‘RASHMI ROCKET’ IS AN IMPORTANT INSPIRATIONAL FILM

Rating: 3.5/5
Director Akarsh Khurana raises an important issue prevalent in sports and attempts to strike a strong conversation

Gender test in sports has been traumatic for female sports. For many years now. Challenging this notion and trying to bring about a solution by way of cinematic creativity is a strong point of Rashmi Rocket. The film hits strongly at stereotypes and gender name calling and emerges victorious in how this film can be a strong point in gender studies, especially through cinema analysis. The main feature of the film is that you feel about the issue strongly. From the way of narration, things could be a little more profound.

Watch the trailer here: 

PLOT

Rashmi Vira (Taapsee Pannu) faces discrimination when after winning multiple medals for India, she is subjected to a gender test, resulting in a ban in her career.

STORY/SCREENPLAY/GENERAL

Many writers here on board. Thankfully, the broth isn’t spoilt. Story is by Nanda Periyasamy with screenplay by Aniruddha Guha. Additional screenplay and dialogues are penned by Kanika Dhillon. Additional dialogues are written by Akarsh Khurana, Aniruddha Guha and Lisha Bajaj. It is a good idea. It is a good story. It is a decent execution. The writers should be credited for coming up with a story that doesn’t give you inspiration for sports. Ofcourse, the film initially feels like just another sports drama where a kid will be inspired to take up sports because someone else achieved great heights there. This film moves beyond the limited boundaries of a sports film and talks in great length about the discrimination that female sportspersons have to bear in many walks of their lives.

This idea of taking this route through a sports drama is very interesting and the very soul of the film. The notions of gender test, testosterone levels impacting the performance, rules of international sporting associations, why India is silent- have all been raised to give you a picture on what happens when such tests are conducted on female athletes and the consequences they have to face. The insensitivity of media is shown out loud and how Indian society behaves falling to the tropes of mere hearsay is also being discussed.

rashmi rocket, zee5, film, review, hindi, 2021
Scenes from the film (image source: youtube.com)

A major chunk of the film also takes place inside a courtroom, which is both interesting and a bit confusing. A lot of the times you do feel that the scenes could be simplified, not in terms of information, but only in the direction taken in the scenes while writing. The content is strong and if you notice keenly, every issue related to the gender test has been picked up individually in a manner that it seems like the well knit proceeding of the court. Even then, you feel it could be crisper in terms of how it is approached. Also, the point when the protagonist decides to take legal action is not fully convincing. One weak point of the film is also that although you see the protagonist’s prep for the film, you don’t feel she is a fast sprinter. You are only made to believe that. The camera or the direction doesn’t allow you to feel that speed. It doesn’t come naturally to you as the audience.

The screenplay takes a fair route keeping you invested in the drama for its content. The film picks up strong pace from the point from where the build up of gender test begins. This comes at around half time in the film and the second half thus is more gripping than the first one. Here, you also feel that some build up of this actual cinematic drama should have been placed in the first half as well. But talking of it in real life terms, it seems justified because looking in the realist approach, you need a major high or a low to understand a few things about your own life.

PERFORMANCES

Taapsee Pannu suits the role. No doubt about that. Her preparation shows. Her body is athletic. She suffers in a sprinter image because the director lacks in showing her strongly in that manner. Otherwise, both in vulnerable and bold avatars, she puts her best foot forward.

Priyanshu Painyuli steals you over with his charm and able support. He plays an Army Captain and subsequently Major, who supports his lady love unconditionally. You do feel that the protagonist is walking strong because she has her man beside her. This conviction comes from a phenomenally believable performance by Painyuli.

rashmi rocket, zee5, review, film, hindi, 2021
Scenes from the film (image source: youtube.com)

Supriya Pathak is likeable. As always. You give her any role and she nails it, as if all these characters live inside of her. This particular role comes naturally to her and you never feel she is acting. She is really some Bhanuben from Bhuj. Manoj Joshi, in a small role makes a lasting impact as a father who is all up for supporting his daughter, letting her fly the way she wishes to.

Abhishek Banerjee is lovely. Just notice his mannerisms, body language, and expressions. How is he so effortless in every role of his, is a topic to research on. Simply brilliant. Supriya Pilgaonkar is also good in the role of a disciplined judge. Varun Badola makes an impact in a role that lends the film layers and depth. Had it not been for his role and him especially, the story would have had a little less impact.

Mantra as the coach is also impactful with his upright body language. Miloni Jhonsa and Namita Dubey also make for a compelling watch as they give seasoned performances.

OTHER TECHNICALITIES

Music and score by Amit Trivedi do the needful for the film. Giving soul, taking the narrative forward and also making you glued to the drama, whenever there was something lacking in content or the flow.

Cinematography by Neha Parti Matiyani is fair. The colours are mostly warm, but you do see shades of cool when the situation is hostile. Visually, the film looks enriched and the lights used complement the script most perfectly. The camera during the racing sequences however could have moved a little more sharply. Production design by Durgaprasad Mahapatra is amazing. The location of Bhuj or the house interiors or the court setup are all believable. It is a colourful film, but the colours never take the essence of the film away.

Editing by Ajay Sharma and Shweta Venkat Mathew is fine, but could be great, only by a minute level. The flow and structure are all nice and binding. The second half is edited well, but the first one needed to have a more well defined approach.

It is a film that may not shout out loud with inspiration in the conventional terms. But it is sure an important film in the territory raising some concerns, Whether or not it will change anything in the turf is something only time will decide.

Rochak Saxena

Rochak Saxena a Mass Media Teacher, former journalist at DNA and an ardent lover of Hindi films - literally. The blog derives its name from the popular term ‘Willing Suspension of Disbelief’, most commonly used in the world of literature and cinema. Meaning to immerse yourself in an unreal world (where you know what you see on screen is fake) with a self-proclaimed/declared belief/wish to consider it real, the willing world becomes magical. It’s the same magic every Friday that drives Rochak to share things in the perspective that it needs to be observed with. Every film is different. And the difference needs to be cherished.

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