Mumbai: Jagan Shakti is making his debut as a director with Akshay Kumar-Vidya Balan starrer “Mission Mangal” and he says having big stars on board is always an advantage. The film is based on real-life scientists, who contributed to India’s first interplanetary expedition, Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), launched by Indian Research Space Organisation (ISRO) in 2013. Akshay plays Rakesh Dhawan, a scientist, who is in charge of the mission and the five female colleagues, played by Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Sonakshi Sinha and Nithya Menen, help him in spearheading the mission. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka “When I started writing it I never had a plan of having big stars. I just wanted to make this film, share this story with everyone. But when stars come on board it is an advantage. With stars, a film reaches more people. But having said that, a good film will also work well with lesser-known actors,” Shakti told PTI. The first poster of “Mission Mangal” courted controversy for giving Akshay a bigger display than the female co-stars. The director, however, said the all the characters contribute equally to the film. Also Read – Salman Khan remembers actor Vinod Khanna “You are going to have that because when you have seven to eight stars you are bound to have such a poster. But it is everybody’s story and everybody brings in the crowd. In the writing every role is strong,” he said. Shakti was an associate director on “Padman” (2018) and “Holiday” (2014) and it was during the former when he had shared the idea of “Mission Mangal” with Akshay. Talking about the casting of the film, Shakti said, “I am blessed, I have no complaints. I narrated him and he loved it. It was a blessing for me to have Akshay in my first film itself. I approached Vidya ji, I knew her when I was working on ‘Paa’ (as an AD), I have also worked with Sonakshi on two films – ‘Akira’ and ‘Holiday’. “I approached them because I knew them well. Maybe the script was strong that everybody agreed to be part of the film.” Shakti said his elder sister is a scientist working for ISRO and through her he got to meet a lot of people who were part of the Mars Mission. The film also features Sharman Joshi and Dalip Tahil playing pivotal roles. “Mission Mangal” is scheduled to be released on August 15.