R Madhavan
R Madhavan Image Credit: IMdB

Indian actor R Madhavan was willing to go to any great lengths to make sure his directorial biopic ‘Rocketry: The Nambi Effefct’ remained authentic and true to its subject, a real-life Indian genius who was cleared of espionage charges.

Madhavan has written, directed, and acted in the multi-lingual film which recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and evoked a standing ovation.

“He’s bigger than James Bond ... I play him from 29 to 79 years of age and we have achieved it without prosthetics. Every look that you have seen, there’s no wig, padding or filled. All the scientists that you see in this film grew their hair, put on weight, and lost weight to look original,” said Madhavan at a press conference held at the Vox Cinemas in Deira City Centre on June 21.

R Madhavan in 'Rocketry: The Nambi Effect' Image Credit: Supplied

R Madhavan, who lives in Dubai and travels to India to pursue his acting ambitions, even gained and lost weight rapidly to play the mercurial rocket scientist.

“I researched for about two and a half years on how we could put on and lose weight rapidly. I didn’t have six months or the budget would have gone into a different orbit. I had my jaw broken and teeth re-arranged,” said Madhavan. He stuffed his face with cake to gain weight, while ate beetroot and cucumber to lose weight rapidly.

Every day, he was willing to spend more than 14 hours getting his hair dyed to grey to depict the scenes featuring the scientist in his old age. But this was his true labour of love.

“And during that time, my wife completely believed that I’ll go bald because of the sheer amount of torture I was putting my head and hair through,” said R Madhavan, taking us through his before and after pictures of hair and body transformation.

Nambi Narayanan
Former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan speaks to media, in Thiruvananthapuram, Friday, September 14, 2018. Image Credit: PTI

The actor also met with the actual subject Nambi Narayanan -- a former scientist and aerospace engineer of the Indian Space Research Organisatio falsely accused of espionage -- several times to study him closely. The actor promised that it won’t fall prey to Bollywood’s tendency to make glossy biopics’ that skips the unsavoury parts of its subjects’ life.

The film is written, produced and directed by R Madhavan, who is also playing the titular lead role. The story spans across Narayanan’s days as a graduate student at Princeton University, before exploring his work as a scientist and the false espionage charges placed upon him. 'Rocketry: The Nambi Effect' will release in UAE cinemas on July 1.

Read the full interview in Gulf News soon.