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Mission Raniganj Movie Review: Akshay Kumar Shines In This Engaging Film

Last Updated: October 06, 2023, 10:17 IST

Mission Raniganj Movie Review: A rescue thriller, Mission Raniganj chronicles the story of how Additional Chief Mining Engineer Jaswant Singh Gill (played by Akshay Kumar) along with his team evacuates 65 mine workers from a flooded coal mine in Raniganj, West Bengal, in 1989. It is the story of how a brave heart rescued the miners when almost everyone had given up on the thought of their survival. Gill and his team faced numerous challenges and hurdles during the rescue operation which went on for three days, but they eventually succeeded in their mission, making it one of the bravest rescue operations in the country.

Such a fantastic, riveting plot based on a true story, but it’s sad to see director Tinu Suresh Desai succumb to the lazy tropes of Hindi films. There is no need for a song right at the start of the film. Scenes giving a sense of the disorder and destruction lack the dramatic punch. Like his protagonist, Desai is better with dialogue than action. He deftly shows what happens when you cram too many people in a small space. Tempers flare, compassion kicks in, and despite all of it united we stand.

But Desai’s execution is inexplicable. The director has a talented primary cast in place, but the production design and VFX departments appear too weak. His poor direction coupled with a screenplay by Vipul K Rawal that urgently required more thought, results in a silly, tacky, confusing film. As critics, we often complain about the slow pacing of the films. In Mission Raniganj’s case, the first half is which mostly explains the entire structure of the mines, moving at the neck break speed. A great deal happens on the screen and rather than explaining to the audience, it just leaves them confused. The operation required the involvement of scores of minds at the top and the bottom of Coal India and the Indian government, but the film claims that one and only one man was responsible.

That is not to say that Mission Raniganj has no redeeming features at all. It does. By far the best thing about the film is its surprisingly uncluttered storytelling in the second half. The film picks up pace in the second half and that is where all the action happens. Less talk and more action are always the best policy when a film flies into a haze. Desai finally manages to redeem the film and fashions a taut, engaging thriller out of an incident that would, on paper, appear to be more worthy of a documentary.

The film turns the real-life story into a one-man mission, but we do see other players. There’s the committed senior mining officer (Kumud Mishra), who works tirelessly alongside Gill sifting through government procedures and pleading within the company to get things going. Pawan Malhotra as T P Bindal, a jugadu who has a welding workshop is first-rate. Dibyendu Bhattacharya is appropriately annoying as the cantankerous mining officer who is against this rescue mission due to internal politics.

But Mission Raniganj, expectedly, rests on Akshay Kumar’s shoulders, and he underplays the heroism beautifully, bringing quiet but steely resolve to the character, even delivering the stray note of humor almost conversationally. There’s almost none of his starry baggage in this performance, which easily counts among his best. On the other hand, Parineeti Chopra who plays his wife (Nirdosh Gill) doesn’t have any screen time and hardly has anything to do in the film. Ravi Kishen, Inaamulhaq, and Jameel Khan among others who play the miners are decent.

There are logical loopholes, but for the most part human tragedy is always the focus. Even as it raises the patriotism card it restrains itself from stooping to melodrama. It could have been taut and more gripping, but it still works because ultimately it’s all about the story, which is often set aside in Bollywood. It is a story of human triumph which has been narrated well. It is an engaging experience that will resonate emotionally with the audience.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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