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PARMANU - A crucial event over-simplified as a patriotic thriller resulting in an above average informative film. (Review by Bobby Sing)

25 May, 2018 | Movie Reviews / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / P / 2018 Releases

Nationalist films are the current favourite genre of our Hindi filmmakers and PARMANU is the latest one in the list having its own share of deliberately added references and jingoism.

However, moving ahead of a few recent films made with a certain mindset or purpose, PARMANU thankfully scores as an informative film, enlightening people (especially the new generation) about a crucial event and achievement made by the country back in May 1998. INDIA conducted nuclear tests in Pohkran (Rajasthan) at that time, successfully hiding it from the American satellites keeping an eye on every activity in the region and thus was declared a Nuclear Power in the world surprising or rather shocking many. 

PARMANU: The Story of Pokhran is a fictionalized account of the event that gets severely affected by an over-simplification of the subject and the inclusion of too casual filmy elements as usual.
The film mainly works due to its educative value and the heist thriller kind of narrative in the middle wherein the assigned chief forms his own team and starts working on the project exactly as you get to see in a heist film. As a result one doesn’t get bored and also doesn’t mind all the forced references made for the obvious reasons like ‘Made In India’ and more. The detailing in the operations at the Pokharan site keeps you engaged and then the climax, counting every single second grips you well ending on a decent note. Besides an earnest performance by John Abraham forms the key merit of the film as Krishna, who confidently leads his team towards a historic victory.
Having said that, the film makes a pretty bad start with an amateurish kind of execution showcasing the ministers and their talks about nuclear tests and more in a highly absurd manner (maybe on purpose). It finds a much better track post the initial 30 minutes or so, as John is called back for the project with the new government taking the charge appointing a new chief. From here onwards it thankfully becomes an engaging thriller, but a questionable ‘B grade’ suspense film kind of presentation keeps coming in at intervals (particularly dealing with the poorly depicted American and Pakistani spy).
Stating its drawbacks, as usual, the unrequired as well as unimpressive songs seriously hinder the pace and it’s really strange that the makers thought of adding them all in a film like PARMANU too. In fact the family drama (featuring Anuja Sathe as John’s wife) also gets too much attention in the beginning deviating from the actual theme. Further as it progresses towards the mission, we are not given any details for the team members chosen by John,  that even includes an always forgetting middle aged man, a young man suffering from vertigo and another who keeps eating potato/banana chips (doing such an important job related with Nuclear Bombs). Interestingly the most convincing member of the team remains Vikas Kumar as the military officer and Boman Irani as the principal secretary to the Prime Minister. On the other hand, the most unconvincing happens to be Diana Penty who keeps looking so fresh and tidy in her catchy dresses and make-up that stays as it is even in the extreme heat and dust region of Pokhran.
Continuing with the big cinematic liberties (as recently witnessed in RAAZI), this time we see American Intelligence and their spy agents depicted as incompetent caricatures (in place of Pakistan) easily accepting their defeat unlike the biggest world power. In reality, the impact would have been much better if this was dealt in a different superior way by both the writers and the director onscreen.
Adding to the downers, remaining solely focused on the hero, the film indicates as if the whole nuclear tests program was a brainchild of a one person alone and others were only assisting him. Plus it never cares to explain which team or who made the actual bombs, how the preparations were going on from years, who initiated this program and under which government. In other words, the film over-simplifies the entire subject in a too casual manner, especially the way Boman gets the permission signed from the PM. And frankly these features together make it look like a typical 70-80s science fiction drama at times, instead of a real life inspired film. 
In another entertaining scene, we get to see the epic serial MAHABHARATA coming on TV and the family watching it with their utmost devotion taking their shoes off. John interestingly gets the idea of naming his team on the Pandvas hiding their real identity from the same. But as I recall, the serial actually got aired in the late 80s on Doordarshan, instead of late 90s as shown in the film (based in 1998).
Coming to the element of Nationalism, director Abhishek Sharma clearly plays the patriotic card in his forced dialogues and use of actual footage of Bill Clinton, Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif along with Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but never mentions anyone from the previous government at all and keeps stressing upon the then Prime Minister alone for the very obvious reasons.
More importantly not even once the makers care to mention or call the Nuclear weapons as killing machines leading to disaster for the entire world, presenting it as a big achievement for the country and the related team. Putting it differently, yes it was a big achievement, but an achievement that was made out of compulsion and not as a sign of positive development for the mankind. 
That should have been prominently mentioned in the film, in a dedicated sequence giving the important message for World Peace, as per my personal opinion.
Anyway, despite the above mentioned drawbacks PARMANU deserves appreciation as a film bringing forward a subject that had to be told reaching out to the generation born in the 90s and in the new millennium. So it certainly gets some extra brownie points for its producers for going for such an off-beat subject. 
But at the same time, the noble intentioned film also releases with a perfect timing positively remembering and praising the then Prime Minister of the country, who is the most respected leader of present ruling party and equally loved by all as a thinking, creative personality, irrespective of their political inclinations.
The film certainly needs to be seen once as an educating document of our Indian history, but how I wish this subject was taken up by a team in South coming up with a superfine mixture of reality and fiction as recently seen in the film TAKE OFF made with solid thrill and conviction as well as an emotional appeal. 
On a concluding note, do watch it and feel proud for the nation too, but along with remembering the fact that the Nuclear Power (as bombs) actually denotes destruction of the entire world and is not any positive creative construction if studied in the real sense.

Rating : 3 / 5 (with the special brownie points for its producers including John Abraham)

Tags : PARMANU Movie Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Hindi Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, New Bollywood Movies Reviews by Bobby Sing, Parmanu by John Abrahm
25 May 2018 / Comment ( 2 )
Vikas Kumar
Thank you Bobby for the review...and for the special mention for my performance! :)
Bobby Sing

Great to see your comment here Vikas and thanks a lot for appreciating the viewpoint and taking it in good spirits.
That really gives me hope with HIS BLESSINGS

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