Story: Parmanu is based on the thermo-nuclear tests conducted by India in 1998 at Pokhran test range in Rajasthan on May 11, 1998 under the leadership of the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It’s a story about how an honest & patriot IAS officer struggles with the political decisions to do ‘something’ to the country. As we know, the nuclear test was a success already. Let’s see if Parmanu will succeed at the box office.
Parmanu opens with an A P J Kalam’s quote, 'Unless India stands up to the world no one will respect us. In this world, fear has no place. Only strength respects strength.' If you see this quote and divide it to three different statements, that becomes Parmanu. But the degree of drama it cooks up to justify these statements in the backdrop of a strategic mission is like a primary school assignment to its pupil.
Ashwat Raina (John Abraham) is an IIT engineer turned IAS officer working at the PMO's office as a strategist to the government affairs. As you can expect, he is the only serious officer in middle of chai-biscuit seeking bureaucrats and useless politicians. Raina proposes a nuclear test mission and it’s failed due to dishonest politicians and irresponsible officers, resulting in his suspension as it was a matter of nation’s image.
Raina’s wife (Anuja Sathe) is a cooperative and understanding wife who stands by his side at odd times. However, director Sharma is an Indian man, because he can make such an educated wife; an astro-physicist to lose her senses as to why her husband is in Pokhara, lying her all the time. One thing in the whole drama that attracted my mind was Anuja Sathe’s spellbound performance when she discovers her husband is cheating on her. She grabbed all my attention on screen!
Keeping aside the drama, you wouldn’t even understand how someone can be such lazy when dealing with subjects like story of Pokhara. An evil-minded Pakistani agent and an American CIA agent attempt to sabotage India's nuclear dream like its eating gol-gappas on the road.
I could not decide whether the humour was planned or an accidental affair while the most serious scenes were made laughable. All that take you to 1998 ambience are some bits and pieces of old footage of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and a floppy disk. Background scores were neither impressive nor expressive!
Diana Penty played as Ambalika, a RA&W agent. But it’s unconfirmed yet whether she was casted for glamour or humour. At a place, where Penty had to call John in a public area, she acts with him as a stranger and asks his identity card. Immediately, John appreciates her “that was good”. No, don’t laugh yet! It was for claps. Had this been a drama without prejudiced definitions of patriotism, I would sit through and enjoy the flick.
For now, I go with 1.75 stars out of 5