The multi-starrer Mission Mangal, which was announced earlier this month on 5 November, began filming yesterday on 23 November. The film is based on India’s first successful mission to Mars that launched the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan to study the red planet’s surface and atmosphere.
The star-studded cast includes actress Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu, Sonakshi Sinha, Nithya Menen and Kirti Kulhari, with actors Akshay Kumar and Sharman Joshi. The shoot began with Vidya, Sinha, Pannu and Akshay all present on the first day. Akshay is also a co-producer on the film
Sinha shared an image of the movie’s clapboard with the caption, “The mission is ON! First day of shoot for me today.”
Meanwhile, Pannu teased a look of her character, Kritika Agarwal, reporting for duty on set in a yellow sari and braid. Agarwal works in the Navigation and Communication Department.
This past week, Mission Mangal was embroiled in controversy when US-based filmmaker Radha Bharadwaj accused the makers of copyright infringement of her original screenplay on the same subject. Her film, Space MOMs, revolves around the women involved in the space mission.
Producer R Balki spoke with the Mid-day, a tabloid and stated he and director Shakti have based their film on the real-life incident but have created fictional characters around it.
“There are always many claimants when it comes to a film based on a real-life incident. I am sure many scripts have been written on the Mars Mission. But ours is an original screenplay. We have taken the core of the story and added fictional characters to make it an interesting screenplay. Only ISRO can claim rights to the core story. I urge Radha to come to my office and read our script. I am certain she will find it refreshing. She hasn’t even read it, so how can she make such claims?” the filmmaker told the publication.
Bharadwaj also alleged that she had shared her screenplay with Atul Kasbekar who later showed it to Vidya. R Balki denied that Kasbekar was aware of the film and that he and Shakti had contacted the actress about the project personally.
“Atul Kasbekar does not know of this film. Jagan and I met Vidya personally, and not through Atul. I don’t even know if Atul handles her account. Neither were we aware of who else had approached Vidya with stories on Mangalyaan.”
Mission Mangal is due to be released on 15 August 2019, just before the mission’s fifth anniversary.