Five Reasons to Watch Jim Sarbh, Ishwak Singh-Starrer 'Rocket Boys' Season 2
Rocket Boys 2 is directed by Abhay Pannu and is streaming on SonyLiv.
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After the massive success of the first season, Abhay Pannu's Rocket Boys is back with another fascinating season. The series, streaming on SonyLiv, sees Jim Sarbh playing the role of Homi Bhabha and Ishwak Singh stepping into Vikram Sarabhai's shoes.
Season 2 follows Bhabha as he tries to build the bomb, all the while trying to keep America at bay and navigating the threats by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), that does not want India to become a nuclear nation. It also follows Sarabhai as he is pushing to send rockets into space, while struggling to get funds approved from a country that is finding it difficult to feed its own people. We also see Indira Gandhi taking on the reigns and her rise to power.
Despite a few niggles, this season is as fascinating a watch as the first one. Here are five reasons to watch the second season of Rocket Boys.
Vikram and Mrinalini Sarabhai’s Relationship
The show delves deep into Vikram and Mrinalini Sarabhai’s relationship. The first season narrated the story of how Vikram and Mrinalini (Regina Cassandra) met, fell in love and got married. It also gave us a peek into Vikram's extra-marital relationship with one of Mrinalini's closest friends Kamla Chaudhary, the 'founding mother' of Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad. Season 2 talks about how the incident strained Vikram and Mrinalini's relationship and how the duo faced the storm together.
Two episodes into the season, Mrinalini stages a Bharatanatyam performance that lays bare the hurt and betrayal she felt after Vikram cheated on her. Both Vikram and Kamla are part of the audience, and they are consumed by guilt. As the season progresses, Vikram tries to make amends, but the hurt is too big to go back. The strain affects their daughter Mallika too, and it's heartbreaking to see the child torn between her parents' relationship. Ultimately, it's one tragedy that brings Vikram and Mrinalini together once again.
Rocket Boys is a very patient show, and Abhay Pannu is in no hurry to rush through the emotions. He makes us sit through an entire performance to feel what Mrinalini is feeling. Neither Kamla nor Vikram is made the villain here; both are victims of their circumstances. Not for once is Kamla judged; there's a haunting scene between Kamla and Mrinalini that boasts of sensitive storytelling.
No Chest-Thumping Patriotism
There's no chest-thumping patriotism in this show that has to make connections between the advancement of the space programme and the backing of political leaders. It was a time when politicians were more than willing to support scientific temperament, and Rocket Boys shows how that support gave wings to India's ambitious space programme. On one hand, Jawaharlal Nehru (Rajit Kapur) speaks about an heir who would carry on his legacy. On the other hand, we see Indira Gandhi (Charu Shanker) transform from a naive young woman to a strong leader. She does not hesitate to go against people from her own party to back Homi and Vikram when necessary.
Like the previous season, performances here are top notch, especially from Jim Sarbh and Ishwak Singh. Two imperfect men are laser-focused on their visions - creating a satellite programme to begin television broadcasts, launch a rocket and detonate the nuclear bomb. Sarabhai and Bhabha are friends, yet their personalities can't be poles apart. While Homi is flamboyant, Vikram is much milder. Homi always has a plan and is ready to execute it that very second, and Vikram is very calculative. Jim and Ishwak confidently carry Homi and Vikram on their shoulders, making us root for their friendship even as they don't see eye to eye on many things.
Not just Jim and Ishwak, Regina Cassandra, who plays Mrinalini, does a fabulous job too. So do other actors, namely Dibyendu Bhattacharya (as fictional Raza Mehdi), Arjun Radhakrishnan (as APJ Abdul Kalam) etc. Rocket Boys shows how people who have been friends for years don't need monologues to share their joy or pain. Homi's last call to his lover Pipsy (Saba Azad), Vikram weeping into Mrinalini's arms, Homi comforting a young Indira Gandhi right after her father's death - these are terrific moments of restrained storytelling.
Abdul Kalam's Fantastic Cameo
A young, long-haired APJ Abdul Kalam (Arjun Radhakrishnan) makes an important appearance, and what a fantastic cameo! The tactics adopted by Vikram, Kalam and the other scientists to carry out a nuclear test in Pokhran in May 1974 is a delight to watch.
Attention to Details of The Period
The attention to details when it comes to the period is admirable. The story might be about the two genius scientists, but the show also focuses on a country trying to grapple with post-Independence pains.
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Topics: Jim Sarbh Ishwak Singh Rocket Boys 2
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