Mission China is a film that has garnered unprecedented success among the masses. While the ticket windows have fast put up the “houseful” board, atleast in the first week or so, I was surprised not to find any major reviews of the film. The only reviews that we got were of eccentric Zubeen fans hollering outside cine houses after shows. Then there was also Zubeen, drunk to the hilt forgetting himself to be Zubeen and considering himself to be Colonel Goswami (the character he plays in the film) and getting into tussles with the military for which he is now having to pay. Amidst all that chaos and chants of “jindabad! Jindabad!” Mission China was one film that couldn’t be ignored.

The story revolves around the kidnapping of the home minister’s daughter by BLF militants led by their extremely funny leader Lama (Pabitra Rabha) and the government’s subsequent sending of Colonel Goswami, to rescue her. The film sets up within the first 5-10 minutes of its beginning when the little girl is hilariously kidnapped in a Maruti van posing camouflaged as an ambulance reminding us of the good old Bollywood days when the principal kidnapping vehicle was the Maruti Van. 24 hours pass by without the police getting a clue of the girl. In walks Colonel Goswami, a frail and disillusioned man who knows everything about the whereabouts of the girl because “Peter” tells him everything and yet he has been sitting tight sipping on his booze without doing a thing before the police asks for his help.

He also has a past with the Lama-guy involving a girl that he loved and then something happened that sent him to jail. Unfortunately why he went to jail is never addressed off again. We never learn why he ended up in jail. Colonel Goswami agrees to help the police at the blink of an eye and then assembles a team that is just as hilarious as he is. A sharpshooter who carries his gigantic guitar through the worst of the terrains and dangers, a bomb expert who is shown more interested in computers and taking a dump then actually blowing up things and another frail guy who is hilariously angry all the time to start with and then turns all lovey dovey suddenly.

The first half of the film screeches to a halt with the introduction of Colonel Goswami after the initial setup and turns into a badly made music video with some of the worst acting and ADR that I have seen in years. The dialogs are equally cringe-worthy. Imagine a girl laying romantically on Zubeen’s chest and asking him to bring her a hill. I have seen guys get asked to bring moon, flowers et all but asking for a hill is just about crossing the line. The other girl who plays Zubeen’s assistant’s love interest is somewhat ok. She tries to keep it composed and doesn’t board the overacting bus that much except the occasional “dhei”. That however cannot be said about Siddharth Nipon Goswami who is hilarious as the nostril flaring, jaw crunching Sid. He is so amateurish and so very ill suited for the role of an angry man that is comical everytime he opens his mouth.

Pabitra Rabha plays the baddie Lama with laughable results. The newsflash in which he asks for Rupees 10 crores as if he was asking for peanuts is just the beginning. He is not even a least bit threatening and strangely enough speaks in Hindi. Why Hindi? There is no rhyme or reason for him speaking in Hindi. There is a scene where he is captured by colonel Goswami in the flashback and given third degree on an open beach. Goswami’s beau comes to the same beach and gives Puja ka Prasad to the whole military team and the upside-down tied Lama. I fell off my chair laughing in this scene. The colonel says: – “mai marne mai expert hon”. Lama replies, “Maar Le! Maar Le!” with a wicked smile as if implying a double meaning.

There is just so much oddity to talk about in this film that, I could go on and on and on and it would still never end. There has been much said and done about Zubeen getting into a tussle with the Army regarding wearing a beret cap. I fully understand the army’s qualms with Zubeen after watching this film. The uniform is a hard-earned illustrious possession for the defense which is a part of their pride. In this film, the uniform is worn as a fashion accessory and in every manner that can be demeaning. Wearing a camouflage jacket with jeans, keeping a gouty, wearing accessories with uniform. You name it and they have done it. Never before the uniform has covered skin of the more undeserving. Everything is allowed in fiction and dramatization but we must have our own moral limits.

This is a film that is devoid of any story, has pathetic acting and its setting is laughable. It is almost like a Rajkumar Thakuriya video film with better camera and color grading. It has about 7 songs in the duration of 97 minutes. I guess it’s not difficult for you to understand how much actual time is devoted to the rescue mission. After the initial start, the rescue of the girl takes a back seat to the merry making and music of the rescuers. The team is so busy with romance and drinking and eating that they don’t show a shred of tension or nervousness for the mission in hand. Also the film leaves so many unanswered questions that it feels like a sinking ship with more holes than the titanic.

Suffice is to say that Mission china earning more than the likes of Bandhon, Kothanodi, etc is a tragedy of epic proportions. A film this bad going this good is bad omens for an industry that is already in a creative rut. This film will send those few creative minds further down the barrel and will bring the “disco bhonti” culture a great few notches up. A film like this should not exist. Oh! And before I forget, there is no china in here apart from the outrageous opening sequence which is meaningless to the film. They could have easily named it “Mission China Border”.

Rating : 1/5 (1 out of 5 Stars)


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