Parmanu: Too much of ‘Deshbhakti’ ruins an extremely good plot

Parmanu could have been a much better film, had the focus been on the people involved in making the Pokhran nuclear test a success than on patriotism

Photo courtesy: social media
Photo courtesy: social media

Pragati Saxena

The trend of making films on real-life incidents is fast picking up in India. The likes of Manjhi, Paan Singh Tomar, Talvar, No one Killed Jessica, etc. went beyond the real-life incidents and proved their worth as examples of good movies. But many, like Mein Aur Charles, Azhar, Bombay Velvet and Rahasya, went unnoticed.

It's a sad irony while hue and cry was raised over a film on a folklore character of Padmaavat, films on significant issues are not really talked about. After Raazi, which claims to be based on real-life events during the 1971 War, comes Parmanu, that claims to be based on the real events which led to the three thermonuclear tests in Pokhran in 1998.

While Raazi underplays patriotism and goes on to focus more on human relationships, Parmanu doesn't really talk about human relationships, instead focusing on raw patriotism and talents of the team which contributed to India’s nuclear test amid mounting international pressure.

John Abraham, though an underappreciated actor, has produced some good films. Like Madras Cafe, Parmanu, too, showcases good research though it has been packaged in the bright garb of patriotism.

To make India a nuclear power might have been an obsession of some scientists,engineers and army official, but it was not because of some flamboyant patriotic sentiment, but a strong desire to make/ invent something on our own.That’s where the film fails.

The director seems to have been carried away by the more aggressive feeling of patriotism that has become more fashionable in the last few years.

It could have been a much better film had the focus been on those people's obsession with being able to make a nuclear weapon despite various obstacles posted by the system and international pressure. Too obvious patriotism just puts you off, more so, when it also makes obvious fun of non-violence ( in one of the scenes, the hero is being chased by an ISI spy , they barge into a classroom where the teacher is saying 'ahimsa parmodharma’.

The film nevertheless has its moments. For instance, the last sequence in which the Indian team waits for the wind blowing towards Pakistan to change its course, so that Pakistan could be saved in case of any radiation during the test, is quite appealing.

Diana Penty doesn’t really find her place in the movie. Every other actor is average too, since there isn’t much for them to do. The story, in itself, is quite intriguing. The Tere Bin Laden-fame actor Abhishek Sharma has directed the movie, which is slow and boring, with all its ‘deshbhakti’ overtones. Moreover, while the director sticks to a strict timeline on the screen, he all but forgets that after three years, the protagonist’s son should have also grown up.

The film lacks the sharpness of Madras Café. The background score doesn’t help either. The almost humorous onscreen spying by American and Pakistani sleuths only makes the film look superficial. But yes, if you are bored of watching other run-of-the-mill Hindi films, Parmanu will interest you. Otherwise, it is just an average film.

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