Autobiographical dramas are intriguing to watch. They have an additional commercial value because of the real-life factor in them that spurs the audience’s interest. Rocketry: The Nambi Effect is based on the life of former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan, falsely accused of being a Russian spy, who after decades long legal battle proved his innocence. Actor R Madhavan who was last seen in Tamil in the romance drama Maara is back on screens with a biographical drama Rocketry: The Nambi Effect. Veteran actress Simran has played the female lead role. Actor R Madhavan himself has produced, written, and directed the drama. So, how has the biographical drama Rocketry: The Nambi Effect come out? Will it live up to the noise it fashioned on social media and turn actor R Madhavan into a marketable pan Indian star? To know that let us get into the movie review.
Rocketry: The Nambi Effect revolves around Nambi Narayanan (R Madhavan), an aerospace engineer who works with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). The film opens with Nambi Narayanan enjoying his family time with his beautiful family. Moments later the scene becomes topsy turvy when a bunch of government officials apprehend him under the grounds of espionage. Fast forward 19 years, Nambi Narayanan, in a television station recites his life story to a Tv anchor (Suriya). He introduces us to his student years where as a prodigy of Vikram Sarabhai in the rocket launching station, he saves the life of former Indian president and then scientist A P J Abdul kalam from a mishap of an experiment. He soon secures a seat in the prestigious Princeton University in the United States, where he completes his MSE program in chemical rocket propulsion under the guidance of professor Luigi Crocco. Seeing his exceptional flair, he recommends Nambi Narayanan for the fellowship program in NASA.
Nambi Narayanan worked for a while in NASA. Following which he is awarded with a heavy paycheck to encourage him to continue rendering his service to NASA. But Nambi Narayanan declines the offer and returns to India. Soon he will leave for France with his team. There he finds fault in the French engine and solves the issue for them. With the knowledge and experience he gained from fixing the engine he builds an even more efficient engine and calls it Vikas engine. He then travels to Russia learning about their cryogenic missiles and negotiates a deal to sell a few of them to India. Unexpectedly, this deal does not evoke a good reaction in the American government. They step in to sabotage the deal. Realizing the threat, Nambi Narayanan makes his journey back to India through Pakistan, Karachi. How was Nambi Narayanan charged under espionage, his decades of legal battle to prove his innocence, and the pain and humiliation that he had to undergo, is what makes the rest of the flick.
Actor R Madhavan turned director for the right purpose. To drum the innocence and injustice unleashed on a reputed man who contributed significantly to the growth of his nation. The intention is noble. With handing over the task of a writer to a writer, and the direction to a director he could have done a lot good to his desire. But for some reasons he takes it all up on himself to do the job which has diluted the magnitude of the issue at play here. His approach seems to be plain. To milk the emotions of the audience by staying in sensitive and emotional moments more than required and stretching them with exaggeration. This approach of narration gives us a contrived feel. Taking our focus away from the actual drama and making it difficult for us as an audience to completely root for the characters.
For an autobiography like that of Nambi Narayanan who spent a substantial period of his life fighting a legal battle, Rocketry: The Nambi Effect does not bother to get deep in to the legal proceedings. It just threads on the sentimental consequences of the false allegations. Even after sitting through an autobiographical drama, we are left with a lot of questions and untold stories. It is understandable that not all portions can be covered in a limited run time but when the most essentials are skipped off, then what to expect of an autobiographical drama?
We have known actor R Madhavan as a good performer but here he seems to be under pressure. He looks to be in the stress of having to deliver a poignant performance at any cost. With that in mind he overperforms to draw a reaction in the audience. This is pertinent even to actress Simran who has returned to acting after a while. Actor Ravi Raghavendra does justice to his part. Actor Muralidaran is functional. Actress Misha Ghoshal is effective. Actor Shyam Renganathan is adequate. Actor Karthik Kumar serves his purpose. Actors Amaan, Dinesh Prabhakar, Mohan Raman, Ron Donachie, Phyllis Logan, Vincent Riotta, Sriram Parthasarathy, Rajeev Ravindranathan, and Sam Mohan, have all chipped in and have played their part well. Actor Suriya makes his presence felt even in a cameo appearance. The rest of the cast has delivered what was asked of them.
On the technical front, music director Sam C S’s songs do not create an enjoyable experience. Even his background score does not add much value to the film. Cinematographer Sirsha Ray has covered the drama in the best ways possible. Editor Bijith Bala has put his scissors at the right spot to complement the work of his colleague.
On the whole, actor R Madhavan has his heart at the right place, along with it if he had had a proper writer in place to shape the script, Rocketry: The Nambi Effect would have been a solid autobiographical drama.