Despite a perfect score for Mr. Jim Sarbh, the return was disappointing: Reviews of Rocket Boys Season 2
The Second Season of the Rocket Boys
This season of the popular SonyLiv show is a bit underwhelming to watch due to a few bad performances and some weak writing.
The Rocket Boys’ comeback is rather underwhelming due to invented villains and a larger-than-usual serving of Bollywood-style flavoring. Despite having a riveting story and a pitch-perfect Jim Sarbh as Dr. Homi J. Bhabha, the second season of the show falls short of its predecessor’s brilliance. Poor supporting cast performances are only partially at fault.
Comparison with Season 1
Rocket Boys season 1 debuted almost exactly one year ago, making it one of the brightest stars in SonyLiv’s tiny galaxy. Everything about it was amazing and unexpected, beginning with its marvelously cast leads and supporting characters, well-written characters with equal amounts of greatness, gravity, and flaws, acute attention to detail, that banger of a score, and a stunning production design—the likes of which were rarely seen on Indian OTT space. While the majority of these elements carry over to the second season, the most important ones do not.
The plot line for Season 2
In 1964, Homi Bhabha was still hoping to build an atomic bomb for India, and Dr. Vikram Sarabhai was still hoping to fly his rockets into space. However, both are under attack from pacifists and auditors who are threatening budget cuts. Then there’s the CIA, which will go any distance to keep India in its place. In 1974, in Pokhran, the series follows the journey of these scientists and their men. The political unrest in Teen Murti Bhawan’s lobbies, the tussle with the CIA, and Vikram’s bad marriage situation take up the majority of the second season.
Impact of Story on the Audience
At times, the drama is over-the-top, and at others, it isn’t dramatic enough. None of the many deaths this season, including those of important characters, have had an emotional impact. Almost every to-die character receives the same treatment, and it loses its impact even before the third, major death occurs around midseason (I won’t name names in case you also slept through history classes in school and want to avoid ‘spoilers’). Anyone who has been marked by death writes emotional letters, leaves things unsaid, and says their final goodbyes just before being poisoned, having a heart attack, or being blown up to bits. Even so, despite all of their innovative liberties, witnessing these departures has little to no impact.
Performances by the lead characters
While we’re on the subject of an underwhelming additional cast, we can’t leave out Indira Gandhi. Charu Shankar, who plays the former Prime Minister in the series, fails to carry her charisma, powerful stature, or even her manner of speaking. With her long wooden delivery and expressions, the character rarely appears human.
Having said that, Jim Sarbh ensures that there is never a dull moment when he is on-screen. When a scene requires him to be perfectly still, he is incredibly charming. The show’s final scene reminds you how much you’ll miss him when the credits roll.
Ishwak, on the other hand, does his best with the almost boring writing that Vikram Sarabhai receives. A few emotional scenes do not have the same impact as his banter with Homi. Perhaps that’s Jim’s charm at work.
Final words on season 2
While Rocket Boys season 2 isn’t as good as season 1, it’s still one of the best shows on Indian OTT right now. You hardly ever see a series with such outstanding production design, dedication to beauty, and fantastic music. Rocket Boys is a shining example of how to never mess with quality in a world where Hindi series and films are still unable to dub properly. If nothing else, watch it just to hear the incredible title track a few more times.