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Rocket Boys: Homi Is Where The Heart Is



Rocket Boys

Rocket Boys(SonyLIV; 8 Episodes)

Starring Jim Sarbh, Ishwak Singh

Directed  by  Abhay Pannu

Rating: ** ½

This  not-unwatchable historical series opens  a glorious  chapter  from our past. The plodding though well-intended and times  judiciously  directed  saga  of  the evolution of India’s nuclear policy,  suffers  from travel fatigue. It has  too many landmarks from Indian history to cross before it get to the point.

Nonetheless  getting there is  not a plodding  bore. There are brightly illuminated sections in the lengthy series, and then there are episodes that  are  as dull as  ditchwater; there is  more  of the latter, I am afraid. The series actually lights up  whenever Jim Sarbh is  around.  Sarbh, is  that kind of an actor who brings a wicked  intensity to  the  smallest and  biggest parts.

Give him a Parsi legendary figure to play, and Sarbh wraps his head and heart around it like beautiful paper  around  a Christmas present.Sadly, Jim Sarbh’s Homi Bhabha’s  off and on relationship the perky  Pipa(Saba Azad) has more  feeling  and  substance that what he shares with Vikram Sarabhai. Which is a pity, because this is not a  series about Homi  and  Pipa  but Homi and  Vikram Sarabhai, their uneasy friendship traversing  decades, and  their differing takes on India’s nuclear policy.

The  ideological clash is  limited  to a  few scattered  confrontations in  ornate  corridors  chosen more to  propagate  periodicity   than to  augment  the dramatic potential of  the  conflicts between two friends ,one  of whom would have a  nuclear bomb at any cost  and  the  other one  for whom conditions  apply.

Sarbh’s Homi’s  kinship with Pandit Nehru(played with high-pitched  intensity by Rajit Kapur) is even trickier and, if one may so, messier. They were friends  and  according to the series, Nehruji gave   Homi a  long rope  as far as India’s atomic  policies  were concerned.

Then there  is  Sarabhai’s troubled marriage with his  danseuse wife(Regina  Cassandra) . The two actors in the marriage look  so incompatible  we  wonder if they should have ever  got married  to  one another.

Rocket Boys is   high on  good intentions  and  comparatively low  on execution. There is  too much happening here(including a segment on  the young Abdul Kalam) , and too little  that  does justice to that portion of Indian history which it  attempts to  arrange in a serial manner.

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