R Madhavan keeps audiences engaged by introducing them to the complex world of rocketry: The Tribune India


The passion and dedication of a man who wouldn’t take no for an answer is the story of Rocketry: The Nambi Effect, a biographical drama written, directed and produced by R. Madhavan. Inspired by the real-life story of a former ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) scientist, Nambi Narayanan, Rocketry traces the journey of one man on a mission – to make India big in the launch league of satellites.

Nambi (played by R. Madhavan) is a brilliant student retracing his journey under the tutelage of Indian space program father Vikram Sarabhai. While India is still struggling with technology and funds, Nambi wants to take a leap forward. In order to achieve his goal, he goes to Princeton University to do research under the guidance of Professor Luigi Crocco (Vincent Riotta). Nambi conveys NASA’s position to bolster his home country’s space program. His next stop is France with 52 scientists, cryogenics is next for which he invokes superhero strength to bring technology to India as the USSR disintegrates.

Just when he is about to realize his dream, Nambi is arrested for espionage. As he and his family deal with the social consequences, the ISRO project comes to a halt. The man’s journey to salvage his reputation and get the space program back on track makes up the film’s second half. Sincere husband, worried father, Nambi’s unjust accusation disrupts his family life. Nambi Narayanan himself appearing in the last segment of the film pays homage to the true hero!

Rocketry is a beautifully made film. Slow and steady, the film introduces audiences to the rather complex world of rocketry while building Nambi Narayan’s character scene by scene. After the interval, the film somersaults as the “hero” encounters unfair treatment. The struggle and misery the family is going through is heartbreaking. The film is shot like an interview, with the King of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan taking the host seat and doing a fair job. While Madhavan’s acting prowess is known, Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein, Rang De Basanti, Tanu Weds Manu to his credit; this makes for an impressive debut as a director.

The script for the film written by him (Amritsar’s daughter Sukhmani Sadana was also on the writing team) is nuanced. Simran as Nambi’s wife, Meena, Rajit Kapur as Vikram Sarabhai, Shah Rukh Khan playing himself as the host, do their part well. The cinematography is in keeping with the mood of the film; the long shots give depth to the story and the special effects are brilliant. Background music, sound design and music by Sam CS help the movie character. It’s how the important messages are conveyed intelligently that stands out – having Nambi and Unni in the same frame as Bhagat Singh, Tricolor in the shot as Nambi fights to get his sick wife taken away in a car outside of the hospital, the cultural diversity of the contingent of scientists – the film brings patriotism without overdoing it.

As the world faces uncertainty and despair, Rocketry is an inspiring watch. Running in cinemas now.

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