John Abraham, Diana Penty
Coming into power is never an overnight deal. You have to ensure that you pave a path sometimes discretely and almost always, stubbornly. Parmanu is that attempt at pushing aside the peers to make a space for yourself. India had to do it, the film will have to be doing it, John Abraham too has had his share of nudging done. Good news being, all are successful attempts.
Parmanu is a story of Pokhran: What happened there? Nuclear testing? Why is it a story worth telling? Because we are what we are today because a few people refused a life of an underdog and made India a force to reckon with…
Ashwat Raina (John Abraham) is disgusted with those warming the seats at the government offices. We are speaking about influential persons who he had once shared his detailed nuclear testing plan. Raina, who is an officer at the Research and Test Wing, believed India needed to be prepared against the constant threats that countries like China, Pakistan and even America posed. But his ministers were more interested in the savouries present at the meet and no one really gave him a good ear.
Years passed, and one fine day, Raina is called to give his presentation again. It is his only chance and he grabs it. What happens there on is a lot of strategizing, planning and executing, but everything is under wraps.
Ashwat is surrounded by supporters and detractors alike, so his journey and struggle makes for an interesting marriage. Also, the fact that neither the script nor the director (Abhishek Sharma) have given any leverage to any actor in terms of dramatics. Everyone has to simply do their part and all do them adequately. For Parmanu, the fact that the theatrics are played down, works well.
John Abraham is often criticised for his deadpan expressions. He is not overtly animated in this film but it works well with the narrative. His equation with his wife, played by Anuja Sathe, comes out beautifully in the film. There are some moments that bring a smile on your face but the beauty lies in the fact that it is not forced. The casualness of the premise works.
Diana Penty looks neat and plays her part well. Her chemistry with John isn’t great, but it is forgivable. From Boman Irani who plays the PM’s secretary to the spies (Mark Bennington & Abhiroy Singh), all are perfectly cast in their roles. While the script is very well supported by its actors, it is very well picturised too. Kudos to Zubin Mistry who adds to the fervour of the film with his cinematography.
What doesn’t work for the film is perhaps the fact that Sharma takes a while to get the pace up. While it is admirable for him to take a subject such as this and bow down to pressure and add gimmicks, his unhurried pace might seem a little too sedate in the first half. He does make up for it in the second half, but there might have been some who need more out of this film.
All and all, the film gives you entertainment and pride in good amounts and makes for a good coffee time discussion. This Parmanu is not explosive but impactful.