The much-awaited trailer of Rocketry-The Nambi Effect starring actor R Madhavan was unveiled on Thursday. The movie stars versatile actor R Madhavan playing the character of Nambi Narayanan, a former scientist and aerospace engineer of the Indian Space Research Organisation, who was hounded and persecuted by the Congress government.
Rocketry-The Nambi Effect is shot in three languages—Tamil, Hindi and English—and is the directorial debut of actor R Madhavan. The movie is set to release later this year. Here’s the trailer of the movie:-
The trailer captures the real-life story of former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan, his professional success and events that led to his imprisonment and police cases against him by the then governments. Many scenes in the trailer are hard-hitting and reminiscent of the forgotten pain of one of India’s most decorated and criticised scientist.
How Congress hounded India’s most celebrated rocket scientist Nambi Narayanan
It is pertinent to note that scientist Nambi Narayan was a victim of persecution by the Congress party. The political rivalry between the two factions of the Kerala Congress party led to the arrest of Narayanan, along with two other scientists D Sasikumaran and K Chandrasekhar in November 1994. The Kerala police had levelled charges of espionage under sections 3,4 and 5 of the Official Secrets Act against the scientists.
Apart from these three scientists SK Sharma, an Indian representative of the Russian Space Agency, a labour contractor and a man named Fauzia Hassan were also arrested. Narayanan was then heading the cryogenics division at the ISRO. All of them were accused of giving secret information about ISRO’s rocket engine to Pakistan.
The backstory of this arrest is rather interesting and a scathing indictment of how the quest for power with the Congress party led to the wrongful arrest of Nambi Narayanan and his associates.
Earlier in 1991, Kerala Congress was divided into two faction—one led by AK Antony and the other led by chief minister K Karunakaran. A coalition government headed by Congress leader PV Narasimha Rao was ruling the Centre, while K Karunakaran was the Chief Minister of Kerala. AK Antony, along with the future Chief Minister of the state, Oommen Chandy was waiting for an opportunity to undermine the K Karunakaran government.
However, they got an opportunity when Mariam Rashida was arrested in October 1994, on the charges of overstaying her visa. Reportedly, S Vijayan, a Kerala Police Inspector had arrested Rashida on false espionage charges after she had rejected Vijayan’s offer to indulge in sexual activities.
In the meantime, a plot was designed to embarrass K Karunakaran. AK Antony and Oommen Chandy, along with few aspirational police officers used the opportunity of Rashida’s arrest to target the senior police officer Raman Srivastava, who was close to the Chief Minister Karunakaran then. Within a month of Rashida’s arrest, the case was given a sinister twist by the few senior officers, when Nambi Narayanan’s deputy D. Sasikumaran and three others were arrested. Two weeks later, on November 30, 1994, Narayanan was also arrested.
After his arrest, he was remanded in police custody for a period of 50 days during which he was harassed and tortured by officials of Kerala police and the Indian intelligence bureau.
CBI found allegations of spying against Nambi Narayanan to be false
However, after an investigation by the CBI, the allegations on him were found to be false and in 1998, the Supreme Court upheld the findings by the CBI and had asked the Kerala government to pay Rs 1 lakh in compensation to Narayanan and others. However, Dr Narayanan had approached the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)seeking justice for the harassment and agony meted out to him. In 2001, the NHRC had awarded a compensation of Rs 10 lakhs to him.
The Supreme Court also awarded former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan a compensation of Rs 50 lakhs in September 2018, for his wrongful arrest and harassment by the Kerala Police in the 1994 ISRO spy case. The apex court had also ordered a probe into the role of the police officers involved in Narayanan’s arrest and alleged harassment in custody. The three-member probe panel was headed by former judge DK Jain.
In 2019, the Union government led by Narendra Modi finally awarded prestigious Padma Bhushan to Nambi Narayanan on the occasion of 70th Republic Day in 2019.
Later in December 2019, the Kerala government approved to provide compensation of Rs 1.3 crore to former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan for his wrongful arrest and harassment by the Kerala Police in the 1994 spying case.