WION Exclusive: Nambi Narayanan’s biggest compliment to R Madhavan on biopic ‘Rocketry’

R Madhavan aka Maddy’s upcoming magnum opus ‘Rocketry: The Nambi Effect’ has received a rousing reception after its Premiere at Cannes Film. The biopic of veteran Indian Rocket scientist Nambi Narayanan, directed by, written by, produced and starring Madhavan has won praise from various quarters. Following the Cannes premiere, two-time Oscar award winner music director AR Rahman had praised Madhavan for “bringing a new voice to Indian cinema”. During an exclusive conversation with Madhavan, WION asked the actor about the feedback he received from Nambi Narayanan, on whose life the film is based. 

Looking back, Madhavan revealed that Nambi Narayanan(who was in his late seventies at the time of project commencement) and his family, never expected that a film would be made on his life. After seeing the film, Nambi sir said, “I’ve seen more things than most men will see in their lives. I’ve seen most things that most men should not see in their lives and I thought I’ve seen everything. And now I’ve seen this movie now!” Madhavan revealed. 

Hearing such a touching response from the highly-accomplished rocket scientist(now aged 80), Madhavan asked him if he really meant what he was saying or if there was an iota of a lie in it. Nambi sir told me what he said was all true, and added “I want to thank you for giving me the desire to live a little longer to see the outcome of this film and enjoy its fruits” Madhavan told WION, referring to this as the biggest compliment he had received. 

Notably, the veteran rocket scientist who is also a recipient of ‘Padma Bhushan’ (India’s third-highest civilian honour) had vetted the technical aspects of the film and reviewed the script. Queried on how he felt working with Mr.Nambi Narayanan himself, Madhavan emphasized the importance of having domain-expert consultants working on a film and the need for more such films to be made in India. “I believe that it’s time to make a movie like this and when Dr. Nambi Narayanan steps in and says you’re right or this needs to be corrected, you better believe what he’s saying. The more authentic and realistic we have films based on technology and science, that respective field benefits out of the film” Madhavan explained. 

Taking examples from his own illustrious career, Madhavan referred to the impact that the film ‘Rang De Basanti’ had on the media and how ‘3 Idiots’ the movie changed the way parents looked and children looked at their parents in terms of their career. 

The actor also expressed hope that the Indian film industry must make more films that change the perspective that the world has about India’s technological geniuses. 

“No country can remain great, unless, those who make it great are nurtured and respected”, Madhavan signed off, sharing a significant one-liner from the film. 

‘Rocketry: The Nambi Effect’ is to have a worldwide theatrical release on July 1st and is releasing in seven languages including English. Shot simultaneously in English, Hindi and Tamil, the film was later dubbed into Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada. Ready for release in Summer 2020, the film was kept on hold till it was safe to have a worldwide theatrical release post-pandemic.