Parmanu Movie Review: Bollywood’s flowery revival of ‘Story of Pokhran’

Watch the film only if you’re looking forward to a nail-biting thriller, which is too far-fetched and bizarre to be true.

Reshu Manglik Reshu Manglik
Updated on: May 25, 2018 14:00 IST
parmanu the story of pokhran movie review

Parmanu Movie Review: Bollywood’s flowery revival of ‘Story of Pokhran’

  • Movie Name:Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran
  • Critics Rating: 2 / 5
  • Release Date: 25-05-2018
  • Director: Abhishek Verma
  • Genre: Drama/Thriller

Another ‘based on true incidents’ movie churned out by Bollywood, releases on silver screen. The film industry has remodelled many such high-octane flicks that are ‘supposedly’ based on the real-life incidents. For example, the lately released Alia Bhatt’s patriotic drama Raazi. The film is faring well at the box office and we should credit this to the taut screenwriting and nearly perfect direction of Meghna Gulzar. Making a film on an event holding such national importance like Pokhran is not an easy task, and we plainly admit that. The pressure of getting the facts right could’ve been blamed for the faulty screenplay, but there are not one but many instances in the film, where the makers have merrily fuddled the facts with fiction.

Parmanu is a ‘foggy’ story of Pokhran

The film starts with an engineer-bureaucrat Ashwat Raina’s (John Abraham) ambitious mission to make India an official nuclear state in 1995, which bald-facedly failed due to the omission of the role of surveillance satellite. The die-hard patriotic who is hell-bent to serve the nation is suspended from his duties and is banished to Mussoorie with wife and kid. He makes a fierce comeback three years later when then-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee assumes office as the PM of India. Forming a team of five very talented personnel from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Indian Army, DRDO, Intelligence Bureau and Indian Space Agency, the ‘Krishna’ leads the team to make the impossible happen. They are fancily called ‘Pandav’ who are brought under one roof to carry out the nuclear bomb testing mission at Pokhran covertly, missing out the hawk eyes of America’s Lacrosse satellites.

For those who are looking to have a deeper insight of the incidents that happened in Pokhran over 1990’s, please refer to the books. Abhishek Varma’s version of Pokhran nuclear bomb testing is too flowery to be true. The script has merrily mixed facts with fiction, loaded with artificially-orchestrated suspense and climax. While watching the film, one might wonder if it was that easy to fool an American satellite, which is carefully monitored by CIA, like it was in John Abraham’s nuclear drama.

One shouldn’t get fooled by the cinematic representation of how missions of such national importance are carried out. We were totally gobsmacked to see one of the members of the covert mission, munching on ‘banana chips’ while mapping out the satellites’ position. This faulty execution of an already haywire script made it look like a child play.

It was like, put the detonators in the shaft, seal the shaft, plug them in and hit the ‘red button’ and poof! The mission was carried out in a jiffy. One might wonder what took India nearly a quarter decade to execute a plan as easy as this. We’re not saying this, but the film’s lopsided script suggests so.

Parmanu: The Story of an Indian Civil Servant’s brainchild?

The nuclear tests conducted in Pokhran is surmised to be a brainchild of an Indian engineer-bureaucrat, who throws his personal as well as professional life down the drain to make India a nuclear country.

John Abraham, on the other hand, has given his best shot as Ashwat Raina. However, what to do if the film’s script is all over the place.  Diana Penty’s character as Nakul (alias name) is too hard to digest. The Bollywood beauty manages to look suave even in the baking heat of Rajasthan.

The failure of Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran lies in the fact that everything seems so mythical and fairytale-like even though it’s based on true events. The honcho of the entire covert mission is playing dumb charades to guess the pass code, which is nothing but a Jigar Moradabadi’s couplet.

Despite being based on such a crucial phenomenon that placed India among the full-fledged nuclear countries, the plot looks too layman-ish. The fingerprints of Bollywood and its clichéd habit of glorifying the climax are all over its script.

Watch the film only if you’re looking forward to a nail-biting thriller, which is too far-fetched and bizarre to be true. Full marks for thriller and suspense, but we wish the makers could have maintained the gravity of the topic.