Meet the women behind Mission Mangal.
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‘M.O.M’ Web Series is Perfectly Timed With the Chandrayaan-2 Buzz

M.O.M- Mission Over Mars seems to be the best way to reminisce India’s great space achievements.

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Mission Over Mars

‘M.O.M’ Web Series is Perfectly Timed With the Chandrayaan-2 Buzz

Based on Mangalyaan or the Mars mission, M.O.M on ALT Balaji is the story of four different yet powerful women scientists, who worked day and night to ensure that India leaves its mark on planet Mars. Just like Test Case, this show will fill you up with national pride and make you root for team India through all their obstacles.

The Mars mission went through many ups and downs.
The Mars mission went through many ups and downs.
(Image courtesy: ALT Balaji)

M.O.M is a fictional representation of Mangalyaan, India’s maiden mission to Mars which was launched on 5 November 2013 by ISRO. The backbone of M.O.M is its four strong female protagonists played by Sakshi Tanwar, Mona Singh, Nidhi Singh, and Palomi Ghosh, with each getting significant screen space. Directed by Vinay Waikul, M.O.M is available for streaming on ALT Balaji as well as ZEE5. There are a total of 8 episodes which are approximately 30 minutes long.

M.O.M is a fictional representation of Mangalyaan, India’s maiden mission to Mars which was launched on 5 November 2013 by ISRO.

‘Mission Mangal’: Bollywood Did it First?

Since Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan and Tapsee Pannu-starrer Mission Mangal revolving around the same space mission just made it to the theatres, comparisons are bound to take place.

Having already seen Mission Mangal, I found that a lot of scenes in M.O.M were quite similar. Whether it’s working for 15 hours a day to cut the cost of the budget or postponing the launch date due to storms in the Pacific Ocean, it reminded me a lot of the film. Parallels can also be drawn between the backstory of the women in Mission Mangal and M.O.M. The pregnancy dilemma, the complicated dating life, the marital issues- it all felt like a rehash.

Mission Mangal Vs M.O.M
Mission Mangal Vs M.O.M
(Twitter/ Altered By The Quint) 

The Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) and visual effects in M.O.M certainly doesn't compare to the big-budget Bollywood film, Mission Mangal. While the latter gave us considerable screen time for the launch of the rocket, its travel through space and the landing in Mars; M.O.M skimps on the visual effects through shorter launch scene, reused space travel footage and lesser detailing.

But, you should give M.O.M a chance because unlike Mission Mangal, where most of the limelight fell on Akshay Kumar, here it’s all about the struggles, aspirations, and dreams of the women scientists.

A Mission Worth Fighting For...

M.O.M's story revolves around the lives of four women scientists - Nandita Hariprasad (Sakshi Tanwar), Moushumi Ghosh (Mona Singh), Neetu Sinha (Nidhi Singh) and Megan (Palomi Ghosh) working at the Indian Space Agency (ISA) in Bengaluru.

These women are constantly juggling their personal and professional lives. Whether it's Nandita trying to make her son focus on engineering entrances, Moushumi’s relations with her ex-husband, Neetu's attempts to get pregnant or Megan's complicated dating life, each have a lot going on. Keeping aside these personal struggles and differences in working styles, they unite with one mission- to beat China in space and make history by reaching Mars.

From submitting a proposal to Delhi proposing the mission launch, the ISA team faces many hurdles. It begins with the authorities in Delhi being skeptical about giving approval to the mission after the failure of the last Chandraviman mission. Other problems include a low budget of 74 million US dollars, failure of the MSLV rocket and last-minute changes in the launch date due to bad weather conditions.

Along with the approval came the low budget for M.O.M
Along with the approval came the low budget for M.O.M
(Image courtesy: ALT Balaji)

The team still doesn’t lose hope and works through thick and thin with just one goal in sight - to make a presence on Mars a reality for India.

Binge-Worthy?

Apart from the gripping storyline, the execution of the show is what makes M.O.M worth a watch. Every episode ends in a cliffhanger, making the viewer want to binge watch this sci-fi drama series. Even though the show turns out to be more emotional than sci-fi, it does strike a chord with the audience. Especially, in the context of the recent Chandrayaan-2 mission.

One thing which I really liked about M.O.M was how beautifully the name of the episodes captured the essence of the show. For instance, the first episode 'Chala toh chand tak, nahi toh shaam tak' perfectly sums up the race between India and China in space, first with their mission to the Moon and now to Mars. It subtly takes a dig at China’s Mars mission by comparing it to Chinese phones.

Another one titled '100% Indian', focused on ISA's determination to make the mission comprise of only Indian products, rejecting any outside help.

The performances and characters in M.O.M are what really makes it special.

I found Nandita's character, who plays the project coordinator of the Mars mission, an interesting one. At home she's a total control freak, to the extent of even cloning her son’s phone to check his whereabouts. But, in office, she's an extremely calm and composed leader.

Another character which shines in the show is Moushami Ghosh, a hot-headed scientist, who at time bites off more than she can chew. For instance, when the leader of the engineering team decides to step back from the Mars Mission, she immediately volunteers to lead it. We see her character developing from a person who doesn't like sharing credit to an amazing team player.

Women were the real heroes of the mission. 
Women were the real heroes of the mission. 
(Image courtesy: ALT Balaji/Facebook)

What Didn’t Work?

For starters, the scientific jargon could have been broken down a bit more. While the complex mission has been simplified more or less in the plotline, there are times when a little explanation would have been helpful.

Since the writers had the luxury of time, they could have explored more technical concepts related to the space mission. Sometimes, the episodes do seem a bit stretched and could have been crisper. There are times when you ask yourself, was this scene necessary? For example, the quarrels between Moushumi and her ex-husband just seem a bit dragged and unnecessary. Instead, we would have liked to see more of what’s going on in ISA.

The Verdict

If you have seen Mission Mangal, M.O.M might seem a bit repetitive because at the end of the day both are based on the Mangalyaan mission. Nonetheless, watch it for the performances and more believable execution of the plotline. For the people who haven’t seen the Hindi film, this one is a must-watch.

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