Rashmi Rocket (2021/ Drama/ Sports/ Zee5)
Story of a sportswoman who finds herself at odds against exploitative rules, sports politics, gender inequality, patriarchal mindset and an apathetic system.
Director- Akarsh Khurana
Writers- Kanika Dhillon, Akarsh Khurana, Anirudh Guha, Lisha Bajaj
Cast- Taapsee Pannu, Supriya Pathak, Priyanshu Painyuli, Abhishek Banerjee, Manoj Joshi, Supriya Pilgaonkar, Shweta Tripathi, Varun Badola
Rashmi (Taapsee) has an exceptional talent for running. Pushed by her mother (Supriya Pathak) and the man in her life Capt Gagan (Priyanshu), she takes up running professionally, is making waves when she falls prey to sports politics and is faced with a ban owing to a failed gender test.
When you see such an offbeat premise, a rock solid central message and an able cast adorning the film, it’s bound get you excited.
When the actress at helm is someone who is known to play firebrand strong characters and always justifies her roles, the expectations are bound to rise higher.
Well, I sometimes believe high expectations become the biggest bane.
The film starts and dwells on the personal story of Rashmi for a majority of the first half. While I felt it was pertinent to give us a peep into her character, I feel the screenplay sagged at places and many parts could have been crispier. I felt the story spent an inordinate amount of time reaching to its sports drama part.
If well done, sports dramas have the potential to give adrenaline rush and overwhelming feel. Unforunately that part of it also failed to move me much. They probably had lesser screen time left to delve into it.
Had the film taken a less meandering path and dwelled more on the sports, it would have been an ideal ratio.
But thankfully, in the second half, when the drama moves on towards the courtroom and when Abhishek Banerjee enters the story as the lawyer Eeshit, that’s when things start getting excited.
The sense of humour and the sharpness brought in by him raises the tempo of the film and our reaction to it.
And that’s when the hammer strikes the nail. The pertinent point that was pivotal to the film now hits like a hard rock. The dialogues and the court room exchanges keep us hooked and invested.
Taapsee is someone who nevers fails to deliver and same is the case this time .Her hard work in her physical transformation is also evident. But the fan in me wants to see her versatility as an actor. Aching to see her in a vastly different role in near future.
Priyanshu, someone who I have deeply admired as Robin in Mirzapur, was a pleasure to watch in a meaty role.
Abhishek Banerjee rules the film like a king once he enters. He adds zing when most needed.
Supriya Pathak and Varun Badola add good support.
The film does make its point, bringing into limelight an issue that many of us might not have been aware of, at least not in such details. For that reason alone, the film can be categorised as an important one.
The way it lays bare how exploitative the sports rule are, how lopsided laws can ruin careers and lives, how apathetic sports federations can be, how patriarchal the mindsets are, and how hard our sports women fight against it, was eye opening! Seen many films about the struggles of sportsmen in our country but this issue of the gender tests and the horrifying circumstances that women athletes go through was heartbreaking.
Despite the muddled first half, the film conveys a well meant message. Supported by the able cast and performances, the film was a good one time watch for me. And yes, it’s a treat for Taapsee Fans.