Cast: Madhavan, Simran, Rajit Kapoor, Ravi Raghavendra, Misha Ghoshal, Muralidaran, Gulshan Grover
The Vikas engine, which was used to launch India's first PSLV, was created by eminent rocket scientist Nambi Narayanan. He had also produced outstanding work in the field of cryogenics. He received a full scholarship to Princeton and later turned down a fantastic offer from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in favour of working in Thiruvananthapuram for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Rocketry: The Nambi Effect, directed by R. Madhavan, is a sort of biopic on Narayanan that debuted at the Cannes Film Festival's Marche du Film in May and is currently playing in theatres. But sadly, the 157-minute screenplay is completely unnecessary. The first part of the film, which was loosely written by Madhavan (who portrays Nambi Narayanan), feels like a physics class because there are so many obscure and uninteresting scientific terms used. It is hardly cinematic and incredibly verbose.
In one scene, Narayanan and his men race across a sizable snowy stretch in what was then the Soviet Union as the second half progresses like an espionage thriller. Americans are after them because they want to take what Narayanan is transporting to India aboard a jet that is waiting and prepared to take off. It seems like a normal James Bond adventure! The language is Rocketry's biggest problem; try to imagine French guys, Russians, and Britons speaking Tamil. The CBI staff members also speak Tamil! The lip-sync is horrible, and the performances are sorely lacking in what was supposed to be a multilingual work.
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The focus of Rocketry should have been on Narayanan's torturous years in prison after being falsely convicted of being a spy. The fact that he was ultimately found not guilty and acquitted is a different story. It was necessary to elaborate on this period of his life. Because this is the tale that demands to be told in all its awful honesty. Instead, Madhavan wastes the time on pointless things; what is the point of a lovely girl standing opposite a young Narayanan and then approaching him to learn that he was thinking about his wife? Come on, Madhavan, this isn't the 1960s anymore, and we were hoping for much more.
Moreover, because a creator tried to step outside of his comfort zone and tell a story that few would dare, Rocketry is a movie that deserves to be recognised. It is the story of a guy who made great contributions to this nation but received cruel treatment in return. It took the government over two decades to exonerate a seasoned scientist in a case he was never found guilty of. It's a tale that has to be heard and told!