Rocketry review: Maddy’s performance holds this sincere biopic
Rocketry is burdened with too much and gets blurred, whether it strikes the right chord with its melodramatic tone, partly. But the tale of our beloved ISRO scientist is told sincerely.(3 / 5)
Synopsis: Based on the life of one of India's pioneering rocket scientists Nambi Narayanan, this biopic chronicles his achievements, mad passion for the country's space mission, his unmatched dedication and the accusation that eventually became the biggest personal & professional setback of his life.
Cast: R Madhavan, Simran, Suriya, Ravi Raghavendra, Misha Ghoshal, Rajit Kapur, Karthik Kumar, Rajeev Ravindranathan, Gulshan Grover, and Sam Mohan
Director & Writer: R Madhavan
Musician: Sam CS
Ever since actor R Madhavan's agreed to do a biopic on ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan, there has been hype around the project. Has the movie delivered on its hype, almost.
Rocketry, written & directed by R Madhavan, starts off in an interesting way with a zoom-in from space to Nambi Narayanan's house in 1994 which shows the daily chores of a regular family. Then as the news gets out, Nambi's family is attacked and shamed and he is arrested. Cut to the present, we see him in an interview with actor Suriya (who plays himself -- so fourth-wall-breaking!).
The entire flashback gets narrated by Nambi which takes us through the journey of his ambition, aplombness and sheer courage to achieve putting India on the map in space research and improve scientific development. Some in the film call him patriotic and some just a mad man, but, Nambi is a failed hero -- more like an underdog who raises and then gets redemption.
The first half is filled with cinematic liberties from inconsistent dialogues to the shoddy dubbing done for foreign actors, who by the way, all speak in Tamil -- including scientists from ISRO. But, what keeps us glued is Madhavan's performance as Nambi Narayanan, who perfectly embodies his aura -- from his style of living to the way he looks. Nambi's ageing is so well portrayed on screen that the beard never feels off, the unconvincing CGI for the backdrop of a city might be!
Indeed, the film has so much technical and scientific jargons thrown at us, which is difficult to understand, but the uncompromising effort is praiseworthy.
Not just Madhavan, Simran as Nambi's wife, Meena, also delivers an effective performance. When Meena is unable to come to terms with what happened with her family and her husband, she gets disturbed. Even though it was just few scenes, her presence was riveting. The supporting cast also leaves a huge mark on the film from Sam Mohan as Unni to Karthik Kumar as CBI officer PM Nayar, both deliver much-needed nuanced performances in this rather dramatic film.
There is a moment in the second half in jail when Unni meets Nambi , both share a heartfelt handshake that scene really steals the show and shows how talented both Madhavan and Sam Mohan (who was last seen in Unpaused Nayasafar's Teen Tigada short) to convey emotions on screen. But, the other actors are too hammy in delivering dialogues.
Sam CS's background music is best described as decent and it shifts to suit the mood of the film.
The second half is where the film picks up its pace, especially the scenes where Nambi is interrogated are shot and acted in a realistic manner. Suriya's cameo serves to pull in the Tamil audience, nothing more, nothing less.
Some scenes in the film make a clear-cut scientific point, but in stark contrast, it becomes dramatic in the next minute. The diverging direction and tonality is too distracting in a film that endeavours to differentiate between rocket science and simple belief.
It would have been a tighter film if the run-time of 157 minutes got pruned, especially in the first half.
In conclusion, Rocketry is burdened with too much and gets blurred, whether it strikes the right chord with its melodramatic tone, partly. Whether the tale of our beloved ISRO scientist is told sincerely, a resounding yes.