Rocket Boys 2
The success story of Rocket Boys has been one to relish for an array of factors from the outset. An information-dense show about two of India's most celebrated scientists and their early days was something not many would have foreseen being a ginormous hit. Thus, we now land in Season 2 where proceedings shift to the historical events we already do know to a large extent and the thrills surrounding it. Having had the chance to see Rocket Boys 2 starring Jim Sarbh, Ishwak Singh, Regina Cassandra and Saba Azad beforehand, here is what I thought about it-
The Jim Sarbh Show
It feels like a constant now where Jim Sarbh continues to rise and rise as a performer as more and more people take notice. Sarbh's immaculate grasp over English language and being inherently Parsi only helps and elevates the character of Dr. Homi Bhabha to newer heights. What the actor does add to the portrayal is the playfulness, humor and quirk thus making him charming, lovable, relatabl and yet a force to be reckoned with. Where everything else in the show is rather overwhelming and mishmash, it is Sarbh's act that keeps you invested throughout.
The Need To Do Too Much
It seems like a double-edged sword where there was a need to portray all the major historical events that happened in this season and at the same time, also overdoing it to a large extent. The screenplay meanders ranging from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's death to Lal Bahadur Shastri's death to Indira Gandhi taking over rather quickly and doesn't entirely let you fathom the repercussion that those events led to.
Add to that, another surprise death in an important character's life, it becomes an unfortunate ragbag. The urgency required for us to feel for the happenings related to these deaths is lost because then there are parallel plots of conspiracy angles on the killing of Dr. Homi Bhabha. I understand how historically, this indeed happened in a rather quick timeline but the makers also treat it with quick changes thus resulting in a hotchpotch screenplay to quite an extent.
Still Maintaining The Essence
It is only a show like Rocket Boys that could have managed to have a bazillion things going on and while being overwhelming, somehow also making it impactful. The sequences might be scattered but the setting of a vast majority of them is expertly staged.
Be it the scene when Lal Bahadur Shastri takes over and Bhabha meets him to grant him approval for the Purnima reactor, be it the scene where a drunk Bhabha explains his assistant (and the viewers as well) as to why exactly does India need to break ties with the Americans while making the first nuclear bomb and one of my favourite scenes - where a dancing Homi Bhabha explains how they can make the nuclear reactor function by making their own plutonium - these parts remind us how and why Rocket Boys Season 1 was a huge success where it was dense with information but not overpowering and giving you the ultimate mix of information and entertainment.
The Other Characters
Ishwak Singh was a standout in the first season and here as well, he continues to play Dr. Vikram Sarabhai with grace and a mellow manner. This time around, his personal struggles are as big if not bigger than his professional ones and Singh is great with the portrayal. Saba Azad shines in the little she gets to do while also dealing with one major event in her own life. But the standout in this season for me has to be Regina Cassandra.
The actor is absolutely fantastic as Mrinalini Sarabhai in this season more than the first one. Dealing with personal problems as Mrinalini, Cassandra puts forward one of the most underplayed yet subtle and towering performances one might ever see. Right from her fabulous bharatnatyam performances to feminism and then being a rock for Vikram Sarabhai, Mrinalini gets a great arc and the actor showcases it with finesse.
Rocket Boys 2 might have a fumbling graph with way too much going on in this season but even then, it continues to be one of the best shows ever made in India. With impeccable performances, fine writing and crackling music, this season also cannot be missed out on.
Rating ***1/2 (3.5/5)ALSO READ: Saba Azad's 'Who's Your Gynac?' promises laughter, drama, and OB-GYN adventures!