REVIEW: Rocketry – The Nambi Effect

ROCKETRY: THE NAMBI EFFECT is a the story of a brilliant scientist. Nambi Narayanan (R Madhavan), serves as Vikram Sarabhai’s technical assistant at ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) in the 1960’s. He relocates to New Jersey, USA, after receiving admission to the prestigious Princeton University in 1969. His dream is to work with Professor Crocco on his thesis. The professor has not been taking on pupils, but he makes an exception for Nambi because of his persuasiveness. Nambi learns a lot about liquid gases while studying at Princeton under Professor Crocco. He receives an offer from NASA, but he declines it in order to go back to India and lead ISRO to astounding heights. Nambi helps ISRO obtain hydraulic engine parts from Rolls Royce without spending money. Everything was going well until November 30, 1994 – Nambi gets detained on suspicion of espionage and for disclosing important information to Pakistan. The remainder of the movie is based on what occurs next.

The life of Nambi Narayanan is a tale of numerous highs and lows. There are many cinematic moments in it. In order to create Rocketry, Madhavan had to select the most intriguing events from Nambi’s life. And to some extent, he was successful. Director R Madhavan is straightforward in delivering the scenes. The film is not focusing on the steps Nambi took to prove his innocence, but, more on emotional quotient – the effects and trauma from the wrongful arrest. Which actually works in parts by inducing the fear of being vilified by the corrupt authorities. The opening shot was impressive, it shows the depth of the scene. The dialogues in some places has brahminical flavour, but we know Madhavan, and we don’t hate him for it. Madhavan has taken care to ensure that the viewers comprehend Nambi’s decisions and the motivations for him to take a scholarship from Princeton, but turn down NASA’s offer, and join ISRO.

The actor delivers an impressive performance that serves as the heart of this movie, capturing the physicality of the character over years that the story develops as well as conveying the inner strength of the character, both during the highs and lows.