Multitasking as an actor, director and writer isn’t an easy thing to do. Apart from confidence you also need a certain command over these mediums. R Madhavan has not only played the lead role in Rocketry, he is also the director and also one of the writers involved. For those who are not aware the film is based on the real life space scientist Nambi Narayan. Nambi Narayan was accused of being a traitor who sold his country. He had to fight a long court case to disprove it: Narayan suffered both professionally and personally. This is a tough story to execute for any director let alone a newbie. The rawness in Madhavan’s direction is very much visible, but still Rocketry is a heartfelt film which deserves a watch on the big screen. Two things contribute majorly to this. One is the stupendous performance of Madhavan the actor. Secondly Madhavan the director is able to make you connect with the story of Nambi on a personal level. As audiences you celebrate his highs and lows.
Also read: Jug Jug Jeeyo: This dramedy packs a punch
The film begins with a stunning long shot that establishes the family of Nambi Narayan. We see the family having a laugh over lunch with no inkling about how their life is going to change forever. We see Nambi getting arrested on espionage charges; the wife played by Simran gets humiliated while attending a wedding. The daughter sits helpless in the middle of the road; dung is there on her face. The son and the son-in-law of Nambi Narayan aren’t spared either. After this we have a flash forward to the elderly Nambi. He is in a conversation with an actor (Shah Rukh Khan) playing himself. The Tamil and the Telugu version have Surya playing the role of the interviewer. Through numerous flashbacks we come to know about Narayan’s hardships. The real life Nambi Narayan also makes an appearance at the end.
Also read: O2: A strong cautionary tale for humankind
Madhavan’s direction is at its best when it focuses on Narayan being falsely accused and the subsequent trauma that follows. The emotional scenes between Madhavan and Simran are heartbreaking. A scene which deserves a particular mention is when Nambi is finally declared innocent by the court. This happens when they are in a wedding. The breakdown of Nambi and the subsequent events make you cheer for the character. Madhavan and Simran have acted as a couple in a couple of films. The last one being Mani Ratnam’s Amrutha. The comfort level between the two is very much visible. The length of Simran’s role is less but the actress is terrific in the few demanding scenes that she has got.
Also read: Vikram: A masala treat for the fans of Kamal, Fahadh and Vijay
The custody scenes of Nambi have also been brilliantly executed by the director. He is successful in making you empathize with the plight of Nambi Narayan, at the same time you feel anger towards the police officials for the way they are treating him.
The first half has also got some fine directorial touches. For example there is an episode when a co-worker of Narayan loses his son. Narayan deliberately hides this from this co-worker till the end of the mission. We are not generally shown grey areas in Indian biopics but R Madhavan deserves credit for keeping this episode intact.
Also read: Major: Adavi Sesh anchors this heart touching saga
Some lighter bits in the first half also make you chuckle. The humor mostly comes from the scientists having fun at the expense of people in different countries they visit.
The first half of the film is mostly technical. Unlike Jagan Shakti’s Mission Mangal Madhavan doesn’t try to simplify the scientific terms. The strive for authenticity is definitely admirable. But at the same time some of the jargon could have been cut down.
Also Madhavan should have put a little more focus on who had wronged Nambi Narayan and the agenda behind his arrest. The answers for these questions aren’t completely answered. Some more focus on this would have further enhanced the writing. The foreign characters with the exception of a couple of English people don’t really register.
Also read: Anek: An admirable effort but lacks focus
As an actor Madhavan just disappears into the role of Nambi Narayan. The nuances and the physical appearance have been brilliantly captured by the actor. In the climax there is a close up shot of the real life Nambi Narayan. The resemblance between the real and the reel Nambi Narayan is so uncanny. It just shows how Madhavan has imbibed the character that he is playing.
Shah Rukh Khan has a charming presence and the way he gets involved in the story of Nambi comes across nicely. Shah Rukh gets his own moment when he apologizes on behalf of the nation for how Nambi Narayan has been treated. The actor does a solid job in this scene.
Also read: Panchayat Season 2: A worthy follow up to season 1
In the technical department Sirsha Ray deserves a standout for how he has shown the film through his lens. The cinematography perfectly aids the narrative of the film.
Rocketry is a film that deserves to be seen for the sheer hard work of Madhavan and also the real life personality it is based on.
Also read: Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2: A wholesome commercial entertainer
Nicely written. Will watch the film.