Rashmi Rocket is marred by shoddy research

Rashmi Rocket

Hindi (Zee5)

Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Abhishek Banerjee, Priyanshu Painyuli

Director: Akarsh Khurana

Rating: 2.5/5

'Rocket' is just one adjective for Rashmi. The sprint queen is also a rights activist in her Gujarat village, where she pays wife-beaters back in their own coin. In the Rann of Kutch, she becomes the saviour of soldiers about to step on dramatically placed landmines.

If that's not impressive enough, Rashmi turns the advocate of all women whose wings are clipped by regressive laws and an unsupportive society.

In short, Rashmi Rocket signs up for a lot more races than she can actually participate in. Never mind the song-and-dance pressed into the package — director Akarsh Khurana wants a dab of everything from the palette.

But the movie has its heart in the right place. It raises a significant question as far as Indian athletics is concerned: Why not do away with the controversial gender test which does not determine the gender of an athlete but only gives the testosterone levels in blood?

Rashmi's (Taapsee Pannu) legal battle with the Indian athletics federation sure has references from the Dutee Chand episode. Here, there is more melodrama, with cops barging into a ladies' hostel to drag out a "man". Insensitive media rushes to report on "the nation's biggest fraud". Soon, an Asian Games champion is brought down from the victory stand and shamed publicly.

The ensuing courtroom exchanges are more thrilling (courtesy Abhishek Banerjee) than the awkwardly-executed 100-metre races and relays. Since when did our track and field events look so tacky? A film about India's fastest female athlete warranted more research.

A few bumps are ironed out by Taapsee's spirited performance. But a shoddy storytelling ensures that she doesn't quite reach the level playing field she is aspiring for. For a change, the woman has a solid cushion in her armyman partner (Priyanshu Painyuli), who can easily run for the husband-of-the-year trophy.