Few actors have managed to write, direct, and play the lead role in a movie all at once before; R. Madhavan succeeds admirably. The fact that Rocketry: The Nambi Effect is a biopic of a scientist with a complicated legacy as an ISRO trailblazer may also make Madhavan’s job more difficult. For instance, who accused him of sympathising with Pakistan and subjected him to cruelty, discrimination, and humiliation before the Supreme Court cleared him?
There are no nuances or complexities in Madhavan’s attempt to elevate Narayanan to the status of a man steadfast in his desire to inspire India’s potential for space exploration and rocket engineering. It is a gushing biopic that is heavy on patriotism and emotion but severely lacking in narrative sophistication.
The post-midpoint section of the movie is where the dramatic action takes place, and this is where we learn about Nambi Narayanan and his family’s stigmatisation. You’ll feel uneasy seeing the scientist being questioned by a group of fairly normal detectives. You’ll cringe at every blow.
Watch the trailer of Rocketry: The Nambi Effect here:
The story of Nambi Narayanan is into two parts by writer-director Madhavan. The young scientist’s time at Princeton! Moreover, his bold intentions to elevate India to the forefront of the aerospace industry is there in the first part of the film.
Then, everything comes crashing down as the puzzled, incomprehensible scientist is accused of spying. The extensive life story is completely under Madhavan’s hands as a writer, director, and actor. He is amazing at both letting storytelling loose and tightening the screws.
Despite the plot’s constant pace, the central theme is one of leisurely meditation. It was a brilliant move to include Shah Rukh Khan in the conversation with Nambi Narayanan. Khan not only hosts the program—no pun intended—but also unintentionally takes on the role of the conscience of the country. Shah Rukh Khan makes a solid impression in a pure Madhavan production. This, in my opinion, is SRK’s best recent screen performance.
The supporting cast, which features mostly uncredited actors, gives the movie more gravitas. Sam Mohan, who plays Unni, is one of my favourite supporting actors. It is a powerful portrayal of a man who, in spite of significant personal differences. Also, supports the heroic scientist who’s falsely convicted.
Every spectator in the room transforms into Unni as he says to Nambi Narayanan, “You have a lot of flaws, but you can never be a traitor to the country.”
In my opinion, you will remember every detail of Nambi Narayanan’s tale for months and years to come. A wonderful man suffered terribly. But at least one positive result came from it.
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