Review: PARMANU: The Story Of Pokhran

Superb Story. Shoddily Told

2 stars

Mini Review:

With American satellites keeping a constant eye on Pokhran,
India’s Nuclear site for years (India had conducted the first
‘peaceful’ nuclear explosion in 1974), there was no way they
world was going to allow India to join the nuclear nations. So
a civil services officer created a team and helped conduct not
one, but three underground nuclear explosions successfully,
one of the most successful covert operations in the world.
The idea is great, but it takes too long to build and then tell
the story.

Main Review:


John Abraham needs to be applauded for choosing unusual
stories. That said, if the execution of this film weren’t so
shabby, this film would have been a taut thriller.
But hai...John's dimples...


Choosing Diana Penty to be the Intelligence officer in the team
is the dumbest decision of the year. We know Bollywood takes
certain liberties in telling of a true story, but she just ruins every
scene she is in. She looks terribly out of place, and the worst
part is that she has a walk that qualifies to feature on
Monty Python’s Ministry of Funny Walks.


Initially the film seems very tacky, with the meeting at the
Prime Minister’s office being shot really shoddily. And John
Abraham’s espousing a nuclear option seems like a very bad
propaganda. You look at John Abraham’s moustache which
reminds you of Aamir Khan’s ugly one in Talaash and you begin
to wonder if this movie is going to tank.

Thankfully, the story moves forward nicely and you understand
John Abraham’s Ashwat Raina is disgraced without any reason
and we see a clear ‘making of a hero after initial setback’ trope
shaping up nicely. His wife Sushma is played by the lovely
Anuja Sathe who performs the role of harried wife who has to
handle the home and job while the husband mopes about
really well.


With the change of government, comes an opportunity in the
shape of the Prime Minister’s Secretary Boman Irani. He offers
Ashwat to prove himself, and gives him carte blanche to create
a team that will deliver the detonation of nuclear bombs in
safety. The idea that ‘the car is the garage, but you never know
it works, unless you drive it’ is a great analogy and is used well.
John’s team comprises a nuclear scientist, an operations guy,
an army chap and a space scientist. And yes, the Intelligence
officer who again, is just the silliest thing in the film. The
supporting cast could have been sharper and smarter. Your
begin to hate the operations guy for being dumb and the 'south
Indian' space scientist because he's munching banana chips
all the time. Ugh!

Ignore silly Diana and the movie picks up pace. How the people
learn to work as a team and organise the work is shown
beautifully. And we also see how people betray. There is a CIA
spy working in cahoots with a Pakistani spy and there are
Indians paid to betray. You want the spies to be caught so bad,
you realise that the story has perked up your interest.
The setbacks and the little wins, everything engages you.


The movie is actually a thriller in the second half. Yes, the
Pakistani spy keeps saying, ‘Kanda’ for ‘onion’ which is a
Marathi word used in Bombay and Maharashtra instead of
the Hindi word, ‘Pyaaz’ which is used in Rajasthan where the
story is set. This really jars the senses. The last forty five
minutes are truly exciting and push the right patriotic buttons.
The film falls in the could have been great category.

Author: Manisha Lakhe

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