Mission Mangal director Jagan Shakti says his film is an ode to Indian women scientists
Mission Mangal isn't just the story about India's successful Mars Mission. Often, people working on such historic projects, particularly women are overlooked and the final result is what makes headlines. It's this thought that sparked the idea for the film that has become one of the fastest films to enter the 100-crore club. It celebrates the unsung heroes of India’s space projects — the scientists, particularly women, who juggle responsibilities at work and at home with elan.
"It was just another day at home. My sister (Sujata Krishna, a scientist at ISRO) came back after the (Mars Orbiter Mission) launch had failed initially, and I had joked saying, 'you should work on submarines and not rockets'. Then I thought it was very insensitive of me to say such things. Despite being part of such an important launch, she would go about completing household chores like packing lunch and cooking while listening to Vivid Bharti before going to work. If it was a man who was part of such a launch, I doubt he would go about doing his household work," shares filmmaker Jagan Shakti, when asked what was it that prompted him to do a film on the subject. He says it is also the simplicity of scientists at ISRO that motivated him.
Jagan who has worked with the likes of R Balki and A Murugadoss on movies like Pad Man, Akira, Thuppakki, Paa and Cheeni Kum, says it was a complex film to make. "When I got the final research documents, I found them too technical," says Jagan, adding, "I come from a commercial school of thought. So I stayed away from making it a science film. We looked at everything through the prism of entertainment but we stayed true to the scientific process." Analogies from daily life like turning off the flame and frying pooris in heated oil, make the narrative entertaining. The director says that it is a marriage between home science and rocket science.
Now that the film is running successfully, and is being appreciated by the masses, Jagan says his family is happy that they are finally watching a movie of mine. "I am from a middle class family from Ulsoor (in Bengaluru). Every time I went to Mumbai to work as an associate director, they would tease me asking, 'when will we see your film?'. It has happened after so many years of struggle and my sister has become a star in her own circle," says Jagan who is working with Murugadoss on the script of the latter's next Hindi project.