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Riveting tale of a mining rescue operation

Pranati A S

Mission Raniganj: The Great Bharat Rescue

Hindi (Theatre)

Director: Tinu Suresh Desai

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Parineeti Chopra, Kumud Mishra, Pavan Malhotra, Ravi Kishan 

Rating: 3/5

Akshay Kumar’s latest is based on a 1989 mining disaster that left 71 workers trapped underground for close to two days. The film follows the rescue operation led by additional chief mining engineer Jaswant Singh Gill.

In November of 1989, a disaster struck the coalfields of Mahabir Colliery in Raniganj, West Bengal. A series of blasts led to a rupture in the underground water table, flooding the mines. Miners working close to the elevator were pulled back to safety but 71 others were stranded. Six of them died due to water-logging. The writing is sharp and the pace is riveting.

Panicking miners, worried families, an overconfident wife, a melodramatic union leader, and scheming coworkers keep one hooked. Also, watch out for the stray dog who stays calm amid the chaos and guides the rescuers to the trapped miners.

Full marks to cinematographer Aseem Mishra. He brings you exhilarating frames of the mine and his execution of top angle shots of the rescue operation at night is done to perfection. The lighting adds to the drama. Akshay Kumar delivers a balanced performance as Jaswant. Here, he is seen as a diligent officer under immense stress and not a superhero who overcomes everything with ease.

The film does a fine job of glorifying a real-life hero but also of holding a mirror to the endless human exploitation of land, water, and air. The latter is leading to natural disasters and putting the lives of the innocent, often unprivileged, at risk. The sinking town of Joshimath is a grave example.

Fueled with drama, songs and suspense, the film is more of an edge of the seat suspense thriller than the retelling of a tragedy. 

(Published 07 October 2023, 03:55 IST)

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