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Was Homi Bhabha killed in a CIA plot like Rocket Boys implies? Director Abhay Pannu talks about the conspiracy theory

Rocket Boys director Abhay Pannu spoke about the inclusion of a conspiracy theory angle in the show, and why he feels that the CIA could actually have had something to do with Homi Bhabha's death.

By: Entertainment Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: February 11, 2022 8:50:26 am
jim sarbh rocket boysJim Sarbh in a still from Rocket Boys. (Photo: SonyLIV)

Rocket Boys director Abhay Pannu spoke about the inclusion of a plot point in the show that can trace its origins to a conspiracy theory. Homi J Bhabha, played by Jim Sarbh in the SonyLIV series, died in a plane crash in 1966. The series implies that the CIA had a hand in his death.

In a chat with comedian Rohan Joshi, the director was asked why the conspiracy theory is so prominently played up in the show, as if it were fact. Pannu cited a book by former CIA operative Robert Crowley, in which he had ‘confessed’ that the conspiracy theory was, in fact, based in fact. He also admitted that several fictional characters had been created for dramatic effect, but said that it isn’t outlandish to assume that something fishy was going on because he’d read that the CIA and the KGB had infiltrated the PMO, and that the CIA had even funded some Indian magazines post-independence.

He said, “When I was doing my research, there was ample information about the fact that the CIA had stationed personnel on ground, in India, at the highest of offices. Also, in the 50s and 60s primarily, the CIA did start publication houses in India, that were bankrolled by the CIA, and were also passing off information. That’s where the Prosenjit Dey character comes from. All the characters that have been written in the show are inspired by something that I’ve read or something that we came across.”

He added, “I wouldn’t say that it’s completely fictional, and I wouldn’t say that it’s completely factual. Of course, we’ve dramatised it a little bit. Was Vishwesh Mathur so close to Homi Bhabha? Absolutely not. Was he even a real person? No, he wasn’t… I feel that if the PMO was infiltrated by the CIA or KGB, why couldn’t the board of the Atomic Energy Commission? These characters are based on real people, but they aren’t real people.”

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Read moreHomi does not live here anymore

Also starring Ishwak Singh as Vikram Sarabhai, Regina Cassandra as Mrinalini Sarabhai, Saba Azad as Parwana Irani, Rajit Kapur as Jawaharlal Nehru and Arjun Radhakrishna as APJ Abdul Kalam, the show debuted on SonyLIV on February 4. A second season, Pannu revealed, has been mostly shot.

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