In recent years, Akshay Kumar has become known for portraying real-life heroes on screen. Examples of such stories are his films ‘Pad Man’, ‘Airlift’, ‘Rustom’, ‘Gold’, ‘Kesari’, and ‘Prithviraj Samrat’. The latest addition to this series is director Tinu Desai’s recent film ‘Mission Raniganj’. This story revolves around the brave mining engineer Jaswant Gill from West Bengal, who, in 1989, risked his life to rescue miners trapped in a coal mine.
The Story Of Mission Raniganj
Like several other true-life heroes, Akshay Kumar effectively brings this role, known as ‘Capsule Gill,’ to life and adds meaning to it in various ways.
The Mining Tragedy: November 1989
The story of ‘Mission Raniganj’ begins in November 1989 when news arrives in the morning that 65 laborers are trapped in the Mahavir coal mine in Raniganj, West Bengal. Approximately 200 workers had entered the mine for their regular work, but due to an explosion in the mine, they got stuck. While 179 workers managed to escape, six laborers lost their lives due to rising water levels and toxic gases. This incident creates a stir in the region, affecting the families of the trapped laborers.
Jaswant Gill: The Brave Mining Engineer
The situation becomes critical when mining engineer Jaswant Gill (played by Akshay Kumar) enters the story. Jaswant Gill, who is married to Nirupama (played by Parineeti Chopra) and is about to become a father, is driven by a sense of duty to save the trapped laborers. Despite unsuccessful attempts to rescue the trapped workers, Jaswant Gill proposes a unique solution: to dig a well and use specially designed capsules to rescue the workers.
In this three-day-long mission, he faces challenges from local politics and business rivalries. Attempts are made to thwart his rescue operation. The water level in the mine rises, and poisonous gas develops. It is believed that the workers are buried in the mine. Despite the odds, Gill risks his life by descending into the mine in a capsule and successfully conducts one of the most challenging rescue operations in the country. He proves to be a true hero by saving the workers. For this act of bravery, Jaswant Gill was honored with the prestigious President’s Award for Lifesaving in 1991.
Mission Raniganj Review
Following the pattern of making films based on real-life stories like ‘Rustom’, director Tinu Suresh Desai returns with ‘Mission Raniganj’. The first part of the film is in a thriller space, where you’re constantly on the edge of your seat, wondering what will happen next. However, after the interval, the story starts revolving around human emotions. The emotional aspect of the film is strong, but from a technical perspective, it falls a bit short in some places.
The VFX in the flood scenes is not very convincing in depicting the terrifying situation. The set of the coal mine also lacks impact. In such inspiring films, a bit more emphasis on dialogues would have made it even better. If director Tinu Desai shed more light on Jaswant Gill’s background, it would have been beneficial. Talking about the music, the song written by Kumar Vishwas and sung by Arko is impactful. Aseem Mishra’s cinematography and the background score by Sandeep Shirodkar are decent.
Challenges and Triumphs in Portraying Real-Life Stories
Akshay Kumar portrays Jaswant Gill in his familiar style. He sticks to his signature style to make his character strong, much like in his previous films. As the film progresses, his character, with shades of valor and empathy, shines through. However, his co-star Parineeti Chopra is somewhat absent in the initial frames.
Parineeti doesn’t get enough screen space, but the supporting cast is strong. Especially Ujjwal as Kumud Mishra, Jameel Khan as Pashu, Ravi Kishan as Bhola, and Pawan Malhotra as the technician with a solution contribute significantly to the film. The presence of familiar faces like Bachan Pachera, Sudhir Pandey, Mukesh Bhatt, and Omkar Das Manikpuri also adds to the tension and emotional impact of the film. Debendu Bhattacharya, Rajesh Sharma, and Shishir Sharma leave their mark in their small roles.