Less than a month since it was depicted on the big screen in Mission Mangal, India’s historic Mars mission is now also a limited series. The first four episodes of Mission Over Mars — the unlicensed, fictional adaptation of ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission / Mangalyaan — are now streaming on ALTBalaji and ZEE5. As with the film, it focuses on the four women scientists — played here by Sakshi Tanwar (Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii), Mona Singh (Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin), Nidhi Singh (Permanent Roommates), and Palomi Ghosh (Typewriter) — at the centre of it all, though hopefully Mission Over Mars will treat its female characters better, won’t unnecessarily distort facts, and stay away from the jingoism, unlike Mission Mangal.
If you’re wondering why Mission Over Mars is unlicensed, that’s because the ISRO rights were snapped up by Mission Mangal. Don’t bother to look for historical accuracy in Mission Over Mars, since the limited series “cannot use actual names or images of either the people, objects or agencies in any publicity material”, per its legal and contractual obligations. The reason it’s available on both ALTBalaji and ZEE5 is because the series has been co-created, with Balaji Telefilms and Endemol India serving as the production entities. And even though it’s a drama per se, Mission Over Mars’ eight episodes will run for half-hour each, making up a runtime of just four hours in total.
In addition to Sakshi Tanwar as Nandita Hariprasad, Mona Singh as Moushumi Ghosh, Nidhi Singh as Neetu Sinha, and Palomi Ghosh as Meghan Reddy, Mission Over Mars also stars Ashish Vidyarthi (Drohkaal) as K. Murlidharan, Mohan Joshi (Gunda) as Sharad Gokhale, Chittaranjan Tripathi (Sacred Games) as Binayak Mohanty, and Ankur Rathee (Four More Shots Please!) as Gautam Gulati. Mona Ambegaonkar (Mardaani), Harssh A. Singh (Raman Raghav 2.0), Micky Makhija (Prem Ratan Dhan Payo), Suhaas Ahuja (Talaash), Purnendu Bhattacharya (Fukrey Returns), Naisha Khanna (Kahaani 2) have been cast in undisclosed roles. Mission Over Mars has been directed by Vinay Waikul (The Test Case).
Here’s the official synopsis for Mission Over Mars, via ALTBalaji:
“Mission Over Mars (M-O-M) is an inspiring story of four women scientists who help Indian Space Agency (ISA) overcome insurmountable technical deficiencies to mount the successful Mars Orbiter Mission. Showcasing the multidimensional lives they lead as wives, daughters, mothers, and space scientists, the series focuses on how the four ladies decimate all obstacles, both social and scientific, making India proud.
“Mission Over Mars charts out the journey of Mars Orbiter Mission from inception to execution and will be a moving story of the faith and determination of four lady-scientists who aid ISA to overcome insurmountable technical and financial challenges as well as time pressures to mount the successful mission over mars.
“They not just make the whole nation proud, but also place India ahead of many other countries on the map. In the process, they conquer their own inward imperfections, making for an inspirational story. This series is certain to inspire people across the globe that ‘Nothing is impossible.’”
The first four episodes of Mission Over Mars are available on ALTBalaji and ZEE5. The remaining four episodes will be available on Thursday, September 12.