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Why Don’t We Have The Women Front And Centre On The Mission Mangal Poster?

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Back in September 2014, the entire nation was treated to a picture on the front page of their morning newspapers. It was a group of women, in gorgeous sarees, celebrating at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The picture from the mission control room in Bangalore was a first for many Indian women and little girls. The female staff resplendent with joy while their male colleagues look at them with awe and respect, it was very pure!

The Mars Orbiter Mission is a landmark in Indian space research. wWith a minimal budget and single attempt, the mission was lauded by the whole world for its technological achievements. Taking the spotlight front and centre were the women who were instrumental to the mission. Which is why we were confused when we saw the poster for its Bollywood adaptation Mission Mangal.

The historic event was followed by many stories, documentaries and interviews focusing on the role of the female scientists who were instrumental to this mission. But with the artwork in the poster putting the women in a shaded corner and Akshay Kumar being the focus makes us wonder if the filmmakers have their heart in the right place.

We are aware that the plot of the film is still a mystery and only a poster cannot speak for a whole film. But that is what first looks of movies are for. They set a tone for the audience, give them an idea on what to expect from the film. The poster for  Mission Mangal does not look like a film that is set to tell an incredible story about women in science.

As opposed to the poster for Mission Mangal, we can much better appreciate the first look of Ekta Kapoor’s M.O.M. Though the poster garnered some criticism over its use of the wrong rocket, it is a much better representation of the story behind the event.

Even people in the scientific community hope that a movie adaptation of this historic event is a realistic one. One with facts and figures and real people rather than songs and super stars, one that’s a Bollywood version of reality.

Back in 2016, Hollywood released a powerful project Hidden Figures. It was based on the African-American female mathematicians who were at NASA and had their many contributions overlooked. This was the first look of the film. Have me made our point clear? Let us know!


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