Rocketry: Nambi Effect (158 Mins) Hindi, English & Tamil
R Madhavan, SImran, Shah Rukh Khan Written & directed R Madhavan (part producer too)
Rama Krishna Sangem
This gripping tale of ISRO scientist – Nambi Narayanan- who envisioned a growing satellite launch business in 21st century and India’s potential in it makes us hang our heads in shame. He visualized the growth of rocketry way back in late 1960s. He went all the way to the US, to join Princeton University and France to make Vikas engines and Russia to get the right technology. In one word, rocketry was not just his dream, but his entire life.
But, alas! he suffered unbearable humiliation and torture in his homeland – Kerala, India. This genius space scientist was arrested on charges of espionage – of selling liquid propulsion rocket designs and charts to Pakistan, via Russia in 1994. The charges leveled against him were base on a video recording of a colleague, and statements made by two Maldivian women – Mariam Rahseeda and Fauziyaa Hasan.
The movie captures the third degree torture meted out to Nambi and social stigma his family suffered in a close knit middle class society of Kerala. His wife, Meena (Simran) goes insane and refuses to come out of home. His two children – son and daughter were hit by locals, besides denied minimum civil life. We feel ashamed how some brutal cops beat him, in turns, and insist that he should admit the crime. He was jailed for 50 days.
Finally, the truth came out and Supreme Court exonerated him in 1998 and awarded him a compensation of Rs 50 lakh. Kerala government awarded him Rs 1.3 crore as atonement. In 2019, Nambi Narayanan was conferred Padma Bhushan by President Ram Nath Kovind. The movie beautifully captures Nambi’s youthful days, his undying energy, his visits to Princeton, France and Russia.
The film begins with Badshah of Bollywood, SRK, interviewing Nambi (Madhavan) for a TV channel and superb editing by Bijith Bala takes us to the close up of the top scientist. Madhavan did justice to the role of Nambi, now 80, through his stoic expressions, while answering questions of SRK. Sam CS music and Sirsha Ray’s camera have added value to the movie.
Rocketry: Nambi Effect, made on a budget of Rs 30 crore, was first screened at Cann’s film festival in May this year. It hit our screens on July 1. The movie got thoughtful views which applauded the efforts of Madhavan, who has taken enormous care to stick to the life and times of Nambi. In a treat to us all, Nambi appears in the climax scenes and says he still wants to know who was behind framing him. After all, this is our criminal justice system.
A must watch for all who love scientific temperament in India.