Chandrayaan 3 is going to be launched today. The entire country is proud of the space scientists and astro technicians at ISRO who made this dream of Indian space exploration possible. Indian films are also not behind in showcasing such proud moments onscreen.
However, due to their high production costs, space films haven't been a very common genre in Indian cinema. Many have appeared in international cinema, and in fact, directors often produce one per year in Hollywood. Few such films last for a long time in our minds and the rest we quickly forget.
As you witness the Chandrayaan 3 launch, here are a few Indian films that you must see in order to understand how space exploration has been depicted in Indian cinema over the decades and how things have changed from the black-and-white era to the current times:
‘Kalai Arasi’ (1963)
A. Kasilingam directed India's first space film. It starred MG Ramachandran and P. Bhanumathi Ramakrishna. Even though the film was a success, it did not inspire many others to explore the sci-fi and space drama genres. The fact that the Indian public was uninformed of scientific breakthroughs may have contributed to the producers' decision not to commit too much money to a single film at that time.
‘Chand Par Chadayee’ (1967)
In 1967, T.P. Sundaram and Dara Singh attempted to film a space movie. Sundaram produced and directed the film. The film is hardly known, and it was lost in the archives because Indian moviegoers were not fully aware of scientific breakthroughs in space at the time. Even today it would be very difficult to get a hold of the movie's print online or in any film museums.
‘Koi…Mil Gaya’ (2003)
Rakesh Roshan produced and directed the film, which starred Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta, Rekha, Prem Chopra, Rajat Bedi, and Johnny Lever. The film depicts the story of a special-needs youngster who discovers his late father's old equipment and decides to play with it. The equipment turns out to be a device for communicating with aliens living on other planets. Soon enough havoc ensues and when the other world species respond and decide to pay a visit to their friend, the youngster is in a fix. How the youngster and the alien help each other to achieve what they want is what the rest of the film is all about. The film went on to be a huge blockbuster at the ticket windows.
‘Antariksham 9000 KMPH’ (2018)
Telugu cinema has never attempted space dramas. 'Antariksham', the first Telugu film, looked a little too sombre for the subject matter. Otherwise, the film may have easily established Space Dramas as a viable Telugu Cinema genre as well. The team's efforts in presenting the film as a humanistic drama were commendable, however, the drama that follows was a bit too much for the audiences which is why the film never clicked that much at the box-office.
‘Tik Tik Tik’ (2018)
‘Tik Tik Tik’ is one of those space dramas that are so awful that we may laugh and enjoy them. The film overdoes everything and makes space flight appear ridiculous. Nonetheless, the team's efforts to develop the film merit credit and a laugh-out-loud viewing. It was a disaster at the box-office even.
‘Mission Mangal’ (2019)
‘Mission Mangal’ may be the first Indian blockbuster to deliver on the promise of an interesting and fulfilling space drama. Despite the fact that the producers attempted to portray a voyage to Mars, a victory of India when it is a success of mankind as a whole, we can appreciate the content and grasp the intention behind making it more financially feasible. The performances of Vidya Balan and Akshay Kumar elevate the film. There's also Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Sonakshi Sinha, Sharman Joshi and many others.
‘Rocketry: The Nambi Effect’ (2022)
R. Madhavan directed the film, and he also plays the prominent role of Nambi Narayanan. The film is based on the true tale of Nambi Narayanan, an Indian aerospace engineer who was fascinated with bringing India's space exploration program to new heights. It highlights his and his team's challenges while also thanking everyone who supported him through difficult times. In different versions of the film, the actual Nambi Narayanan, Suriya, and Shah Rukh Khan make cameo cameos.
Which one among these have you already seen? Share your thoughts with us.