Review: ‘Rashmi Rocket’ Keeps Us Hooked Till the Finish Line
'Rashmi Rocket' premieres on Zee5 on 15 October.
Little Rashmi runs so fast that she earns for herself the sobriquet “Rocket”. Rashmi Rocket does fly high. As the trailer gives us a sneak peek, we know she is exceptionally gifted. She sets new records, is made a part of the national team, and goes on to win medals for the country. However, everything comes to a screeching halt when she fails a gender test.
Female athletes around the world face discrimination due to this archaic and controversial practice of gender testing. It has led to social stigma, depression, and has ruined careers. More recently, Indian sprinter and athlete Dutee Chand had to fight for her right to compete after being banned for hyperandrogenism. While Rashmi Rocket isn’t based on a particular athlete, it takes the issue of gender testing head-on.
Taapsee Pannu is in top form playing Rashmi vociferously. For starters, she looks the part, racing to the finish line with aplomb, the rigour and physical hard work paying off. Rashmi is never the bechari or the underdog; she commands every frame. It’s to the actor's credit that we find it hard to take our eyes off her. Some might argue that the film tries to simplify a rather complex issue of gender testing, which can leave an athlete completely abandoned and broken given that the whole system is faint them. This film doesn't go into those dark corners, but it still handles it effectively. Director Akarsh Khurana and screenplay writer Aniruddha Guha seem to have made a conscious choice to keep the tone upbeat and that works in favour of the film.
Rashmi is more at home when she’s on track winning races. But a major part of the film also plays out as a courtroom drama. Special mention to Supriya Pilgaonker and Abhishek Banerjee, who maintain a balance and keep the humour quotient just enough so as not to compromise with the seriousness of the issue at hand. There is also a fine ensemble that keeps the proceedings buoyant. Mantra as the team coach and Supriya Pathak as Rashmi’s mother are welcome additions.
One of the admirable things about Rashmi Rocket is that it never positions Rashmi as someone who needs to be “rescued“. She might need a slight push and a nudge but Rashmi eventually orchestrates her own victory. This is probably why the relationship between Major Thakur (played by Priyanshu Painyuli) and Rashmi seems so endearing and organic. Priyanshu Painyuli shines in his restrained performance.
Overall, with its runtime of two hours, Rashmi Rocket does a fine job of keeping us hooked till the finish line. Watch it and you won't regret it.
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