A Satisfying Tribute
What Is the Film About?
Rocket Boys is a biopic that chronicles the journey of scientific pioneers in India, the legends Dr Homi J Bhabha, and Dr Vikram Sarabhai. They were instrumental in putting India on the world map with their incredible work in India’s Space and Atomic Programme.
Jim Sarbh and Ishwak Singh breathe life to the respective legends they play. They bring out the contrasting personalities and conflict these two minds had with their brilliant portrayals.
Jim Sarbh is without any doubt, the highlight with his career-best act as Dr Homi J Bhabha. The sparks were visible previously, but here he gets a character to soak in completely and put his best foot forward. Bhabha’s erudite personality has been captured to perfection by the actor along with an addition of the maniac energy. It works wonders for the role and makes it memorable instantly.
Ishwak Singh plays a contrasting, controlled yet determined in his way persona of Dr Vikram Sarabhai to perfection. That the part is exactly opposite to Bhabha and the series is their journey together is what makes the narrative engaging and effective.
A debutant Abhay Pannu directs Rocket Boys. He is also the writer. Given the extraordinary material at hand and the dryness it has due to ‘scientific’ content, Abhay Pannu deserves all the kudos to make Rocket Boys an engaging affair with all the drama and intrigue in place.
To begin with, Rocket Boys deals with the much ignored scientific community of India. There is a reason why it is so as it is hard to get across the subject overcoming the science jargon and hence the boredom. Abhay Pannu, who is also the director, succeeds here big time as he makes the terminology palpable to a regular viewer.
A large part of grounding the hi-fi background is courtesy of excellence in the character development of Bhabha and Sarabhai. Their discussions on anything are worth listening and when they have the opposite views and conflict, it escalates the drama in the narrative. One is eager to see who succeeds and how?
Add the political turmoil and the period wherein the capabilities of India were questionable or whether it was right to go for atomic research and space programs, the whole narrative becomes intriguing and gripping. It overcomes the pace issue and the politics on display.
The downside is a personal diversion from the core plot. The extended drama involving the women brings a new dimension to the proceedings, but it also adds boredom die to the predictability.
There is a chest-thumping patriotic quality to the proceedings. It could easily be gyrating on nerves, but such a feeling never occurs. The classiness in dealing with the patriotism and understated quality of the whole thing makes it effortlessly integrated into the narrative without sticking out.
Overall, Rocket Boys is a stunningly made biopic featuring great Indian personalities who are often ignored. If you want to get a glimpse of the gigantic efforts of India’s greatest scientific minds, go ahead and give Rocket Boys a watch immediately.
A fantastic ensemble cast has been put in place for Rocket Boys. Everyone has a well-defined part that is integral to the overall narrative. First, if we talk about women, Regina Cassandra and Saba Azad stand tall among all. They are fabulous and probably deserve a special series focussing on their point of view. As it stands, despite their best efforts, they only slow down the proceedings.
Dibyendu Bhattacharya playing Raza is excellent. It is reportedly a fictional character but is well written and adds a lot of drama to the narrative. All his conversations with Bhabha are engaging. Rajit Kapoor playing Jawahar Lal Nehru nails his mannerism and body language well, without turning it into a caricature.
Danish Akhtar and Arjun Radhakrishnan playing the young and a little older versions of APJ Abdul Kalam are fine. The rest of the cast barring the CIA person are adequate.
Music and Other Departments?
Scam 1992 fame Achint Thakkar provides the background score for Rocket Boys. Needless to say, it is impressive. Technically the series is superlative and the background score is one of the facets. Harshavir Oberai’s cinematography is excellent. He brings a grandness to the whole thing via his lens and capturing of the period. Maahir Zaveri’s editing is deliberately slow-paced. It trusts the actors and director to engage and overcome the issue, and that’s what happens. The writing is consistently good, especially considering there is a lot of scientific terminologies used.
Extended Personal Drama
Unexplored Espionage Aspects
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Rocket Boys Web Series Review by Siddartha Toleti
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