Cast: John Abraham, Boman Irani, Diana Penty
Direction: Abhishek Sharma
John Abraham and Boman Irani try their best, but fail to keep us invested in this historical drama.
Inspired by true events – India’s first successful nuclear tests conducted at Pokhran in 1998 – ‘Parmanu’ has an interesting premise, but the story progresses at a sluggish pace.
Back in 1995, US intelligence agencies detected India’s preparations for nuclear tests as a result of which the mission had to be aborted. Ashwat Raina (John Abraham), an IIT-educated IAS officer, is made to take the fall for the failure.
Three years later, under then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, there is renewed interest in nuclear weapons testing as a means of making a statement to the world by India – a budding superpower.
Himanshu Shukla (Boman Irani), a minister in the PMO, reaches out to Raina asking him for his expert opinion on what went wrong in 1995. Shukla entrusts Raina to helm a team to carry out a new series of nuclear tests at Pokhran – and make them a success this time round.
There is no issue with the plot per say, although the director fumbles with its execution. Starting from the scene where Raina makes his first pitch for the nuclear tests with ministers sitting around a conference table enjoying chai and samosas right to the shoddy climax that looks out of the 1980s – the end product leaves a lot to be desired for.
The motley crew that Raina stitches together make no impression at all. We hear of their expertise on various fields, but at no point do they exhibit their genius to show that Raina had a good reason to pick them up.
The acting, the direction, the screenplay – there is something inherently lacking in every department.
The only point of interest, to me at least, was to see how nuclear tests are actually conducted. The rest, alas, was a rather tedious watch.
Watch it if you must – it’s a not-so-boring lesson in history.