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Mission 90 Days – Review

Posted by Admin On August - 27 - 2007

When films based on real life happenings are made, you can’t take much liberty as a commercial film maker. Major Ravi, the writer and director of that edge of the seat, Mohanlal super hit Keerthichakra, based on how the Indian army tackled militancy and terrorism in the Kashmir valley is back with Mission 90 Days. This time it is his interpretation of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination.

Major Ravi a former retired officer, was in the hot seat as he was the leader of the commandos attached to the NSG, who stormed the hideout of the one-eyed Sivarasan, the LTTE leader, the mastermind behind the assassination of the former prime minister.

Ravi being a part of the operations makes it as realistic as possible, and avoids cinematic clichés except that the hero Major Sivaraman, played brilliantly by Mammootty is a more of a dare devil action hero with a beautiful wife (Tulip Joshy). There are some family sentiments, Salim Kumar’s comedy cameo as a toddy- tapper and a bit song thrown in to make it commercially viable, otherwise it would have looked like a documentary.

Ravi cleverly does not deal with the political aspects behind the assassination of one of India’s most loved Prime Ministers. In fact he goes to the other extreme and praises Rajiv Gandhi, who when he was Prime Minister sent the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to Sri Lanka to monitor the truce between the warring Sinhalese controlled Sri Lankan government and the Tamil rebel outfit LTTE, fighting for a separate eelam (country). There is even a background song in praise of Rajiv Gandhi!


So the director is able to use actual incidents during the investigation and real names for characters in the film, and also put the blame of not capturing Sivarasan alive on his seniors notably D.R Karthikeyan, the head of the Special Investigation Team (SIT), who investigated the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.


Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991 in Sri Perumbatur, near the then Madras. The government of India constituted SIT a day later, and Major Sivaraman (Mammootty) a top investigation officer and a NSG commando with a proven track record is put in charge to hunt down the killers. His bosses Partipan, the SIT chief and DIG Raju (Lalu Alex) give him all the necessary logical support with only one request- “Catch Sivarasan alive, before he consumes the deadly cyanide”.


Sivaraman due to his meticulous and systematic search is able to piece together the case, after the arrest of Murugan( Binoy Kodiyeri), Nalini(Maria), and their interrogation leads the team to the conspirator Sivarasan hiding in a house in Bangalore. The crux of the story is the last 15 minutes climax of the film. Sivaraman and his team have silently and stealthily moved and covered the house where the killers are staying. They are moving in for the final kill under the cover of darkness; waiting for orders from higher up’s sitting in Delhi, to start the operations.

 But bosses in Delhi want it to be delayed, so that they can be on the spot to corner the glory of capturing Sivarasan alive in front of the media! Major Sivaraman, waits the entire night for the order to start the operation, which is given only next day after the bosses arrive, at 9am in broad daylight in front of thousands of onlookers and a bungling Karnataka police! The surprise element in the operation is lost as Sivaraman finds to his horror the entire LTTE team had bitten the cyanide and Sivarasan the king-pin had shot himself, a few seconds before they broke in!!

 The director through Major Sivaraman has effectively etched out the trials and tribulations he had to face in the final moments of the operation. It is loud and clear that Sivarasan could have been caught alive by the SIT crack commandos, only if there was no bureaucratic bungling and bosses who wanted to corner all the publicity and glory attached to it. Like his earlier film this one also imparts a strong message of patriotism. But the film at 2 hours 12 minutes lags, as Ravi tries to give a clean chit to the IPKF, by showing a friendship between Major Sivaraman and a LTTE cadre!

 Mission 90 Days is nowhere near Keerthichakra, which was far more racy and spellbinding with a better scrip.Still Mammootty as Major Sivaraman makes this one work with his riveting performance and style of investigation. It is a tailor made role for Mammootty, and his dialogue delivery especially in the climax livens up the film. Another highlight of the film is Thiru’s camera work, and the background score.
Watch Mission 90 Days, which has the right patriotic mix and a very realistic touch that you do not come across in movies these days.

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