Rocket Boys, Sony Liv’s latest offering, traces the historic journey of two Indian physicists, Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha and Dr. Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai, played by Jim Sarbh and Ishwak Singh respectively. Their vision, grit, and brilliance made us believe India could reach the skies. 

Rocket Boys
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Jim and Ishwak
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Bhabha and Sarabhai imagined a country no one could even back when we were under British colonisation. The founding fathers of the Indian Nuclear and Space Program envisioned a future for our nation and gave us the present we are living in. 

Jawahar Lal Nehru
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So let’s look back at those milestones and people behind them, as showcased in the show, through this real vs. reel image series. 

1. Homi J Bhabha

Born in a prominent Parsi family, Homi Jenhagir Bhabha went on to complete his education from Cambridge University. He headlined the atomic research in the country and established institutions such as Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in1945, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in 1954 and organised the first UN Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in 1955. And actor Jim Sarbh brilliantly portrayed the witty and charismatic personality on-screen. 

2. Vikram Sarabhai

On the other hand, Vikram Sarabhai, considered as the Father of the Indian space program, completed his PhD under the supervision of CV Raman (played by Karthik Shrinivasan on the show), then director of IISC. 

3. Vikram Sarabhai and Homi Bhabha

Vikram Sarabhai and Homi Bhabha met each other at the Indian Institute of Science. The latter was appointed as a professor at the institute's newly set-up Cosmic Ray Research Unit in 1942.

4. Dr. C. V. Raman

C. V. Raman, from his humble beginnings, went on to set up the Indian Journal of Physics in 1926 as well as sponsored the establishment of the Indian Academy of Sciences. 

5. Vikram Sarabhai and Mrinalini Sarabhai on their wedding day

On the personal front, Vikram Sarabhai married the Padma Shri recipient and Bharatanatyam dancer Mrinalini, played by Regina Cassandra Sarabhai in the series.

6. Homi Bhabha at TIFR

Bhabha, who had always been a visionary, predicted the emergence of nuclear power as a solution to the world’s energy needs. Under his guidance, the first light-water reactor called Apsara was built in Tata Institute of Fundamental Research(TIFR). 

7. Homi J. Bhabha realized that for future industrial growth, the development of nuclear energy was crucial. 

Bhabha persuaded the former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (played by Rajit Kapoor) to establish a separate branch of science to primarily focus on atomic energy. Eventually, the Atomic Energy Commission was formed in 1948, initially led by the nuclear physicist.  

8. First rocket launch in India

Dr Sarabhai, with his team of fellow scientists which also included Dr APJ Abdul Kalam (played by Arjun Radhakrishnan), launched the first-ever rocket from a small village named Thumba in 1963. 

Although on-screen through a fictionalised story, witnessing these historic event unfold and the contribution of some great minds of the country was a proud moment for all of us.