Rocket Boys: Tale of dreams of two men which sowed seeds of India’s space and nuclear programmes

Rocket Boys: Tale of dreams of two men which sowed seeds of India’s space and nuclear programmes

New Delhi, March 1, 2022

The year 1942: As India's movement for independence from British rule gathered steam under the inspiring leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, two young men at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, were envisioning dreams of sending a rocket into space, which sowed the seeds of India's space programme.

The programme took wings in the 50s and the 60s, kickstarting India's journey to becoming a space power.

Narrating the story of Vikram Sarabhai and Homi Bhabha, pioneers of India’s space programme, is a new series Rocket Boys, streaming on Sony Liv.

Produced by Roy Kapur Films and directed by Abhay Pannu, Rocket Boys tells the story of Vikram Sarabhai and Homi Bhabha whose dreams of sending a rocket into space laid the foundations of India's space programme, setting the stage for a technolocal revolution.

Spanning across three decades, Rocket Boys takes viewers thrrough the inspirational journey of Homi Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai, two men with a futuristic vision for the country that helped catapult India into the league of nations who made the atomic bomb and who sent their rockets into space.

Hailing from privileged families, who formed a miniscule minority in pre-independent India, Vikram Sarabhai and Homi Bhabha had dreams of nurturing India's technolocal revolution that would catapult India from an importer of goods to becoming self-dependent in manufacture of goods and commodities.

Forced to drop out of Cambridge in his last year of engineering due to the breakout of World War II, Sarabhai joined the Indian Institute of Science headed by C V Raman. A meeting with Homi Bhabha, a professor at IISc marks the beginning of a long association between the two as they together work to lay strong foundations of the country in the field of physics, space and nuclear energy, which culminated in India sending its first rocket into space and making its first atomic bomb.

Rocket Boys takes us through the struggles, pains, frustrations and ecstasies of the scientists as they weather challenges and impediments like lack of financial backing and paucity in infrastructure in the realization of their dreams.

While narrating the events that set the stage for India's technological revolution, Rocket Boys also touches upon the national movement led by Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi to free the country from British rule.

It also provides a glimpse into the personal lives of Vikram Sarabhai and Homi Bhabha.

Amid a surfeit of crime and suspense thrillers dominating the OTT space, Rocket Boys comes across as a breath of fresh air which helps viewers revisit a glorious chapter of Indian history, which gives them a peep into the challenges and efforts that went into developing a robust space programme and nuclear energy programme.

The eight-episode series boasts of lavish production values, which bring out an accurate picture of that period when a newly independent India took its baby steps in the direction of becoming an economic andtechnological power.

Director and writer Abhay Pannu brings out the old world charm of that era through his story telling.

Another USP of the series are its performances.

Jim Sarbh is exceptional as the cocky Homi Bhabha whose single- minded focus is to make India a nuclear superpower. He is brilliant as a person for whom his ambitions hold precedence over other things.

Ishwak Singh impresses as Vikram Sarabhai, a sharp contrast to the cocky Homi Bhabha with his simplicity and his matter of fact demeanor.

Regina Cassandra is endearing as Mrinalini who is drawn by the simplicity of Vikram Sarabhai.

Rajit Kapoor pitches in with a good performances as Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru while Dibyendu Bhattacharya is effective as Dr Raza,who is envious of the success of Homi Bhabha.

The rest of the cast, including Saba Azad, Arjun Radhakrishnan and Namit Das, lend able support.

My rating: 4/5


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