Rashmi Rocket is a ZEE5 sports drama movie about a resilient female athlete whose path to glory is hindered when she is subjected to a humiliating gender test.
The movie starts with two male cops entering a girls’ hostel and forcibly dragging Rashmi (Taapsee Pannu) out of her room to arrest her as they have a complaint that a man is living in the women’s hostel. Before that, one of them even mocks her and remarks that she is a con and even has a women’s voice.
Rashmi ran at an incredibly fast pace since childhood, her father was always encouraging of her tomboyish traits and her running. When she was participating in her school competition, she lost her father in the Bhuj earthquake. Her fleet and agility continue to improve but she decides to give up competing in sprinting events after the trauma of losing her father during a race.
While working as a tour guide to a troop of army men in her hometown, she saves an army man from a landmine. An army officer Gagan Thakur (Priyanshu Painyuli) notices her unusual speed and convinces her and her mother Bhanuben (Supriya Pathak), a strong-willed community woman to join competitive athletics. Her mother and her two brothers are supportive and encourage her.
Rashmi impresses the selectors and wins every important race in the country. She is selected for the national team based on her natural talent in spite of not being in training. Her rival is the selector’s daughter, Niharika Chopra, who taunts her about being manly. Niharka keeps taunting her like a typical school bully and conspires to put her down.
After Rashmi wins 3 medals in the Asian Games, the national selector, Niharikas’s father, is upset he orders the gender test of Rashmi, and a woman from the national sports establishment unfairly grounds her with a summon to be medically tested. Rashmi is subject to blood tests and sonography after embarrassing her by asking her to remove all her clothes.
She fails the hyperandrogenism test because she has minimally higher testosterone levels than the average woman. When she returns to her hostel, Niharika and her friends taunt her about being more of a man than a woman. Shocked and hurt, Rashmi gets angry and becomes involved in a brawl, and Niharika is slightly hurt.
Later someone complains about a boy being in a girls’ hostel and Rashmi is arrested the police slap her she is put in the male cell. What will happen to Rashmi now that she has failed the test?
Rashmi Rocket ending explained in detail:
What happens to Rashmi?
Rashmi is rescued by the army officer Gagan Thakur. The media comes to know about the gender test even before the test result is out and there is a tremendous uproar in the media.
The sports authority bans Rashmi for high testosterone levels. The media abuses Rashmi saying that she is not a woman and she is subjected to a lot of harassment.The support by Rashmi’s family and the people in her hometown wavers.
When the Advocate Ishit Mehta (Abhishek Banerjee) visits them, Rashmi’s mother tries to convince her to file a case against the sports authority as suggested by the advocate but Rashmi refuses and her mother asks her to leave the as her house does not have a place for cowards. Rashmi then leaves home and stays with Gagan.
Gagan supports her and suggests that they get married. They tie the knot in a small ceremony with his friends and family in attendance.
The court case
Gagan encourages Rashmi to continue practicing in the hope that the ban may be lifted one day. After listening to a TV coverage where Niharika speaks against her, Rashmi is convinced to file the case against the sports authority for unfair testing and ban, and the police for human rights violation.
Meanwhile, they find that Rashmi is 3 months pregnant. Rashmi and Gagan are thrilled and Rashmi patches up with her mother. Ishit is excited to use this information to help the case to lift the ban but Rashmi does not allow him to use this information saying that it is not only her case but the unfair gender testing should be stopped for all female athletes.
During the course of the case, it is revealed that it was Priyanka, Niharika’s friend, who called the police station on the instructions of Mr. Chopra to complain about ‘a boy’ living in the girls’ hostel. Mr. Chopra is asked to resign from his post at the sports authority his daughter Niharika also does not support him and distances herself from him.
The court orders that there should be an investigation against the police for violation of human rights and unfair arrest of Rashmi. Ishit wins the case for Rashmi and the ban against her is lifted. Her family and village rejoice. Rashmi runs in the race in spite of being pregnant and the film ends happily.
The movie is a commentary about the plight of several LGTBQIA+ athletes. Tests like the gender test are discriminatory and are prejudiced against athletes with atypical sex development.
Rashmi’s body type did not conform to the conventional female type, she is barred from the sport after being proclaimed ‘not a woman.’ Her achievements, medals, fame, gone as she’s accused of lying about her gender and competing in women’s games. Thus begins her battle against the sports authority for regaining her respect and to maintain her identity and return to the race of life.
Queer athletes are as much deserving of respect as and equal treatment. A change in laws and perspective as represented through this movie needs to come through.
The movie makes a strong case for ending gender testing in sports, a practice that has traumatized many women over the years, and also takes a stand in support of LGBTQIA+ athletes.
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