Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran Reviews (Top Critics)

By Komal Nahta

Zee Studios, Kyta Productions and JA Entertainment's Parmanu - The Story of Pokhran is based on a true story about how India became a nuclear state after covertly building nuclear bombs and testing them in Pokhran desert in Rajasthan in record time and while not letting the world know till finally, the explosions were carried out. The story begins in 1995.

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By Manisha Lakhe (2/5)

With American satellites keeping a constant eye on Pokhran, India's Nuclear site for years (India had conducted the first 'peaceful' nuclear explosion in 1974), there was no way they world was going to allow India to join the nuclear nations. So a civil services officer created a team and helped conduct not one, but three underground nuclear explosions successfully, one of the most successful covert operations in the world. The idea is great, but it takes too long to build the story.

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By Shrishti Negi (2/5)

After a terribly failed "physics experiment" in 1974, it is time India resumes nuclear testing, considering Pakistan has sped up construction of a nuclear plant and its growing relations with the US and China. But it's not that easy as an American satellite is keeping a watchful eye over India's every move. Aware of what's happening, a young, determined and passionate civil servant Ashwath Raina (played by John Abraham) enters with an A-class plan with hope in his heart that India will become a nuclear state one day, more so because he is a martyred Army officer's son, who couldn't get into services himself because of flat feet.

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The Indian Express
By Shubhra Gupta (1.5/5)

The story of how India entered the coveted global 'nuclear club' in May 1998 has been well documented. Those with long memories will recall the jubilation reflected in the media, as well as among parts of the general public, when the nuclear devices were exploded in the middle of the sand dunes of Pokharan. The highly secret project was orchestrated and executed by the chosen few in the then Vajpayee government, the military establishment, and the scientific community. As expected, there was great consternation and condemnation, from the US, which saw it as an embarrassing intelligence failure, as well as China and Pakistan.

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By MAYUR SANAP (1.5/5)

'Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran' starts with the title card "Based on a True Event". Yes, you can base a film on a true event and then fictionalise parts of it. It is jarring to see a story that is muddled with way too many obvious tension-building fabrications to suggest that the impossible mission was no mean task. Ashwat Raina (John Abraham) tries to convince the government of India to invest their interest in nuclear energy for the protection of the country. He disappointingly quits after receiving no response from the government.

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By Reshu Manglik (2/5)

Another 'based on true incidents' movie churned out by Bollywood, releases on silver screen. The film industry has remodelled many such high-octane flicks that are 'supposedly' based on the real-life incidents. For example, the lately released Alia Bhatt's patriotic drama Raazi. The film is faring well at the box office and we should credit this to the taut screenwriting and nearly perfect direction of Meghna Gulzar. Making a film on an event holding such national importance like Pokhran is not an easy task, and we plainly admit that.

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By Lakshana N Palat (2.5/5)

Desh, desh and more desh. That word reverberates more than the nuclear bomb itself, in John Abraham's Parmanu The Story of Pokhran. Let's cut to the chase. Parmanu The Story of Pokhran is an elaborate nationalistic tale about India's transformation into a nuclear state. In an attempt to introduce facts into this confused fictional account, there is liberal footage of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, US President Bill Clinton and ex Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

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By Umesh Punwani (4/5)

The movie starts with a nonsensical discussion happening in the Prime Minister's Office regarding how China has tested 43 of its nuclear bombs. Ashwat Rana (John Abraham), a junior bureaucrat, comes up with a full proof plan in a floppy (Yes, it was 90's) but gets unheard by the ministers. He's asked to make a brief report and without his involvement, the plan is conducted and it fails miserably. He's used as a scapegoat and gets terminated for this failure.

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By Sukanya Verma (2/5)

The Pokhran nuclear tests of 1998 were a success and John Abraham is as expressive as a plank. Neither of this comes as a surprise in Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran. But the degree of drama it cooks up to make a strategic mission look like a high-pitched exercise in desh bhakti is unbelievable.

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By Vishal Verma (3.5/5)

Running passionately for two hours and ten minutes, PARMANU: THE STORY OF POKHRAN rekindles the historic moment of pride and respect for our India. The dramatized account on how twenty years ago on May 11, 1998, India conducted the landmark Pokhran-II nuclear test at the Pokhran test range in Rajasthan's Jaisalmer district under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. The series of five nuclear explosions under the leadership of late President APJ Abdul Kalam that completely bamboozled the western intelligence and made India a nuclear power demands compulsory viewing for those who love India and are true Indians.

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By Devesh Sharma (3/5)

John Abraham plays the architect of the secret operation which was used to fool the American intelligence while India carried out the successful nuclear testing in Pokhran in 1998. Parmanu isn't an action film but a recreation of actual events. India has always portrayed itself as a nation which roots for peace than war. Despite testing a nuclear bomb in 1974 -- someone should really make a film on the Smiling Buddha operation -- it seemingly abandoned its weapons programme under international pressure and supposedly concentrated on using nuclear energy through peaceful means.

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By Jaidev Hemmady (2/5)

In the 90s, Pakistan already has nuclear weapons, courtesy China while India has lost its strongest ally-the Soviet Union. Not only this, India has America breathing down her shoulder and not allowing her to explore nuclear options. Ashwat Raina, a junior bureaucrat in the Research and Strategy Department, has a plan to make India a nuclear state, but there are difficulties galore ranging from lazy bureaucracy to American satellites constantly monitoring India to crack down on any plans to seek nuclear supremacy.

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By Bollywood Hungama (3.5/5)

When India got independence in 1947, it was a challenge for those who assumed power. After all, they had to start from scratch in several areas and aspects. These challenges continue till date but it's heartening to see that despite a lot of hurdles, India has made great progress in a lot of fields. One of the achievements was becoming a full-fledged nuclear state and this happened due to a series of nuclear tests carried out in Rajasthan town in 1998. The entire story behind these nuclear tests is quite fascinating and surprisingly, no filmmaker had picked it up in these two decades. Finally, actor-producer John Abraham took the challenge and has come out with PARMANU - THE STORY OF POKHRAN.

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By Saibal Chatterjee (1.5/5)

Abhishek Sharma's Parmanu - The Story Of Pokhran is a tale without a sting. In this anything-goes, post-truth film, fact and fiction are freely and selectively mixed to whip up patriotic fervour around a nuclear test that India conducted two decades ago. Those explosions in Pokhran were more about technology than military heroism. That distinction isn't allowed to come in the way of the film's priggish tone, which serves to uphold the skewed notion of strength and muscularity that is peddled nowadays for us to aspire to as a nation.

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By Ankita Chaurasia (3/5)

Bollywood has always been mining the history of India to find and present stories that are patriotic. Not only does it help establish an immediate connect with the audience, it also warrants numerous discussions and a good amount of respect. Plus the repeat value of such movies is also high. But, of late, filmmakers are trying to tell stories of the unsung heroes. The underdogs and those who work behind-the-scenes make great subjects when combined with patriotism.

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By Anna M.M. Vetticad (2/5)

1995: An earnest young bureaucrat's proposal to make India a nuclear state is mucked up in execution by a minister anxious for personal glory. When we meet Ashwath Raina (John Abraham) again three years later, he is still disillusioned and bitter about his suspension from his job for a politician's mistakes. Raina has been leading a quiet existence, taking private tuitions at home for IAS aspirants while his astrophysicist wife Sushma pulls most of the weight for the family that also includes their nine-year-old son Prahlad.

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Hindustan Times
By Rohit Vats (3/5)

On a scorching May afternoon, an American spy, while sitting at an urbane cafe in Jaisalmer, advises his bosses to be careful about some suspicious activities near the nuclear site in Pokhran. He almost begs to be taken seriously, but the in-charge back home is very confident of the state-of-the-art Lacrosse satellites America uses for surveillance. He believes technology more than the intuition of the on-field agent. It turns out to be one of the biggest intelligence failures in the history of the CIA.

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The Times Of India
By Rachit Gupta (3.5/5)

In 1995, Ashwath Raina (John Abraham) an IAS officer, suggests that India conduct its own set of nuclear tests to stay ahead in the nuclear race with China and Pakistan. After the initial test fails under pressure from America, Raina gets a second chance in 1998 under the new reign of then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

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