Rocketry The Nambi Effect Movie Review: R Madhavan’s film fires off after a rocky start


Rocketry: The Nambi Effect starts with Nambi Narayanan’s (R Madhavan) family getting ready for a wedding. What seems like a family union turns out to be tragic. Nambi’s wife Meena (Simran) gets sent away from the wedding, his daughter and son get humiliated and beaten in public and Nambi gets arrested. He has been charged with espionage and, along with him, his family has to bear the physical and mental trauma.

When a star passionately talks about a project, it shows in their eyes. It was the same with R Madhavan in all his pre-Rocketry release interviews. His eyes glimmered as he talked about ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan, and his directorial debut, Rocketry: The Nambi Effect. There was passion in R Madhavan’s eyes, and the passion is evident in every frame.

Cut to Suriya (a role essayed by Shah Rukh Khan in the Hindi version) interviewing Nambi Narayanan. The rest of the story unfolds in flashback as Madhavan’s Nambi Narayan narrates his story – his passion for space missions, his achievements and his desire to take ISRO to dizzying heights. However, one false charge and India’s entire space research takes a hit. More importantly, the nation fails an honest person like Nambi Narayanan.

Nambi Narayanan’s life in itself is a story with many ups and downs. It has a lot of cinematic moments. As a director, Madhavan had to put together the most interesting moments in Nambi’s life to sculpt Rocketry. And he did succeed to an extent. However, the filmmaking seems amateurish, especially in the first half. Initially, we get introduced to Nambi Narayanan’s attitude and how he’d go to any extent to succeed in his mission. The exchanges between Nambi Narayanan and Vikram Sarabhai (Ravi Raghavendra) are pleasant to watch. Also, Madhavan throws many technical jargons and equations, which are quite difficult for a layperson to decipher.

It is during the second half that Rocketry truly takes off. When Nambi Narayanan gets falsely accused, you see the physical and emotional trauma, which rattles and shocks you. Madhavan has gotten into the skin of Nambi Narayanan quite literally. Especially in the final moments, one could actually understand how well Madhavan played Nambi on screen.

Here’s the trailer of Rocketry:

Simran’s character Meena was one of the highlights of Rocketry. When she screams on seeing Nambi walk out of prison on bail, you squirm in your seats. That’s the effect her scream has on the audience. It also humanises the hardships she had to go through as his wife. Among the supporting characters, Muralidharan, who played Arunan, and Sam Mohan, who played Unni, stood out. Sam CS’s music magically makes you feel different emotions.

Nambi Narayanan is a man who deserves to be celebrated and the film does just that. It does not only highlight his achievements, it also discusses his shortcomings, which makes Rocketry a worthy watch.

Rocketry: The Nambi Effect is a film that could have been a phenomenal watch. Despite the shortcomings, the story of Nambi Narayanan makes it a decent watch.

2.5 stars out of 5 for Rocketry: The Nambi Effect.

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