• Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Film

‘Mission Raniganj’ review: Heroic real-life story deserved better treatment

What could have perhaps been a compelling human story of survival is utterly destroyed by dressing it up in a Bollywood structure

MISSION RANIGANJ

By: Anjali Mehta

THE biggest problem with Akshay Kumar taking on the lead role in a biopic is that his personality and presence overpowers the story, which is why most of them are major disappointments.

With this new cinema release based on real-life events, he takes centre stage in the 1989 story of rescue officer, Jaswant Singh Gill. He is determined to save 65 miners, who, after an unexpected event, get trapped deep underground. The race against time also looks at the miners, attempting to survive in dangerous conditions and poor management.

What could have perhaps been a compelling human story of survival is utterly destroyed by dressing it up in a Bollywood structure with silly sub-plots, music, and a focus on the hero, instead of the miners trying to beat the odds. The great premise is badly let down by a screenplay that takes too many artistic liberties and a director who perhaps didn’t understand the main selling points of this movie.

Like so many other badly made Bollywood biopics, Mission Raniganj is another stark reminder that commercial Hindi cinema should stay away from telling true-life tales of heroes. Akshay gives a spirited performance, but he is the main reason the movie slowly starts to unravel as it progresses, with too much attention being given to him. There should have been more focus on the miners trying to survive in impossible conditions.

Another aspect that really works against this movie is the obvious-looking fake beard, which takes authenticity away from the story. There are nice moments and some high drama, but they are too few and far between, which makes this a massive missed opportunity. Jaswant Singh Gill and the brave miners who were trapped underground deserved better than this self-indulgent show.

Eastern Eye

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