in Taapsee Pannu Rashmi Rocket, The heroine gets a shocking slap on her face. Now if you too can’t stop talking about Anubhav Sinha after watching his film like me SlapLet us tell you that the similarities between the two films end there. While Thappad makes for a textbook read on addressing a woman’s right to respect with subtlety and consistent writing, Rashmi Rocket runs miles away from it. From the beginning to the end of the second hour, the film tries its best to turn you against Taapsee and her choices in films.
With random singing, choreographed dancing, comic background music, filmy dialogues and melodrama, Rashmi Rocket tells the story of a woman being stripped of her identity, publicly shamed and physically abused by men. If the two parts of the last sentence don’t fit together, imagine my confusion on watching two hours of this. Taapsee plays Rashmi, a naturally talented girl from Kutch, who could be the next Usain Bolt in the world… That town tomb, at which men and women point and say, ‘Chhoro hai ke chori? ‘ Except, none of it seems real, especially when these men and women are supposed to be her neighbors, who have known her since childhood.
Watch the trailer of Rashmi Rocket:
However, Rashmi has given up her love of running. There’s a tragic backstory about a dead father, told so comically in a flashback featuring a child actor who was certainly running on a treadmill. As silly as it is all, the backstory becomes meaningless in 10 minutes, when a hunky army man (played by Priyanshu Painyuli) enters Rashmi’s life and convinces her to run again. By the end of the 20th minute, Rashmi has already entered a legal race and has broken all-time records.
But bigger challenges come when Rashmi finally makes it to the big league. She comes to Delhi to train with the Athletics Federation of India but runs into trouble. Now, unlike the story of Olympian Dutee Chand and other star athletes that the film appears to be inspired by, director Akarsh Khurrana isn’t content to reveal the horrors of the system that has given him years of antiquated gender testing. Harassed and harassed with custom. Instead, a few mean girls are called on board for added villainy. These ordinary residents of South Delhi in pink athleisure, who seem to have never run a mile in their lives off the track, make Rashmi look like a real athlete in comparison. And like a jealous high school bully you’ve seen a million times in the movies, they call out her name in the cafeteria and make her look bad in front of teachers. This is juvenile and tedious watch.
Taapsee plays the role of star athlete Rashmi. However, she seems far more comfortable showing her tomboyish side in the opening scenes or grabbing the bully’s wrist and giving it back twice. On the track, she looks fit enough to run the relay, even though Akarsh chooses to use the slow tempo to ruin everything. However, the heartache doesn’t show even when the training montage transitions from a cliff to a clip of her crying. Taapsee has played the role of ‘tough against the world’ many times so far and I would have no problem seeing her as a more sensitive person to change. But I believe he needs the support of a brilliant director more than I thought before.
Priyanshu Painyuli plays the supporting life partner with a perennial smile on his face. However, this is the kind of one-dimensional role that we would have heard Taapsee objecting to in an interview years ago. So, how is it appropriate for Priyanshu to do so?
Abhishek Banerjee, otherwise sensational as the dog-loving killer in Paatal Lok, tests your patience as a dishonest, dramatic lawyer fighting Rashmi’s case against the association. At one point, the judge (played by Supriya Pilgaonkar) even tells him, “You watch the Hindi film Bahut Hai Kya? Court room mein itna high drama nahi hota (Do you watch a lot of Hindi movies? Real courtroom doesn’t have that much drama). So clearly, Akarsh Khurrana knows the rules. However, he gives them a big middle finger and allows Abhishek to soak in more and more courtroom drama. Shouting, long speeches, creating suspense, catching criminals red-handed in court and many more are theatrics for which the spectator of more than one Bollywood courtroom drama cannot have the patience.
And Akarsh is a repeat offender of doing things despite knowing better. In the final segment of the film, the lawyer finds something that may work to his advantage in the case but Rashmi decides against using it, a rare wise decision. It almost reminds you of Taapsee’s other courtroom film Pink, when Kirti Kulhari’s Planka lies that she was an escort but still deserved respect. For a full 10 minutes Rashmi Rocket fools you into believing that she had indeed made the right choice, but in the end, Akarsh couldn’t let go of the rough, rotten opportunity to prove how much Rashmi really was. is traditionally ‘female’.
Rashmi Rocket wishes better things for women. It calls out loud and loud to end gender testing in sport, a practice that has plagued many women for years. However, how effective it would be to compare women with high testosterone to the big hands of Michael Phelps, I’m not sure.
Director: Akarsh Khurana
Mold: Taapsee Pannu. Priyanshu Painyuli, Abhishek Banerjee