Review of the movie Rocketry: The Nambi Effect (Tamil) by R Madhavan

Review of the movie Rocketry: The Nambi Effect (Tamil) by R Madhavan

Rocketry:The Nambi Effect is a biopic that portrays the life of Dr. Nambi Narayanan, a research scientist at ISRO and how he navigates the controversial case alleging his involvement in treachery and how he eventually gets acquitted by the Supreme Court. More importantly, it highlights the huge loss that India had to undergo commercially and technologically because of this unscrupulous and baseless charge levied against Dr Nambi who was then spearheading the initiative to introduce Cryogenic technology and was on a mission to turn India into a space superpower.

We all have seen and know Madhavan as a stellar actor. In this movie, we get to witness his directorial skills as well. His debut has served as a great tribute, delayed, however, to Dr Nambi and is a much-needed eye opener for today’s youth. If I could throw a question at you and give you a minute to answer the top five game-changing Indian scientists who comes to your mind, I can easily guess that not even 1% of the participants would have named Dr Nambi despite his phenomenal contributions to Indian Space Research. Thanks to Madhavan for bringing his story to the limelight.

The screenplay isn’t that gripping but it didn’t really matter to me as it’s a biopic and we can’t expect superhuman elements and fast paced sequences, which would be out of place for a movie that seeks to highlight real life struggles of a scientist. The supporting artist crew is well chosen, comprising of the most seasoned actor Simran, who plays the role of Madhavan’s wife to the recent entrant Sam Mohan (cast as Unni) and most of them have done their job quite well. None of them overplayed their role and managed to bring life to their characters. I personally felt Suriya’s role was quite a misfit, as his emotions appeared quite fabricated and didn’t appear natural enough for the viewers to empathize with Dr Nambi.

Background score (especially the scene where Unni and Nambi first clashes and the one where Unni meets Nambi when he is under police custody) and the introduction song, which is a remix of ‘Suprabhatham’ and transported me to a divine world, sounded great in theater. First half is bit overloaded with technical jargons which a lay man may not be actually relate to but it couldn’t have actually been avoided either. Barring that, the movie is quite relatable and a genuine attempt at showcasing how a person from humble background, sharing his space with the greats such as Vikram Sarabhai, APJ Abdul Kalam and Satish Dhawan, pursues his doctoral studies at the envious Ivy League, Princeton University, gets a dream offer from NASA and a coveted US Citizenship, ignores all of them and returns to serve India but eventually gets dragged down to streets for no fault of his. You will also be surprised at the amazing feats of the daring Dr Nambi in patching a deal with Rolls Royce owner and in exploiting the vulnerability of Russia, importing the cryogenic engines from them right under the nose of American Army.

In our society, we generally tend to hold Doctors and people serving in Army in the higher pedestal when it comes to doing sacrifice and service for our nation. Even I was under the same opinion before watching this movie. But, little did we realise how lesser-known patriotic scientists such as Dr Nambi doesn’t get our attention at all for all the hard work and sacrifice, they have made to serve our country. I would also largely blame our media and the politicians and their ulterior motive in keeping the society engaged with nonsensical yet sensational news.  And we can’t miss out our snail-paced judicial system from the ‘blame’ list as we are well aware how even the simplest of cases gets its due judgement delayed by years and this case is no different. After almost 24 years, Dr Nambi gets acquitted with a peanut compensation of Rs 50 lakhs which in no way matches the loss of reputation, the mental agony and trauma that he and his family had to undergo.

This is certainly a must-watch movie for all of us to understand the painful lives of our patriotic scientists and the difficulties they face in a bureaucratic yet outwardly democratic country, India. We as a society should be ashamed for letting this happen to one of the founding fathers of ISRO. After watching this movie, we can’t complain of brain drain anymore and the trend of brilliant minds fleeing India can only be expected to continue in the coming years, as validated by the recent statistics highlighting the number of applicants for Green Cards in US, where India holds the second spot. The important message that this movie sends out is that we, Indians, got to be sensible and has to stay wary of the malicious lies that are made viral for the sake of publicity and TRP, and try to research and understand the real story behind any news that we come across, instead of blindly believing the rumour-mongers. 


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