Parmanu Review

John Abraham needs to be applauded for choosing unusual stories. That said, if the execution of this film weren't so shabby, 'Parmanu - The Story Of Pokhran' would have been a taut thriller. If that wasn't enough, choosing Diana Penty to be the Intelligence officer in the team is the dumbest decision of the year. We know Bollywood takes certain liberties in telling of a true story, but she just ruins every scene she is in. She looks terribly out of place, and the worst part is that she has a walk that qualifies to feature on Monty Python's Ministry of Funny Walks.


Initially the film seems very tacky, with the meeting at the Prime Minister's office being shot really shoddily. And John Abraham's espousing a nuclear option seems like a very bad propaganda. You look at John Abraham's moustache which reminds you of Aamir Khan's ugly one in Talaash and you begin to wonder if this movie is going to tank.


Thankfully, the story moves forward nicely and you understand John Abraham's Ashwat Raina is disgraced without any reason and we see a clear 'making of a hero after initial setback' trope shaping up nicely. His wife Sushma is played by the lovely Anuja Sathe who performs the role of harried wife who has to handle the home and job while the husband mopes about really well.


With the change of government, comes an opportunity in the shape of the Prime Minister's Secretary Boman Irani. He offers Ashwat to prove himself, and gives him carte blanche to create a team that will deliver the detonation of nuclear bombs in safety. The idea that 'the car is the garage, but you never know it works, unless you drive it' is a great analogy and is used well. John's team comprises a nuclear scientist, an operations guy, an army chap and a space scientist. And yes, the Intelligence officer who again, is just the silliest thing in the film.


Ignore her and the movie picks up pace. How the people learn to work as a team and organise the work is shown beautifully. And we also see how people betray. There is a CIA spy working in cahoots with a Pakistani spy and there are Indians paid to betray. You want the spies to be caught so bad, you realise that the story has perked up your interest. The setbacks and the little wins, everything engages you. The movie is actually a thriller in the second half. Yes, the Pakistani spy keeps saying, 'Kanda' for 'onion' which is a Marathi word used in Bombay and Maharashtra instead of the Hindi word, 'Pyaaz' which is used in Rajasthan where the story is set. This really jars the senses. The last forty five minutes are truly exciting and push the right patriotic buttons. The film falls in the could have been great category.

With American satellites keeping a constant eye on Pokhran, India's Nuclear site for years (India had conducted the first 'peaceful' nuclear explosion in 1974), there was no way they world was going to allow India to join the nuclear nations. So a civil services officer created a team and helped conduct not one, but three underground nuclear explosions successfully, one of the most successful covert operations in the world. The idea is great, but it takes too long to build the story. (2) - Manisha Lakhe


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