Ishwak Singh, who plays scientist Vikram Sarabhai on Rocket Boys, recalled the exact moment when he came to know he was part of the show. In an interview with Hindustan Times, the actor remembered the surreal, unforgettable moment when he was cast. He said “I knew the magnitude and scale of the show. What really got me excited was that when you grow up and have dreams and aspirations, with me, it was to [be a part of] something so important, a wholesome story and character, a long format where exploring the length and breadth of one of the pioneers of Indian science and modern India, it was definitely on my dream role that had not even told myself about.” (Also read: Regina Cassandra on playing Mrinalini Sarabhai in Rocket Boys: ‘She was a force to reckon with’)
His audition process also went smoothly. He shared, “I got a very quick call back. I was in sheer relief that people were aware of my work. I guess everyone was looking forward to my audition because all the makers and platform gave the go ahead, the green signal, pretty soon. So I got on board very soon after the test was sent and I was on a call with Nikkhil Advani and Abhay Pannu and discussing the character, almost like a new beginning.”
Preparing for his part, Ishwak learnt the story and the script inside out, reading it over and over again. He explained, “When it’s a well-written script, it just gives you cues and certain references. I used my sense of how I can get an idea of what those times were like, what Amdavad [Ahmedabad] was like in those days, what was the culture like, what was Cambridge like when Vikram Sarabhai went to there and ISC and when he founded Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), how were the institutes, so I kind of got a skinny on all that.”
Speaking about Vikram in this new season, Ishwak shared that the renowned scientist was a strong character who really believed in himself and those around him.The actor sees Vikram as a true leader who was not just interested in personal gain but believed in carrying those around him and mentoring them as well. He said, [Vikram] believed in interdependence and the virtues of science. This is a man who kind of takes things forward, not just for the single ambition but sees everything holistically. Ambition, the progress of the family, the personal and professional, all of those things. I don’t want to assign a word to him but I think that’s what encapsulates Vikram Sarabhai. Even traces of this particular aspect were there in the first season.”
Both seasons were filmed together and some days were harder than others. But the actor shared it is all part of the filmmaking process. He said, “It’s for those who like hearing music and the noise so if you love your craft then the hardship is like part of the joy. We travelled and shot in different locations. It’s not always easy. When you [shoot on location], trying to belong to that space, it’s challenging, but then at the same time, all these things also become the most memorable part of the shoot. It also helps the authenticity to be able to feel that you belong to this space. Not only does it help you perform better, it also stays with you. It also resonates with the audience.”
Ishwak went on to say, “I always knew Rocket Boys was a special show. I don’t think much about how it’s going to do because that’s not in your control. But I always feel that something that’s made with so much honesty, that’s authentic to its genre and filmmaking, and to the craft. It will find its place and I think that’s what happened. The response that I got was, it’s always unexpected. Life’s full of surprises, and the kind of messages we got from people in the industry and outside of the industry, everyone showered it with so much love. It’s still sinking in.”
The second series, written and directed by Abhay Pannu, will premiere on March 16. Ishwak feels the series has a wholesome story and audiences will definitely get what they’re looking for, more than season one.
He added, “[Rocket Boys has] that honesty and simplicity. The beauty of the show is that it’s an homage to the nation builders and the heroes of science. It’s something that is a worthy successor to season one and an advancement in that direction.”
Later this year, Ishwak will be seen in two more series and two features, including Berlin and Bas Karo Aunty. But he doesn’t feel like this is goodbye to Vikram Sarabhai just yet.
“I guess that’s why I haven’t felt like it’s over because we’re going to make it and we’re going to put it out on a platform in front of the world and everyone’s going to see it and it’s going to be there forever. It’s no goodbyes in that sense,” he shared.