If the starting standard is itself low, how can the quality of cinema get any better for the aspiring viewer? Mission Majnu does a very good job of creating a satisfying emotion-heavy experience for the quintessential Bollywood consumer mollycoddled with patriotism and jingoism. While its retelling of the covert operation to stop Pakistan from testing its nuclear weapons is respectful and inspiring, the movie falls some way short of making a mark. It fails to stand out from a slew of similar-minded films and web series that have all refrained from doing one thing; straying away from the tried and tested.

One thing that Mission Majnu makes good sense of is the bitter cross-border rivalry. That anger, resentment, and cutthroat politics are established consistently in the narrative to make it more appealing. Its pace, by Bollywood standards, is frenetic but straightforward enough to follow. There are no moments when one feels that the story needs to catch up, despite the sedate approach taken. When KN Rao said that the mission was about gathering intelligence and not deploying guns and munitions, he meant every word of it. Director Shantanu Bagchi takes it to heart and carefully cascades Amandeep’s efforts to gather pieces of intel in the plot to make a meaningful waterfall that gushes with style.

The substance of his work is integrated well with the overall storytelling and does not look fractured. Although the assimilation is not seamless, Bagchi’s story has enough meat on the bones to last the runtime. Love once again plays spoilsport in an Indian espionage drama. The genre seems to have been inflicted with a curse filmmakers just cannot break free of. That romantic angle between Malhotra’s Amandeep and Mandanna’s Nasreen feels forced, unnecessary, and out of place. It bogs the film down with baggage that viewers cannot process to better appreciate either character. The false significance mounted in the crucial moments in the film cannot change the tide.

Mission Majnu lacks nuance although, the larger, toxic industry trend is to blame here. With movies of this genre especially, the spoon-feeding of cues becomes an instant nuisance. On so many occasions, when Bagchi could have afforded to make the viewer work harder to figure out some piece of the puzzle, he gives up the idea too easily. That refinement we have craved for years has eluded us once again. Everything goes down just too conveniently with minor hiccups that are easily escapable. The narrative defies the logical actualities of the dramatized circumstances and takes away the flavour of realism and authenticity from the storytelling.

Mission Majnu (2023)

Almost no Bollywood film has come close to changing the norms and deploying cinematic conventions that espionage dramas like Munich have used outside India. Mission Majnu registers its name in that list. The frailties in execution must not be overlooked in the exuberance of emotions. Despite the sensitive and sentimental connection, we Indians have with the armed forces, there is an urgent need across the spectrum to improve the conception of these projects and make them more intense and tauter through better writing and visualization.

Malhotra lends robust physicality, charm, and warmth to Amandeep. He makes every bit of an effort to make his portrayal believable and gets several opportunities to play the innocent, jolly and patriotic tailor. It seems like the actor relishes the opportunity to switch gears once it is showtime. He gave a great account of himself with Sheershah and even in Mission Majnu, Malhotra does his action-macho hero image no harm. He provides Amandeep with enough excitement, energy, and seriousness to win over Indian viewers. Mandanna does not get to do too much in her truncated role. Early minutes deceived us about her significance in the plot. Mishra and Hashmi both got an opportunity to showcase their expert mixing of humour with drama, although once again, their characters felt shortsighted by the bias toward the former.

Mission Majnu is not a complete disappointment. It will ride the wave of euphoria instilled by films around the armed forces well. However, one must go into watching it with tapered expectations. There is nothing new to see here if you are a regular viewer of series like Kathmandu and Tanaav. Telling Mission Majnu apart from those slew of peers is a difficult job and that is perhaps where the movie fails to impress.

Related Content: Mission Majnu (2023) Movie Ending, Explained: Why does Amandeep decide not to escape with Raman?

Mission Majnu (2023) Links: IMDbWikipedia

Arnav Srivastav

Self-effacing and self-absorbed. College at RGNUL. A Cùle forever. Driven, ambitious, and “I hate most people”. Oh, and I love movies if that wasn’t obvious.

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