Space MOMs (India, 2021)

Inspired by true events, this Indian film is a well-made drama revolving around two people with different personalities having to work together to make history.

Since they were children, two polar opposites, Shanti and Vimala, have shared the same dream. They wish to bring a rocket into outer space. Thirty years after announcing their dreams, the two work together at the local Space Research Institute with the assistance of Ponni, who also dreamed since childhood of making a difference in the program. Soon enough, India has made an announcement. They plan to launch a rocket into Mars and orbit around the planet. When Vimala and Ponni are chosen for the project, Shanti almost loses hope until she too learns she is part of the team.

Shanti and Vimala are forced to work together on the software and hardware teams as leaders. However, they couldn’t be more different. Shanti is known for her cunningness and perfect methods. And yet, she doesn’t know how to be a team player. On the other hand, Vimala is a happy go lucky team player, but she needs to understand why they cannot misstep even once. To make things more insane, the project forces both to spend less time with their families. Will Shanti and Vimala get along and succeed in the mission?

This Indian film is not exactly the Bollywood style film most will connect India to. Rather, inspired by the true story of the 2014 Mars Orbiter Mission in India, this film can be best described as an Indian version of Hidden Figures. What’s even more astounding is that the chemistry between the characters seem to be so natural it takes on a sense of realism. The film also depicts the struggles these titular “space moms” have when it comes to their family life as they are affected by the rigors of the mission and its tight deadline. That’s the dedication writer-director Radha Bharadwaj brings to the film without any tricks or any sort of fake acting.

Bhavna Pani and Swati Das are excellent in their roles of polar opposites turned friends and allies Shanti and Vimala. The characters could not be any more different. Shanti is a hard-headed perfectionist who takes her mannerisms not just to work, but home as well. She berates her husband for his attempts to cook even when her mother supports him. As for Vimala, she is married to another space engineer and when he’s not chosen, he’s not upset at all. Rather, he is in full support of his wife and wishes her the best.

The film also shows support from the outside world as they root for the mission to go off without a hitch. But of course, when it comes to preparing and gathering the details necessary, things do plan to go awry. However, we are talking about a tight deadline and a budget one tenth of the U.S.’s Mission to Mars. So, calculations are key and they must be perfect. There are moments of frustration, emotion, and hope all within the film’s 100-minute running time. We even get to witness a pivotal moment when one must find herself rising above and beyond that strengthens the bond between the two central characters.

Space MOMs is a terrific drama that caters as an exemplary film that is more than a film about moms working to bring a rocket to Mars. It is a film that brings a sense of realism with a stellar cast and a realistic approach to things. A must see!

WFG RATING: A

Random Media presents a Hanuman Films presentation in association with On the Road India. Director: Radha Bharadwaj. Producers: Radha Bharadwaj, David Cohe, and Dileep Singh Rathore. Writer: Radha Bharadwaj. Cinematography: Palani Kumar. Editing: Radha Bharadwaj.

Cast: Bhavna Pani, Swati Das, M.D. Pallavi, Ananda Shankar Jayant, Manesh Dattani, Radha Bharadwaj, Trivikram Nallamshety.

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