God knows whether there is life on Mars or not, but definitely, Muslims and other minorities have to face indignation to rent a room in today’s India. These two sentences may sound weird and doggerel, where I connect two very contrasting phrases, but interestingly, this is the bottom line of “Mission Mangal”, the movie released on our independence day. The movie starring Akshay Kumar and a bunch of other actors portray the success story of India’s maiden satellite to Mars.
Akshay Kumar is well known for producing movies with nationalistic colour and “Mission Mangal” is one more feather in the genre of propaganda film. No doubt, until the end “Mission Mangal’ fills your chest with the pride of successful launch of PSLV in Mars. India is the only country to achieve this feat in its maiden launch, superseding China, USA and Russia.
“Mission Mangal” takes you to the odyssey of India in exploring new habitats (space) for life in Mars when Indian Muslims struggle to rent a room for their life in India. This seems to be double-standard of India—the great nation we boast of. This movie is filled with a lot of religious symbolism where the majoritarian Hindu religion rules the roost, whereas other religions have no place at all. The portrayal of a Hindu priest during the launch of GSLV comes as a shock to adherents of other religions.
The date of release and situations of Muslims and minorities under the present regime of BJP alludes in the movie with the portrayal of Kirti Kulhari as Neha Siddiqui representing Muslims in the “Mission Mangal”. Kirti Kulhari is denied room when the owner of the flat comes to know about her Muslim identity in the movie. Finally, she settles in a hostel when she can’t find any accommodation on rent. H.G. Dattatreya and Sonakshi Sinha’s characters welcome Kirti Kulhari to their place when she shares her inability to work overtime due to the closure of the hostel gate at 8 p.m.
The movie also touches upon the fear of conversion among Hindu families through Sanjay Kapoor’s character playing Vidya Balan’s husband, when he scolds his son who has lately started showing interest in Islam and Urdu. This scene of an argument between Sanjay Kapoor and his son is lightened when Vidya Balan tells Akshay Kumar that the infatuation of her son with Islam is because of his interest in A.R. Rahman’s music. This particular scene comes as a warning to Hindu parents to keep their children in check in today’s modern and liberal India.
In a nutshell, “Mission Mangal” is a propagandist movie that sows fascist ideology in the garb of India’s space achievement in Mars. It comes as a warning to Muslims and advice to Hindus on how to live in India to make it a great country.