R Madhavan on Rocketry winning National Award: We had not won anything till the end, had almost lost hope
Actor R Madhavan talks about his directorial debut, Rocketry: The Nambi Effect winning a national award for Best Feature Film.
R. Madhavan’s 2022 passion project Rocketry: The Nambi Effect, bagged the Best Feature Film Award at the 69th National Awards. For the actor, director, and co-writer of this film, winning this award was the “most exciting and euphoric moment.”
He tells us, “We were looking at the awards and keeping our fingers crossed, and till the very end we had not won anything, so we’d almost given up hope. But when the last announcement came, I think the rocket just lifted off and we had a blast. It was most satisfying and we felt completely honored and appreciated."
Rocketry: The Nambi Effect is based on the life of an aerospace engineer Nambi Narayanan and his struggles and achievements. When asked about dedicating the national award, the 53-year-old says, "It belongs to only one gentleman, Padma Bhushan Nambi Narayanan Ji. It is because of him that the extraordinary team of Rocketry came together. Everyone only wanted to see happiness and vindication in Nambi sir and that has happened now. There is joy in his household and the objective of Team Rocketry has been met. Nambi sir feels like he’s 40 years younger and he’s happy. He’s being recognised and signs autographs for kids. Our motive has been completely achieved. We’re also very grateful to the jury of the National Awards, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.”
Madhavan, who encompassed acting, directing, as well as co-writing and made his directorial debut with Rocketry, reveals what motivated him to make this film and tells us, “When I met Nambi Narayanan sir, I knew that I had to write it because very few people understood the technology as well as the engineering behind his achievement," he continues, “At the same time, I understood exactly what he has gone through because I’ve seen the dignity and he has. So, understanding him made me write the script.”
Talking about the reason he chose to don multiple hats for the film — an actor, director as well the producer, Madhavan explains, “I wanted to produce it because there were not many producers willing to bet on a subject like this. I was going to act in it because there was an uncanny resemblance between him and me when we grew the beard, I dyed it and realized there was an uncanny resemblance which was very important for the screenplay. Those who have seen the film will understand what I’m seeing and most importantly being the producer and the director, I didn’t have to worry about having hostile producers or actors or main leads or writers because apparently all of them were the best of friends."
Bringing the film to fruition was a rewarding experience for Madhavan. “To have control over the emotions of the audience while they’re watching the film is one of the greatest privileges of being a storyteller or a director. And with Rocketry, I was fortunate enough to experience a lot of that every time,” he says. “It’s a great sense of satisfaction when what you expect the audience will do, what you envisage while writing it, shooting it, acting it, and editing it happens on the screen. So, I could see the audience laugh when I wanted them to. I could see them teary-eyed when I wanted them to. I could see them sitting there, aghast when I wanted them to,” the actor wraps up.