I’ve to hail Sony Liv for one veritably specific thing- exercising the format of the web series to craft a scientific, geopolitical story about Independent India without shushing it down for a specific mass followership. The core of Rocket Boys is the colliding personalities of Dr Homi Bhabha and Dr Vikram Sarabhai and yet their close fellowship blowing perhaps because of that. Bright minds fete the illumination of analogous intelligence.
The fellowship between these two personalities and the differing shoes serve as the substrate through which India as a country is explored, coming out of the British servitude. While Bhabha is shown as a renaissance man, a attractive debonair promoter, Sarabhai is the softer type but far more romantic in his approach. The show’s decision to not deify any of its protagonists but draft a character prone to excrescencies or reposing in his own intelligence and taking time to come to terms with his miscalculations is a welcome bone. It makes for a scattershot story at times, but it’s still about these two men. The lives they led, the connections they had, the differing testaments they conformed with each other. It’s a fascinating and yet adroitly done work, showcased through crisp jotting and potent script. The love angle in any other web series would feel force- fed, but maybe due to the foamy performance of the two womanish supporting cast (Saba Azad & Regina Cassandra), the action feels like a necessary cog in this whole story. From a scientific viewpoint, while I would have liked to see a bit more detailed look into the work of these scientists, what the platoon of”Rocket Boys” manage to show feels strictly delved and it sparkles on the screen.
There is not a typical binge format of liar then, with suspensers at every occasion, but I could not stop watching the show because like an intriguing novel, the story too pulls me in, and guides me through an impressively compressed decades-long timeline through the span of 8 hours. And yes this contraction meant dropping of plots or introducing gratuitous bones, but the story is diving so numerous events that some of those gratuitous plots don’t hinder the inflow overall. Shows as precisely created have a specialized and product quality that becomes unnoticeable, an natural part in the recreation of the period. From warm lights to murk of darkened hallways, to rain- soaked cloudy outside, the period- piece effect of it maintains the realism, successful in blending fact and fabrication. The performances by Jim Sarbh and Ishwak Singh as Homi Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai are the marquee performances, but credit should also be given to Dibyendu Bhattacharya as Dr Reza, the antagonist of this tale and a far more complicated and nuanced character than the pitch would have you believe. The one review I would have is the spying angle introduced much latterly among the two characters, but knowing that the show is supposed to have 16 occurrences in total, soothes my mind.
Rocket Boys like Achint Thakkar’s fantastic score is a show that comes out of nowhere and manages to impress me with its craft and liar. Many excrescencies away, it’s surely one of the stylish shows of this time. Sony Liv has another winner on their hands.