Rocketry: The Nambi Effect

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Rocketry: The Nambi Effect
Rocketry The Nambi Effect.jpg
Official poster
Directed byR. Madhavan
Produced byR. Madhavan
Varghese Moolan
Vijay Moolan
StarringR. Madhavan
Music bySam C. S.
CinematographySirsha Ray
Edited byBijith Bala
Tricolour Films
Varghese Moolan Pictures

Rocketry: The Nambi Effect is an upcoming Indian biographical drama film based on the life of Nambi Narayanan, a former scientist and aerospace engineer of the Indian Space Research Organisation who was accused of espionage.[1][2] The film is written, produced and directed by R. Madhavan in his directorial debut, who also stars in the lead along with Simran.

The film was shot simultaneously in Hindi, Tamil and English, with the Tamil version titled as Rocketry: Nambi Vilaivu. The story spans across Narayanan's days as a graduate student at Princeton University, before exploring his work as a scientist and the false espionage charges placed upon him. Having begun pre-production works in early 2017, the teaser of the film was launched in October 2018.




Work on the project was first reported by R. Madhavan in the media during April 2017, when he announced that he was set to appear in a biopic featuring the "extraordinary story of an unsung hero", who was "neither an actor nor a sportsman". He called the project his "biggest film ever" and stated that he had worked silently on the script of the film for a period of two years after becoming intrigued by hearing the tale of the former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientist Nambi Narayanan's false espionage charge.[3] To develop the script and to provide a more factual account of the events, Madhavan regularly met with Narayanan, garnering his approval for the film and discussing the scientist's life experiences. As a result of their conversations, Madhavan chose to alter his original script to include portions from Narayanan's entire career and his services to the Indian space programme, rather than just matters related to his 1994 arrest.[4][5] For the script, he also took inspiration from Narayanan's autobiography Ormakalude Bhramanapadham (2017) and Arun Ram's official biography of the scientist titled Ready To Fire: How India and I Survived the ISRO Spy Case (2018).[6]

In October 2017, Madhavan confirmed that pre-production work for the film was underway and that he would portray Narayanan from the ages of 27 to 75, and that he was gaining weight to film the scenes featuring the older version of Narayanan first, after taking advice from Aamir Khan. Madhavan also announced that alongside his screenwriting and acting credits, he would also be one of the producers of the project.[7]

In late 2017, Madhavan held discussions with the likes of S. S. Rajamouli to be the film's director, before confirming Anant Mahadevan, who had previously directed Madhavan in the Hindi television serial Ghar Jamai (1997) and the romantic drama film, Dil Vil Pyar Vyar (2002).[8][9] In regard to making of the film, Anant Mahadevan stated that he hoped to differ in the script in comparison to other biographical films, and suggested that he would not call the film a "biopic" but an "incisive investigation into a brilliant mind and India's ambitious space technology".[10] He also added that he felt that Madhavan was the "only Indian actor qualified to do this part" owing to his background as an electronic engineer with air-force training, and because he was "a thinking-actor who is also well-read".[10] The title of the film Rocketry: The Nambi Effect and a teaser for the film was unveiled in late October 2018, with Madhavan also announced as a joint director of the film. A launch event also coincided with the teaser release, with Madhavan, Anant Mahadevan and Nambi Narayanan in attendance.[1]


Principal photography began in January 2019, and was shot as a trilingual, being filmed simultaneously in English, Hindi, and Tamil.[10][11] A few days after the start of the shoot, Anant Mahadevan left the project and Madhavan took over as the project's sole director.[12] Scenes featuring Madhavan as the aged Nambi Narayanan were filmed first, with the actor taking up to 14 hours to get into the look following extensive make-up.[13][14] During the first schedule in India, Simran joined the film's cast to portray the wife of the lead character, while actors Suriya and Shahrukh Khan agreed to make cameo appearances in the Tamil and Hindi versions respectively as themselves.[15][16] Other actors who joined the cast during the production were Tamil actor Jagan to portray a scientist, and Rajit Kapur to feature as Indian physicist Vikram Sarabhai.[17]

In late January 2019, the team moved to film scenes in Georgia and Russia. The team completed the shoot five days prior to the schedule, despite shooting in unfavourable weather conditions.[18][19] In April and May 2019, the team shot scenes in India, with Madhavan shaving his beard to play a younger version of the character. The team subsequently moved on to film the final schedule in France, Bulgaria and Serbia.[20][21] Production was completed in Serbia during June 2019, with Scottish actors Ron Donachie and Phyllis Logan also a part of the final schedule.[22][23]

Post-production began in July 2019, with music composer Sam C. S. completing the background score by mid-October 2019.[24]


  1. ^ a b Staff, Scroll. "'Rocketry – The Nambi Effect' teaser: Madhavan presents scientist Nambi Narayanan's story".
  2. ^ "R. Madhavan: 95 per cent of Indians don't know about Nambi Narayanan, which I think is a crime". 1 November 2018.
  3. ^ "R Madhavan's next is a biopic and it also has Sushant Singh Rajput and Nawazuddin Siddiqui". Hindustan Times. 11 April 2017.
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "Nambi Narayanan: Waiting to see R Madhavan do my role on screen - Times of India". The Times of India.
  6. ^ "Former ISRO scientist's saga to be made into a film | Thiruvananthapuram News - Times of India". The Times of India.
  7. ^ "I keep meeting people who think it's the end of the road for me: Madhavan - Times of India". The Times of India.
  8. ^ Borthakur, Debarun (21 November 2017). "Madhavan to play rocket scientist Nambi Narayanan in a biopic". The Times of India. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  9. ^ "'Determined To Do Justice To The Life Of ISRO Scientist S Nambi Narayanan': Madhavan –". 7 July 2018. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  10. ^ a b c Surendhar MK Jul 18, 2018 13:41:38 IST (18 July 2018). "Madhavan to star in director Ananth Mahadevan's untitled biopic about ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan- Entertainment News, Firstpost". Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  11. ^ "R Madhavan is Nambi Narayanan's doppelganger in Rocketry on-set photos". 22 January 2019.
  12. ^ IANS. "R. Madhavan to direct 'Rocketry - The Nambi Effect' solely | Business Standard News". Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  13. ^ P Kirubhakar. "Madhavan's transformation into Narayanan for Rocketry The Nambi Effect is unbelievable. Watch video - Movies News". Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  14. ^ "R Madhavan's transformation into 77-year-old ISRO scientist for Rocketry leads to hilarious memes- Entertainment News, Firstpost". 25 January 2019. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  15. ^ Narayan, Adithya (18 January 2019). "Simran To Star Opposite Madhavan In Rocketry: The Nambi Effect –". Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  16. ^ "Suriya, Shah Rukh Khan land cameos in Madhavan's 'Rocketry: The Nambi Effect'". The News Minute. 13 March 2019. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  17. ^ By PTI (28 October 2019). "Rajit Kapur on playing Gandhi, Nehru and Modi: You have to find their core - The Week". Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Madhavan in Georgia on location hunt for 'Rocketry: The Nambi Effect'". The News Minute. 9 February 2019. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  20. ^  Nikita Thakkar   May 13 2019, 6.19 pm (13 May 2019). "R Madhavan's clean shaven look for Rocketry: The Nambi Effect will help you beat your Monday blues". Retrieved 1 December 2019.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  21. ^ "Madhavan wraps India schedule of 'Rocketry - The Nambi Effect' | Tamil Movie News - Times of India". 21 May 2019. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Rocketry was a challenging film: Sam CS | Tamil Movie News - Times of India". 11 October 2019. Retrieved 1 December 2019.

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