How high did the Rocket Boys can fly?

Jim Sarbh and Ishwak Singh head a fantastic ensemble cast that gloriously brings to life the achievements of the scientific community in launching India’s atomic and space programmes.

Debutant writer-director Abhay Pannu fills a yawning gap in popular culture by documenting the achievements of the scientific community in launching India’s atomic and space programme into a rarefied orbit, after independence. It is apparent that Abhay had a lot of material to play with, but he ensures that it doesn’t get jumped up in the midst of formulae and lectures. He tries to walk the fine line between a pedantic documentary and a chest-thumping exercise and succeeds for the most part.

The flawless casting and measured performance ensure that the problems with pacing don’t discourage you away from the in-between episodes. Kapoor pitches it just rights as Pandit Nehru. As fiction disappointed scientist Medhi Raza, Dibyendu Bhattacharya provides an exceptionally likeable counterpoint to Sarbh. In the ongoing debate on ‘who didn’t get his due’, there cannot be any doubts that the country doesn’t thank its great scientists enough. C.V Raman, Homi Bhabha, Vikram Sarabhai and of course ABJ Abdul Kalam have not been able to fuel the imagination of big-ticket filmmakers.

Jim Sarbh had opened up on playing the role of Homi Bhabha in Rocket Boys. He stated,” The team had done a lot of research on the historical accuracy. My responsibility was to represent the man and humanise a person whom we look at with a great sense of respect. When a person does something, it does not have the weight of the future, it happens in the moments. So I tried to focus on the moment”.

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