Zee5’s Taapsee Pannu starrer Rashmi Rocket (2021) is a tribute to the pain and struggles of all female athletes out in the world. Directed by Akarsh Khurana and produced by Ronnie Screwvala, Neha Anand and Pranjal Khandhdiya (RSVP and Mango People Media), the film accounts for the patriarchal system which demeans and works unfairly and against women and athletes with different gender identities on the field. The film’s story is by Nanda Periyasamy; meanwhile, the screenplay is by Aniruddha Guha with a runtime of a little over 2 hours.
– Zee5’s Rashmi Rocket review contains mild spoilers –
Rashmi Rocket: A world prejudiced to rising Women
Set in the marshy white land of Kutch, the film tells the story of a gifted runner, Rashmi, whose talent becomes the bridge to make her the pride of the nation but also the prey to envious eyes and a rigid patriarchal system. Becoming a leading athlete in the nation subjects Rashmi to the harsh reality of being a woman run by a male-dominated world and the humiliating practice of gender-testing female athletes.
Rashmi Rocket does not hide the unscientific and disgraceful practice of gender testing female athletes, an archaic process constructed solely to hold back women from reaching their true potential. This sports drama emotionally challenges us to look beyond the stereotypical norms established when gender-identify did not have a stage to stand on in this world. Rashmi’s story is not limited to the screen. Still, it is rather inspired by the struggle of several female athletes whose gender identity is questioned and their career in sports derailed due to female hyperandrogenism.
Even though the film does not exclusively say that it is a biopic, few portions of the film definitely give the nod to Dutee Chand’s dropping from the 2014 Commonwealth Games contingent and the subsequent lawsuit called of Dutee Chand v. Athletics Federation of India (AFI) & The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Aspects of violation of human rights and privacy present in the film also hint towards Dutee Chand’s case. Nonetheless, as mentioned in the movie, the case highlighted in the picture is something that many female athletes have to go through.
Taapsee Pannu delivers another beautiful performance on-screen. Her character of Rashmi often reminds the audience of her character Rumi in the 2018 film Manmarziyaan. As a female track athlete with a case of testosterone imbalance, Taapsee’s body language, makeup and built is commendable and only further proves how much she has worked hard for the role. Abhishek Banerjee, as lawyer Ishit is young and driven with a hint of comic elements that make his character all the more memorable. Meanwhile, Supriya Pathak and Priyanshu Painyuli are excellent in their roles.
Rashmi Rocket: Final Verdict
Rashmi Rocket will not blow your mind, but by the end of the day, it is an important watch to look beyond the glamour of medals and the reality of how female athletes are treated in the arena. On a personal note, this sports drama is similar to the 2017 film Wind River by Taylor Sheridan, in terms of how it is trying to put the truth on our screen without a lot of fanfare and digression.
You can watch Rashmi Rocket, streaming now on Zee5.