Rocket Boys Season 2 Review : Star Rating:
Cast: Jim Sarbh, Ishwak Singh, Regina Cassandra, Saba Azad, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Arjun Radhakrishnan, Charu Shankar, Namit Das, and ensemble.
Creator: Nikhil Advani & Abhay Pannu.
Director: Abhay Pannu.
Streaming On: Sony Liv.
Language: Hindi (with subtitles).
Runtime: 8 Episodes, Around 45 Minutes Each.
Rocket Boys Season 2 Review : What’s It About:
So the Rocket Boys are now working separately on their respective projects. Homi Bhabha is busy making the nuclear bomb, and Vikram Sarabhai is at his job to endorse education and peace. The politics now is more viciously consuming their surrounding as there is a shift in power with First PM Jawaharlal Nehru’s demise and the rise of the Lioness Indira Gandhi.
Rocket Boys Season 2 Review : What Works:
It is not an easy job to make biopics. Especially in an environment we are breathing. The dumping ground is packed with biopics and ones that are either overtly banal, or outrageously whitewashing. Amid all of this telling a story and choosing to even highlight the vices without really letting the stature of its subject affect the voice is an arduous task. And when the subjects are the Father Of the Indian Nuclear Programme, the Father Of Indian Space Program, and the ever so optimistic and radiant Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam, the responsibility rises not just notches but peaks higher.
Rocket Boys 2 returns on a carpet of high expectations considering the first season was a masterclass on how to make an immersive biopic series. Abhay Pannu back to his creator and director seat with Nikhil Advani as co-creator; this time decides not to really replicate what worked in his favour the last time. In his more profound exploration of these prestigious men, he now wants to get into what the power and everything around them did to their consciousness. The slate this time is not filled with majority of educating stories, but is more about what happened after these men had achieved the skies.
Homi Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai are now gigantic brands in the world of science. Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam is being polished under them and is a sure-shot successor. But while they continue to make bombs and bring television to India, there is a vicious game of politics unfolding around them, affecting their lives in much more significant ways than we can imagine. So season 2 scales one and a half decades from the early 60s to the mid-70s. This is the time when the First PM of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, passed away, and the next PM, Lal Bahadur Shastri, was found suspiciously dead in Tashkent. Indira Gandhi had to take over the chair, and with that, a woman reigning had to have the world coming after her position.
In the concept by Abhay Koranne and the screenplay by Pannu, a lot is happening. The politics of that time is dramatic. The first lady Prime Minister has to prove her mettle and also has the burden of her legacy on her strong shoulders. The nation is still building, and every move is now being monitored by other powerful countries. The intense nature of everything happening and the sensitivity of the turn of events that happened for real is an arduous task to handle, and the team does that very cleverly. Even when it is showing the theories or probable reasons behind someone’s death, it is smart enough to immediately clarify it in dialogues that follow without making it look forced.
The writing and dialogues by Kausar Munir with Pannu manage to even delve into the personal lives of the main characters. Their agony, complaints, and shortcomings are all highlighted without letting their illustrious presence overpower anything. They were humans first and celebrities later; the writers keep that in mind while shaping them.
Achint Thakkar’s music and Subhash Sahoo’s sound design are all kinds of perfect. The show’s theme music is a winner, and watch out for the opening creatives this time. DOP Harshvir Oberai captures the period setup quite well. He isn’t trying to force it in your face but is being subtle with his frames.
Rocket Boys Season 2 Review : Star Performance:
The casting of Rocket Boys is the most impressive because it doesn’t try to cast lookalikes of the legendary figures. Instead, none look exactly or remotely similar to the real-life people. But the fact that the actors with their calibre make you believe in their performances and also make you immerse in the show is the testimony of a successful casting coupe.
Jim Sarbh is not as untamed as he was. Homi Bhabha is aging, though with his chivalrous nature still intact, there are only episodes of it, not entire days. He now uses his loneliness as his motivation and wants to make the country a robust nation. Jim, even while playing a real-life person, tries to add a whole lot of himself in it. While there is a scope of going highly wrong, he manages to make it all sail, and that too effectively.
Ishwak Singh as Vikram Sarabhai is everything opposite Jim Sarbh’s Bhabha. He is a zen person, of course, with vices, but still a subtle man with a very low baritone and a face that beams with optimism almost all the time. It is a task to play a man of fewer words in front of Jim Sarbh, who is in his own zone, only excelling at what he is given. Ishwak does it so well and at no point leaves any Irking notes at all.
Regina Cassandra, as the legendary Mrinalini Sarabhai, is perfect. Everything about her performance reflects so much confidence. There is a sequence in her life where she is trying to navigate her life through a marriage that has just hit a rock bottom as the husband has almost tasted infidelity. Regina brings out the agony so well and with so much of control over her act that one much give her more such complex parts.
Charu Shankar gets to play the Former Late PM Of India, Indira Gandhi, and the best part is that she doesn’t mimic her. Gandhi was one of the most fierce women the universe had to offer, and the actor does justice to the part. Saba Azad, as Parvana, gets very little this time, but she makes herself notice in that too. Arjun Radhakrishnan as People’s President Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam is quite an interesting casting choice. The actor manages to make us root for him even with a very limited screen time.
Special mention for Dibyendu Bhattacharya, as the man does the finest of the jobs in the first half of the show. You must watch out for him.
Rocket Boys Season 2 Review : What Doesn’t Work:
The season 2 is taking multiple leaps every random interval of time. With a whole lot of things going on, it is anyways difficult to travel the timeline. And the fact that not much visually changes in these multiple leaps confuses even more. There is a story leap, but the visual graph remains the same.
The show never takes the efforts to build a powerful antagonist. The fact that we know CIA is a very negatively impactful aspect is what works. But the screenplay never explores that side of the show in a full-blown manner. Instead, they embody the agency in Namit Das and K.C Shankar, who plays Mathur. The latter is made into a soap opera vamp who continues to create havoc in the life of the leading characters.
Rocket Boys Season 2 Review : Last Words:
Rocket Boys Season 2, even with its drawbacks, is way better than any other biopic in recent time. This is a crackling example of how not adding unnecessary drama can still create an immersive show that is educating and entertaining at the same time.
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