ZEE5 and ALTBalaji’s latest original web series, MOM – Mission Over Mars is about Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) aka Mangalyaan, India’s first space probe orbiting Mars. The eight-part digital drama started streaming on the respective OTT platforms at a time when the audience is right off Jagan Shakti’s film on the same subject, Mission Mangal. The Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan-starrer continues its triumphant run in theatres while we wait with bated breath for any word on India’s biggest space mission ever, Chandrayaan-2. Mission Over Mars pulls off a casting coup by getting Sakshi Tanwar and Mona Singh in the same frame and yet has enough space for Nidhi Singh and Palomi Ghosh to shine. Directed by Vinay Waikul, MOM takes a fictional route to tell an exciting, engaging and visually astounding tale of women achievers at ISRO. However, ISRO in MOM becomes ISA while NASA has been substituted with ASI.
Sakshi plays Program Director, M-O-M, Nandita Hariprasad, who has been delegated by her boss to prepare a report on the mission. She is under the watchful supervision of Ashish Vidyarthi as her encouraging Mission Director. Ever since its inception, many wondered if a second sci-fi thriller on Mars Orbiter Mission a charm would still be. However, what makes Mission Over Mars a delectable watch, is that the four women at the center of a landmark mission, despite being one of the world’s best scientists, are as human as any of us. For example, Nandita is a no-nonsense team leader at work but installs a chip in her son’s phone to keep an eye on his activities. Mona Singh portrays Moushumi Ghosh who aspired to become a great scientist since her school days. However, she can be a hyperactive boss who carries doing her best to not let the failure of ISA’s previous mission dampen her spirits.
A movie set in the space of science and technology is bound to trigger an assumption but then there is Neetu Sinha (Nidhi Singh) a staunch follower of astrology. Meghan Reddy (Palomi Ghosh) isn’t exactly the most liked candidate at ISA given her bizarre ways of life, but she certainly is the most sought after!
Nandita and Moushumi are the driving forces of MOM – two supremely talented scientists working on their career’s biggest mission while also fighting battles at home. Even though Nandita is behind-the-wheels, it is Moushumi navigating her through this mission. For the latter, the quest is both personal and professional. Her journey began at a young age by defeating a misogynistic education inspector but is now crippled by Chandravimaan’s failure. However, in this heroic tale, Moushumi sticks to her guns and swoops in to make the mission a grand success.
Watch the trailer of Mission Over Mars here:
Mission Over Mars isn’t about some extra-terrestrial beings being investigated on Mars. It is a mission set in the contemporary world, very much happening around us. The fact that the above-listed women face countless hurdles including budget constraints, red-tapism, bureaucracy, amongst others makes MOM an absorbing series. Of course, the web show is a step-ahead and written in a way that gives it a notch above Mission Mangal, for blasting off in territories like gender bias and electoral politics, where even the movie didn’t dare to wander. Mission Over Mars leaves the power to the females with inspiring words from their male chief dropping in from time to time. There are no big speeches here, no space jokes it is just Mars, Mars, Mars.
The humour, horror, and tension of repeating the failure of Chandravimaan are real. Given the events that unfolded with Chandrayaan-2, they only seem more believable.
We tip our hats to Sakshi Tanwar and Mona Singh who hitch Mission Over Mars to levels of a supernova! Sakshi’s Nandita is every Indian mother ever. She is a brilliant leader with a vision at work but cannot keep her nose out of her son’s business at home. The Dangal star strikes the perfect balance and goes from strength to strength in bringing a relatable character like Nandita to life. The experience and class-apart finesse come handy, of course. If Nandita is the backbone of Mission Over Mars, Mona’s Moushumi is the soul. Even in moments when Moushumi is going overboard with her anger and enthusiasm, you don’t feel irked. In fact, you give a louder cheer as she takes on her stubborn colleagues and difficult minister every time. Phenomenal would be a titanic of an understatement.
We have one and the only complaint from Mission Over Mars – why are Neetu and Meghan have such less screen space? Maybe the two shall rise to the occasion in the episodes to come. As of now, Neetu has a mission and a family to ‘plan.’ Meghan is trying her luck with some formula to find a suitable life partner, weird as she comes, it’d be interesting to watch how her character graph takes off.
The five episodes streaming on ZEE5 and ALTBalaji brilliantly manage to leave us in awe of both – the knuckle-gobbling tension enveloping India’s historic mission and the actors enacting the scientists who made it a success. You will often find yourself gasping for breath, while also making you excitedly sit through the episodes even after the credits roll. Given the thrill, we recommend you don’t forget to exhale. You want to wait for the finale episodes and get the closure we all need.
Does Mission Over Mars lack depth or not? Neither. It is an intense and inspiring web series shouldered strongly by brilliant acting. It is a glorious watch that engulfs you, engages you with help from stunning visual effects, cinematography, and design. As you sit in front of your screens, you too will feel the entertainment forces sending goosebumps across every fiber of your being.
What are your thoughts about Mission Over Mars? Tell us in the comments section below.
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