“Rocket Boys” is a cleverly put together period drama. This is a gripping coming of age biographical series based on the lives of two brilliant scientists, Vikram Sarabhai and Homi J. Bhabha, who respectively pioneered India’s space research and nuclear programs . The series airs on Sony Liv.
Their contribution to the recognition of India as a leader in space science and nuclear energy is unparalleled.
Spanning from 1940 to 1963, the series, told in a non-linear mode, tells us how the two great minds met, their patriotic zeal and the bond shared between them and those whose lives crossed theirs.
This series of eight episodes begins and ends with the launch of rockets. In the first episode, an amateur rocket is fired from Cambridge in 1940; the final episode ends with the blast off of India’s first indigenous research rocket fired from the former fishing village of Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram in 1963.
Between these two events mentioned above, the series with interesting creative choices delves into the lives of these two great minds, and we see moments of strained relationships between friends, as well as between their loved ones, and how they held each other. one next to the other. another for the national interest.
The first six episodes mostly spend too much time focusing on their personal lives rather than their hard work. The final two episodes give us a rushed and superficial look at what they’ve achieved domestically.
Jim Sarbh plays confident and “interested” Dr. Homi J Bhabha with aplomb. His over-familiarity with then-Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru constantly calling him “Bhai” is a bit repulsive.
Ishwak Singh plays the versatile, soft-spoken genius and dynamic leader with equal poise and poise.
Regina Cassandra features Vikram’s wife, Bharatnatyam dancer Mrinalini and the slender Saba Azad plays Parvana Irani, whom Homi Bhabha fascinates but cannot find the courage to hold back. The two ladies opposed to the leading men deliver their deeds with dignified poise and distinguished grace.
Rajat Kapur, if not a brilliant actor, as Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is ridiculously dramatic and over the top. He stands out as an eye sore in the series, with his irritating tone and demeanor.
As for the supporting cast, Dibyendu Bhattacharya as friend turned adversary turned sympathetic scientist Raza Medhi, Arjun Radhakrishnan as budding young scientist APJ Abdul Kalam, KC Shankar as Homi Bhabha’s colleague at Trombay Center , and the rest of the cast , are all competent and do the job perfectly.
Edited with excellent production qualities, which include brilliant sets and old-fashioned costumes, the era is accurately captured on a sepia canvas.
Overall, despite its flaws, “Rocket Boys” is a meaningful series that manages to both educate and inspire viewers, especially science-inclined young minds.
IANS rating: 3/5