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SonyLIV's Rocket Boys sores high and mighty with its powerful narrative while being technically sound

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Sakshi Sharma
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Rocket Boys


Despite getting sidetracked sometimes from its powerful storytelling, Rocket Boys on SonyLIV is a near to perfect tribute to Nehru's 'mad-scientists'.

Currently, we're all witnessing the horrors of war that's ensuing between Russia and Ukraine amidst an ongoing pandemic that's still disrupting lives. We wish for the citizens of both countries to come out of this soon and hope that it doesn't escalate to a point from where they can't come back. But if history has taught us anything it's how war and science, physics to be precise, has always gone hand in hand in playing a role in a nation's diplomacy. And this is what SonyLIV's Rocket Boys uses as an essence to bind powerful yet technically sound storytelling with an exhilarating background score.

The series encompasses the journey of Bhabha and Sarabhai as going from mentor-mentee to friends to being distant friends to being each other's confidants under two decades, from the 1940s to 1960s. The series starts from when India is losing in a war with China in 1962 and the brilliant physicists of this country, Homi and Vikram, are at odds about whether India should build atomic bombs just as a threat not as a weapon to be deployed. In a span of 8 episodes, this TV show goes on to unravel the relationship between these two scientists who seem more like lovers connected with the politics of the country, world, and of course science.

It can be rather challenging and quite a feat to make a series on such extraordinary minds of science that played a huge role in shaping the country's future in science. But that's where the genius of SonyLIV's Rocket Boys lies since it doesn't attempt to unravel the mysteries or simplify the science, rather it's focused on telling us who Homi and Vikram are as people and how they're irrevocably in love with science. So while the first rocket uplifts or the first nuclear reactor establishes, we become the part of the emotion rather than understanding the science behind it. While the show focuses less on the technicalities of the physics behind it all, it leaves no stone unturned behind the production and setting of it all. The architecture, the set, the massive props like a nuclear reactor, rocket, or that balloon experiment, costumes, makeup, each and everything makes you travel back into that era.

Though there are times when the show seems to get sidetracked or gets confused about its own tonality and resolves its issues far too easily, like Mrinalini's (Sarabhai's wife, played beautifully by Regina Cassandra), and Prosenjit Dey (CIA informer, Namit Das) storyline. But other than that, Jim Sarbh's eclectic performance, which seems closer to being Sarbh rather than Homi Bhabha, and Ishwak Singh's quiet but sincere performance as Vikram Sarabhai is what will make you fall in love with these two characters. It will make you think that their own personal pursuits were the only national importance at that time. Saba Azad as Parvana Irani (Pipsi), Arjun Radhakrishnan as APJ Abdul Kalam, Dibyendu Bhattacharya as Raza Mehndi, Rajit Kapoor as Jawaharlal Nehru, and K.C. Shankar as Vishwesh Mathur are the perfect additions as their characters that one way or another influence the lives of these two.

From Parsis, Gujaratis to Bengalis and Tamilians, the inclusivity of this series is beyond applaudable and not at all in the face. Backed by Nikhil Advani, Abhay Pannu's recreation of history and tribute to Nehru's mad scientists under a more political, emotional, and dramatic light makes this series palatable to all and all the more important in today's time. The chemistry between Jim and Ishwak keeps you hooked to your screens and cheer out loud for them but it's the rocking yet traditional background score by Achint Thakkar with opening credits design by Studio Kokaachi that adds to the experience of watching Rocket Boys.

Also Read: Were SonyLIV’s Rocket Boys successful in telling the Janta a chapter out of the history of Indian Science?

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