SonyLIV’s ‘Rocket Boys’ is an Indian TV show that follows the inspiring saga of two of India’s most prominent scientists — Homi J. Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai. The show depicts the trajectory of India’s first nuclear and space research programs, exploring the true story behind Bhabha and Vikram’s efforts to change the course of India’s scientific realm.
Along with their lives, the series centers around several other characters who play a pivotal part in the two scientists’ lives and India’s past, including K.C. Shankar’s Vishwesh Mathur. As the character succeeds in astounding the viewers, one must be wondering whether Mathur is based on a real scientist. Let’s find out! SPOILERS AHEAD.
Is Vishwesh Mathur Based on a Real Scientist?
No, Vishwesh Mathur is seemingly not based on a real scientist. Even though the show portrays an incredible true story, several fictional characters and storylines were conceived and incorporated into the real-life chronicle of Bhabha and Sarabhai for dramatic purposes; Vishwesh Mathur is apparently one of them. The character, which plays a significant part in the narrative as the show progresses, doesn’t have a real-life counterpart. Mathur is most probably conceived upon the theory of the CIA’s alleged involvement in Homi Bhabha’s ambiguous death.
When Air-India’s Boeing 707 crashed into Mont Blanc in the Swiss Alps on January 24, 1966, killing Bhabha and other passengers, ambiguity around the death started to surface. The possibility of the CIA’s involvement started to be considered when former CIA operative Robert Crowley claimed that the Agency is responsible for assassinating Bhabha in an interview with journalist Gregory Douglas, which later became the book ‘Conversations with the Crow.’
While the involvement stands not outrightly proven, it is a major part of the show’s narrative. Mathur’s character might be created to explore this possibility in the narrative. In the show, Mathur joins hands with Prosenjit Dey, a CIA spy, to bring down Bhabha to become the Chairman of the Trombay Nuclear Research Center (which is now known as Bhabha Atomic Research Center). He passes Nehru’s official sanction to build the atom bomb to Dey for the CIA.
As the CIA sanctions the assassination, Dey approaches Mathur to kill Bhabha, promising that the whole affair will look like an accident. When Bhabha chooses fellow scientist Raza Mehdi to be his successor to lead India’s atomic mission after him, Mathur decides to lead the CIA’s operation to annihilate Bhabha and his vision by killing him as an act of vengeance for preferring Raza over him. While the mystery behind the CIA’s involvement in Bhabha’s death remains to be solved, Mathur’s character does shed some light on a highly probable scenario.
K.C. Shankar’s brilliant portrayal of the character also increases the dramatic effect of the show, paving the way for the narrative to continue in the potential second season. Mathur also symbolizes the selfishness and ambition to gain power and authority, irrespective of the nefarious pathways to do so. Mathur is an incredibly conceived character whose gradual development in the narrative of the show is a treat to watch.