Directed by Shantanu Bagchi, Netflix’s Indian film ‘Mission Majnu’ revolves around Amandeep Ajitpal Singh, a RAW agent who is assigned to fulfill a covert mission in Pakistan. Amandeep arrives in India’s neighboring country as Tariq Ali to garner information about the country’s development of nuclear weapons. As a commendable spy, Amandeep/Tariq learns about the country’s nuclear mission and tries to neutralize it, following the orders of RAW’s head R. N. Kao. The spy film progresses through the conflicts and challenges Amandeep faces while trying to stop Pakistan from developing its own nuclear weapons. Naturally, the viewers must be eager to know whether the protagonist is based on a real RAW agent/spy. Well, let us provide the answer!
Was Amandeep Ajitpal Singh a Real RAW Agent?
No, Amandeep Ajitpal Singh AKA Tariq Ali is not a real RAW agent. The fictional character was conceived by the screenwriters of the film Parveez Sheikh, Aseem Arrora, and Sumit Batheja. “‘Mission Majnu’ is based on a true incident that happened in India and the politics around it in the 1970s. But, my character is completely fictionalized. So, it’s not based on any one spy of India,” Sidharth Malhotra, who plays Amandeep, clarified to The Quint. As Malhotra said, Shantanu Bagchi’s film is inspired by real events since RAW and then Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi did reportedly consider a covert mission targeting Pakistan’s first nuclear weapon development based in the city of Kahuta, located in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
Reports suggest that there were several RAW agents in Pakistan to materialize the mission that never happened. As far as Amandeep is concerned, Bagchi and his writers tried to conceive the protagonist by trying to be authentic about the ways and means of Indian espionage in the 1970s. “We were just trying to be true to the tonality of the 1970s as to how would a spy get information in those times where we didn’t have technology. I play a tailor in the film, I pretend to be a plumber, I pretend to be some other characters in the film, to desperately get that information,” Malhotra added.
Thus, although Amandeep is fictional, the screenwriters of the film succeeded in rooting the character in the history of espionage missions done by RAW in the 1970s. According to Malhotra, through his character, the film offers an “insight” into the operations of a real-life spy. “I found it fascinating that it [‘Mission Majnu’] is inspired by true events and yet it is fictionalized for obvious reasons because we do not know about these missions. It gives an insight into how a spy works in another country on their own while on a mission in an entertaining and interesting way,” the actor told Press Trust of India.
Ultimately, ‘Mission Majnu’ was conceived as a homage to the numerous known and unknown agents and spies who worked on foreign soil for India and Amandeep can be seen as their fictional representative. “There are thousands of heroes who work behind the scenes to safeguard the interest of our country from other terror units and rogue nations. Their work often goes unnoticed and ‘Mission Majnu’ is an attempt to bring their sacrifices and efforts to the forefront,” Ronnie Screwvala, one of the producers of the film, said in a statement.
To conclude, Amandeep Ajitpal Singh AKA Tariq Ali can be considered as a fictionalized version of a quintessential Indian raw agent of the 1970s, who had to put his life on the line to protect the interests of India while the country’s political relationship with Pakistan hit rock-bottom.