RASHMI ROCKET tackles an important issue and is laced with a powerful performance by Taapsee Pannu. The movie will need a strong word of mouth.


Rashmi Rocket Review {3.0/5} & Review Rating

RASHMI ROCKET is the story of a girl who’s accused of being a man. The year is 2014. Rashmi Vira (Taapsee Pannu) is from Bhuj, Gujarat and is a tour guide. She’s a great runner but quit running after she lost her father, Ramnik (Manoj Joshi), in the 2001 earthquake. At that time, she was participating in a running tournament when the earthquake struck. She was so lost in the running that she didn’t even realize the pandemonium around her. Her mother, Bhanuben (Supriya Pathak) then brought her up and also began to fight for the rights of the women in her village. Since she resides in an army area, she is good friends with an army doctor, Dr. Ejaz Qureshi (Akash Khurana). He introduces her to Captain Gagan Thakur (Priyanshu Painyuli). While touring with Gagan and his colleagues, she runs like a rocket and saves the life of a soldier who was about to step on a landmine. Gagan encourages her to get into running. This time, she agrees. She manages to win at the state level tournament. The Indian Athletics Association notices her and she’s asked to join them so that she can practice and hopefully, represent India at the Asia Games 2014. The initial days are difficult for Rashmi as even though she is a gifted runner, she is poor when it comes to certain basic rules and techniques of the sport. Under the head coach Tejas Mukherjee (Mantra), she manages to get better at the game. Some of the fellow runners despise her, especially Niharika (Miloni Jhonsa) and Priyanka (Namita Dubey). They call her a ‘man’ as they believe that she has masculine qualities. Rashmi ignores these barbs and focuses on her game. At the Asia Games, Rashmi manages to win three gold medals. The same day, when she returns, a female official (Lisha Bajaj) from the Association asks her to come along for some procedure. Rashmi is taken to a government hospital and is compelled to undergo multiple blood tests. Then for the ultrasound test, she’s asked to strip. All these procedures take nearly six hours and Rashmi is not allowed to have food. She returns to her hostel, feeling humiliated. She bumps into Niharika who once again taunts her and calls her a ‘launda’. An angry Rashmi punches her face. Sometime later, the police arrive at the hostel. Inspector Sathe (Umesh Prakash Jagtap) claims that he got a complaint that a man is hiding in the female hostel. They conclude that the man in the hostel is none other than Rashmi. She is arrested. Gagan barges into the police station and releases her. As soon as they both come out of the police station, they find that the media has already arrived. The reports of the tests also get leaked and it proves that Rashmi has an unusually high level of testosterone. Hence, the Association bans her. What happens next forms the rest of the film.

Nanda Periyasamy’s story is novel and seems to be inspired by the life of Dutee Chand. Aniruddha Guha’s screenplay (additional screenplay by Kanika Dhillon) is well-penned and is simplistic. The subject tackled in the film is new and a bit difficult to apprehend for the audiences. But the writers have tried their best to ensure that the proceedings are easily comprehensible. However, the second half oscillates between the court and non-court scenes. The latter, however, is not as engaging. Kanika Dhillon’s dialogues (additional dialogues by Akarsh Khurana, Anirrudha Guha and Lisha Bajaj) are one of the best things of the enterprise. Several one-liners enhance the impact.

Akarsh Khurana’s direction is neat. One of his biggest victories is that he handles the crux of the film in a sensitive matter. There’s no titillation either visually or verbally. And the various tracks are deftly handled, be it Rashmi’s bond with Gagan or Rashmi’s training agony or the courtroom drama. On the flip side, however, while the track of Rashmi and Bhanuben is touching in the first half, in the second half, it is weak. Why did Rashmi and her mother stop communicating is not explained properly. While the court scenes take the film to a high, the intermediate sequences don’t create the desired impact, although a lot is happening here as well. An important plot point, revealed in the climax, is predictable although it’s treated like a suspense track.

RASHMI ROCKET starts on a dramatic note. The childhood portions are sweet. The scene where Gagan befriends Rashmi and he realizes that she’s an expert runner is well executed. The training track of Rashmi is dramatic and keeps viewers engaged. However, the scene that rocks the most in the first half is how Rashmi is humiliated while undergoing the tests. Gagan’s outburst at the police station is applause-worthy. In the second half, Eeshit’s (Abhishek Banerjee) entry adds some light moments. All the courtroom scenes are engrossing but the ones in between are not that effective. The finale is great.

Taapsee Pannu: “When I was NOT acknowledged for Pink, tabse my way of taking REVENGE is…”

Taapsee Pannu is fabulous as expected. After delivering some award-worthy performances, one expects nothing but the best from her. And she doesn’t disappoint. Also, she keeps the Gujarati accent and the masculine bit restrained and that works. Priyanshu Painyuli has a fine dialogue delivery and suits the part. Abhishek Banerjee plays to the gallery and is quite entertaining. He infuses life into the second half of the film. Supriya Pathak is lovely but her track could have been more convincing in the second half. Manoj Joshi and Akash Khurana are adorable in the guest appearances. Supriya Pilgaonkar (Judge Savita Deshpande) steals the show. Mantra lends able support. The same goes for Varun Badola (Dilip Chopra). Miloni Jhonsa and Namita Dubey are okay in the antagonist-type roles. Umesh Prakash Jagtap leaves a mark with just a couple of scenes. Zafar Karachiwala (Mangesh Desai) puts up a praiseworthy act. Aseem Jayadev Hattangady (Praveen Sood) and Kshiti Jog (Dr Mhatre) are decent in a small role. Lisha Bajaj has an arresting presence. Shweta Tripathi Sharma (Maya Bhasin) is terrific in a cameo.

Amit Trivedi’s music is nothing special. ‘Ghani Cool Chori’ fulfils the need for a chartbuster song in the album to some extent. ‘Zidd’ lacks the punch of the adrenaline-pumping tracks in other sports films. ‘Rann Ma Kutchh’ is a nice ode to the Kutchh setting of the film. ‘Zindagi Tere Naam’ is forgettable. Amit Trivedi’s background score is far better.

Neha Parti Matiyani’s cinematography is appropriate for a film of this kind. Durgaprasad Mahapatra’s production design is realistic. Rohit Chaturvedi’s costumes are stylish, especially the ones worn by Taapsee. Late Ajay Sharma and Shweta Venkat Mathew’s editing could have been slicker in the second half.

On the whole, RASHMI ROCKET tackles an important issue and is laced with a powerful performance by Taapsee Pannu. The movie will need a strong word of mouth as the lack of buzz around the film might prove to be a dampener to an extent.


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