Film: Rocketry: The Nambi Effect
Director: R. Madhavan
Cast: R. Madhavan, Simran, Rajit Kapur, Bhawsheel Sahni, Sam Mohan and Shah Rukh Khan
A man’s passion and dedication 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 Organisation) scientist Nambi Narayanan, Rocketry charts journey of a man on mission – to make India great in the satellite launch league.
Nambi (played by R. Madhavan) is one brilliant student charting his journey under the tutelage of Father of the Indian Space Programme Vikram Sarabhai. While India is still struggling with technology, and funds, Nambi wants to leap ahead. In order to reach his goal he gets in Princeton University to research under Prof Luigi Crocco (Vincent Riotta). Nambi passes on NASA position to strengthen his home country’s space programme. His stop next is France along with 52 scientists, cryogenics is next for which he summons superhero strength to get technology to India as USSR disintegrates.
Just when he’s about to realise his dream, Nambi is put under arrest on spying charges. As he and his family deal with the social aftermath, the ISRO project comes to standstill. The man’s journey to salvage his reputation and bring the space programme back on track makes for the second half of the film. A sincere husband, concerned father, Nambi’s unfair accusation runs havoc with his family life. Nambi Narayanan himself appearing in the last segment of the film pays tribute to the real hero!
Rocketry is a beautifully made film. Slow and steady, the film introduces the audience to rather complex world of rocketry while building Nambi Narayan’s character scene by scene. Post-interval, the film somersaults as the ‘hero’ meets unfair treatment. The struggle and misery that the family goes through is heart breaking. The film is shot as an interview, with King of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan taking on the host’s seat, and doing a fair job of it. While one knows Madhavan’s acting prowess, Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein, Rang De Basanti, Tanu Weds Manu to his credit; this makes an impressive debut as a director.
The film’s script written by him (Amritsar girl Sukhmani Sadana has been a part of the writing team as well) is nuanced. Simran as Nambi’s wife Meena, Rajit Kapur as Vikram Sarabhai, Shah Rukh Khan playing himself as host, do their part well. Cinematography is keeping with the mood of the film; long shots lend depth to the story and special effects are brilliant. Background score, sound design and music by Sam C. S. aid the film’s character. It’s how significant messages are conveyed intelligently that stands out – having Nambi and Unni in the same frame as Bhagat Singh, Tricolour in the shot as Nambi struggles to get his ailing wife in an auto outside hospital, the cultural diversity in scientists’ contingent – the film brings patriotism without going overboard.
As the world deals with uncertainty and despair, Rocketry makes for an inspiring watch. Running in cinemas now.