Series “Rocket Boys” was a hit for SonyLIV when it began streaming in 2022 and the streamer is expecting to replicate its success with season 2, which streams from March 16.
The series is created by Nikkhil Advani and directed by Abhay Pannu, and produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur, Monisha Advani and Madhu Bhojwani for Roy Kapur Films and Emmay Entertainment. It is a fictionalized version of the story of Dr. Homi J. Bhabha (Jim Sarbh), who engineered India’s nuclear program and Dr. Vikram Sarabhai (Ishwak Singh), who established the Indian space program. Set during the 1940s-1970s, key players in the series also include Mrinalini Sarabhai (Regina Cassandra), a pillar in Dr. Sarabhai’s life, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam (Arjun Radhakrishnan), who pioneered modern Indian aerospace and nuclear technology, and would go on to become the President of India, and the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (Rajit Kapur) who supported the scientists.
“The conscious decision that we all took, was that let’s not get bogged down by the legacy of Dr. Homi Bhabha and the legacy of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. If we are taking the audiences into the 1940s then they are Homi and Vikram. They are not Dr. Sarabhai and Dr. Bhabha, so let’s treat them as genuine, very young men who are trying to trying to chase a dream. That’s what season 1 was about,” Advani told Variety.
“Geopolitics takes over in season 2. It’s really now about [India’s] first nuclear test, which happened in 1974, and what each of our characters actually contribute, as well as hold back. It is much bigger in terms of scale, their ambition has become much bigger, much larger. And the stakes become larger because the CIA gets involved,” Advani added.
Roy Kapur added: “The inciting incident for season 2 is the fact that Jawaharlal Nehru is now no more. You’ve got a 17-year old-country, that’s a very fledgling country – it’s very hard for a lot of people of our generation, or younger than us, to imagine a country that has just been unified and is coming into its own and has only ever known one leader, is suddenly adrift. You’ve got a new set of political philosophies in place now, which therefore restrict the access that our scientists had to the seat of power, and therefore leave them in a situation where they and their dreams and their vision is now vulnerable to the dictates of the new political age.”
“You see the rise of Indira Gandhi as well, and what her contribution was to what happened between the 1964 and 1974 period. So it’s a very interesting, very intense, very dramatic and thrilling 10 years that the whole season encapsulates,” Roy Kapur said.
Roy Kapur and Advani are not ruling out the possibility of a continuation of the story. “The premise of the show was about renaissance men, about people who did extraordinary things. Sidd and I have, in our moments of weakness, we have discussed it. But in moments of lucidity, you say ‘no, let it be over now,’” Advani said.
Roy Kapur added: “If this particular story had to continue, of course, it would be about India’s nuclear program and space program. And then the men and women who took it forward from 1974 onwards and into the present day. If it’s the theme of two personalities within a certain field, whose lives whose professional and personal lives are very intricately intertwined and you use that theme in different spheres, then the possibilities are endless.”