Mission Majnu — out Friday on Netflix — marks the first and only Indian original film dropping on the streaming platform this month. Originally planned for a theatrical release last year, the Sidharth Malhotra-led patriotic spy-thriller suffered multiple delays, with Netflix eventually acquiring streaming rights for the same in December. In what appears to be an action-oriented take on India’s most covert operation in the 1970s, the film pits Malhotra as an undercover RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) agent, assigned to expose and take down Pakistan’s covert nuclear weapons program.
For those who aren’t well-versed in Hindi, ‘Majnu’ essentially means a maniac — in this case, one who is crazy enough to put their nation ahead of themselves. It also has a secondary correlation to Romeo, derived from the 1949 Telugu-language romance film Laila Majnu. It is fitting here since this film has a layer of romance elements beneath it — a relationship forged to strengthen the protagonist’s cover within the heart of Pakistan.
Additionally, the events, while based on true events, were never fully recorded, with Mission Majnu essentially focusing on an unnamed RAW agent or an amalgamation of them, whose name(s) were never mentioned in the pages of history. “Since it’s not so accurately documented — as to about this mission — it is inspired by a true event, so we had a lot of public domain information as to what really transpires. At least for my character,” Malhotra said in an interview.
Shantanu Bagchi, who makes his directorial debut with Mission Majnu, claims to have paid heavy attention to historical accuracy, focusing on subjects such as architecture, clothing, language, and vehicles — all of which had to align with the period when the film takes place – 1974–77. “Shantanu has got a passion for sketching and he would explain the shot breakdowns to us with a lot of sketches, which was very intriguing,” Malhotra said told PTI, touching upon his experience working with the first-time director, who was previously known for helming advertisements.
With that, here’s everything you need to know about the Sidharth Malhotra-led Mission Majnu:
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Mission Majnu release date and time
Mission Majnu releases this Friday, January 20 at 12:30pm IST, exclusively on Netflix worldwide. Those interested will be required to have a subscription plan, starting at Rs. 149 for mobile and Rs. 199 for the Basic plan, which lets you stream on a TV or laptop, but only in SD resolution. For users on the higher plans and with compatible devices or screens, Mission Majnu will be available to stream in up to the Ultra-HD Dolby Vision format.
Mission Majnu cast
After the commercial box office failure that was Thank God, Malhotra makes his first Netflix collaboration with Mission Majnu, portraying Amandeep Ajitpal Singh, a RAW field officer, who is brought into force when the Indian government suspects that the neighbouring country is illegally manufacturing a nuclear bomb. Under the alias Tariq Ali, Singh infiltrates the heart of Pakistan — first as a well-mannered tailor and then, as a plumber — all with the sole purpose of passing over any intel to his high-ranking officials. During his time in the country, he also marries a local woman, Nasreen, eventually getting stuck at a crossroads on whether to prioritise love for his country or his better half.
Rashmika Mandanna plays the aforementioned Nasreen, a visually-impaired woman who is blindsided by all the undercover work Ali does, whilst under the same roof. While the actress previously has experience playing a Pakistani girl in Sita Ramam. In Mission Majnu, she serves as the point of calm in her husband’s life, who is constantly juggling between two identities. “Here I had to work a lot for my dialect because it’s all Urdu,” Mandanna explained her process in an interview. “They would blindfold me and throw a tennis ball at me — for me to be extremely sensitive about my surroundings.”
Veteran actor Parmeet Sethi is billed third on the list as R. N. Kao, the real-life Indian spymaster who helped build and served as the first chief of RAW. In the Mission Majnu trailer, he can be seen briefing the then-Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi about Pakistan’s attempt at making nuclear weapons, spurring the idea to assign a RAW agent to foil those plans. “What drew me to this character was — this is a real-life character. And it’s very rare that you actually get a chance to play a person who has done so much for the country. So it was a complete no-brainer for me to do this character,” Sethi said during Netflix’s trailer launch event.
Another star from Sita Ramam, Ashwath Bhatt is attached to play General Muhammad Zia ul Haq, the ex-dictator and sixth President of Pakistan, in Mission Majnu. Since the film is set during the Emergency period in India, his character is poised to lead another round of military dictatorship in the neighbouring country. “This is a story of a non-wartime espionage mission; a very interesting part of recent political history,” Bhatt said in an interview.
Kumud Mishra (Sooryavanshi) portrays an unnamed official, presumably leading the charge on the development of the nuclear bomb within Rawalpindi — accidentally spilling some information before Ali, who tries extracting more out of him. Meanwhile, Zakir Hussain plays a senior Indian officer who is tasked with keeping track of Ali’s movement, in addition to reminding the spy that Nasreen is simply a cover and not his actual wife.
Mission Majnu synopsis
Here’s the official synopsis for Mission Majnu from Netflix:
In the 1970s, an undercover Indian spy takes on a deadly mission to expose a covert nuclear weapons program in the heart of Pakistan.
Mission Majnu stars a stunningly talented cast of Sidharth Malhotra, Rashmika Mandanna, Kumud Mishra, Parmeet Sethi, Sharib Hashmi, Mir Sarwar, and Zakir Hussain.
Mission Majnu trailer
The first teaser for Mission Majnu was dropped on December 16, charting Pakistan’s real-life defeat to India in the 1971 war, which eventually led to the former considering nuclear warfare. The one-minute-long footage mainly served as glamour shots for Malhotra’s character, while briefly highlighting his aversion to the usage of firearms. This is ironic, considering there’s a brief scene of him leaping off a running train, where you could see him gripping a pistol.
On January 9, Netflix released a full-length trailer, which saw Ali rising the ranks through one employer after another, eventually discovering that a few of the Pakistani scientists were hailing from abroad — the key suspect being an individual named ‘Abdul Qadeer Khan’. The remaining trailer was heavily geared towards the action sequences, with the interior fight choreography looking decent, while exterior shots were marred with poor CGI effects.
Mission Majnu review
The first reviews for Mission Majnu are expected to go up this Friday, January 20, the day it releases on Netflix globally. Stay tuned for the Gadgets 360 review on Mission Majnu.
Mission Majnu poster
Here’s the official poster for Mission Majnu from Netflix: