M.O.M. Mission Over Mars
Cast: Mona Singh, Sakshi Tanwar, Palomi Ghosh, Nidhi Singh
Creator: Ekta Kapoor
M.OM. Mission Over Mars is Alt Balaji’s first sci-fi drama that comes a few weeks after Akshay Kumar-Vidya Balan’s multi-starrer Mission Mangal. Not keen to step into the unknown territory and aware of their target audience, the makers try to keep it more emotional than scientific, focussing on the personal lives of the female characters and the administrative hassles that they face.
In the first five episodes released online, the family angles keep it interesting enough but it rarely takes us inside the lab. With just one TV anchor in the same sari featuring in the entire series of bulletins, the show falters in places but keeps the audience engaged with the right dose of emotion and drama.
M.O.M. Mission Over Mars trailer
While I am still confused about the title, the cast does its best to keep the show moving. Mission Over Mars begins with a disappointing moment as ISRO’s namesake ISA fails in its Chandravimaan mission and the entire blame falls on the shoulders of Mona Singh. It touches a nerve given Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram Lander losing control after it landed on the moon’s South Pole. Just like India remains hopeful about Vikram, the hope for Mars mission remains alive in the eyes of the four scientists played by Mona, Sakshi Tanwar, Palomi Ghosh and Nidhi Singh. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s doppelganger makes a quick cameo before the spotlight falls on the women in question.
Mona shines through as she plays a hot-headed scientist, forced to work with her ex-husband, a fellow scientist at the same space centre. Clad in crisp cotton saris, Mona is dedicated to her dream but forgets to remember her only daughter’s birthday.
Sakshi Tanwar is her opposite -- a calm and quiet mission coordinator who is a helicopter mom to her 18-year-old son. A problem solver at work who makes mission to Mars possible with shoe-string budget, she is a dominating mother and a control freak at home. She will not allow her son to pursue his dream of being a cricketer and wants him to become a scientist too.
Nidhi tries to grow out of her Permanent Roommates’ image by playing a God-fearing scientist who prefers to trust her stars rather than science when it comes to her personal life.
MOM surely raises some eyebrows as the Indian scientists cheer the failure of China’s Mars Mission as it puts them back in the Mars race. The show also delves into how politics affect science and the scientists. However, a sequence showing the finance minister behaving badly with the top scientists of the country makes you wonder if it is even true. How a space vehicle can become a PR vehicle for the ruling government before elections adds to the content.
An inspiring moment lights the show up as ISA chief, played by Ashish Vidyarthi, distributes pictures of common people to motivate his team and remind them that it might be the government who finances India’s dreams but it is the people who vote them into power. Compare it to Mission Mangal or not, Mission Over Mars manages to survive on its own.
Author tweets @ruchik87