Bollywood continues to capture the Pakistani imagination, but this time in derision to an upcoming “spy thriller” film’s portrayal of the average Pakistani in a fictional pre-1971 setting.
‘Mission Majnu’ is a Hindi-language thriller film directed by Shantanu Bagchi and due for release on Netflix on 20 January. Starring Sidharth Malhotra as Indian spy Amandeep Ajitpal Singh, and Rashmika Mandanna as Nasreen, his blind love interest, the story is based on a fictional Indian covert operation inside Pakistan before and during the 1971 war.
In the film, the “RAW agent” is given a mission to go deep under cover and investigate the “traditional adversary’s” nuclear programme. Of course, in order to survive, the Indian spy must assimilate to Pakistani customs, culture, languages, environment, social graces, and colloquialisms. Any word or gesture out of the ordinary would quickly stick out like a sore thumb. So Amandeep assumed the identity of a tailor called “Tariq Ali”, but apparently he didn’t really do a good job at it.
Many Pakistani netizens were ‘aghast’ at the use of the extremely formal “adaab” that the main character employs, instead of the more common greetings that Pakistanis usually use, in the widely publicized trailer.
Some Twitterati were also quick to point out that the nuclear facility that Amandeep will spy on – in this obviously fictional rendition of history – does not exist.
The film faced multiple delays in its release. It was first scheduled for theatrical release on 13 May 2022, and then 10 June 2022, before being postponed indefinitely. The film’s theatrical release was then cancelled for unspecified reasons. It is now scheduled to be released online, exclusively on the streaming platform Netflix, on 20 January 2023.