With the approaching 75th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the July release of the film Rocketry- The Nambi Effect’ filled our already patriotic hearts with immense pride. The movie follows the real-life story of a revered ISRO scientist S. Nambi Narayanan. Centered around the history of rocketry and aerospace, Rocketry does not open inside a science facility, instead introduces us to the simple family of Nambi Narayanan, as they prepare to attend a wedding together. This opening scene itself allows the audience to connect with the protagonist and delve deeper into his candid lifestyle. Just as you start rooting for the man, events take a turn for the worse and he is arrested while his whole family is shamed. Questions surrounding the arrest of an ISRO scientist are soon answered in an interview with a cameo by superstar Shah Rukh Khan, which helps us understand Nambi Narayanan and his illustrious career much better.
Rocketry marks the directorial debut of Madhavan, who is also playing the role of ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan. He has done a commendable job of choosing the key events in the scientist’s life to be turned into a film as well as expressing quite vividly all the emotions Mr. Narayanan must have felt.
Rocketry is the story of Nambi Narayanan’s genius and how he was treated after a false case of espionage was brought against him. He is portrayed as a prodigy who is quite arrogant in his pursuit of knowledge but never lets patriotism take a back seat in his decisions. We were often introduced to instances when Mr. Narayanan’s brainwork left us in awe while also making us question the moral stance of his decisions, such as when it came to telling Unni about his son’s death. Even after a glorified depiction of his acts, the film does an excellent job of making his ‘getting the job done attitude quite evident to the audience.
As the film progresses, Madhavan’s acting makes one belief in the character and the viewer’s heart is broken repeatedly through scenes such as when we see him being beaten in prison and see the citizens of the very country he worked for protesting against him or when he is trying to console his shattered wife. When he recounts these horrid experiences in the interview, the whole nation mourns with him. They mourn the loss of respect for such a brave patriot and the loss of judgment that resulted in people’s rash hatred towards him.
The film actively plays with our emotions as we witness the protagonist’s turmoil in the second half, but critics say the first half focuses on the technical aspects of rocketry a little too much and may have been an aspect that Madhavan overlooked as a first-time director. Overall, the film does an excellent job of highlighting the struggle that this man and many other Indian scientists have faced in order to work for the betterment of the country. Their sacrifices will forever be engraved in our hearts and inspire us to follow suit.