Taapsee Pannu’s movie Rashmi Rocket reminds you of the controversies surrounded by Dutee Chand and Pinki Pramanik like runners. Dutee changed sports forever for the world. In 2014, when she was found to have a condition called hyperandrogenism—her body produces a larger amount of the androgen hormone testosterone than the average woman—she was barred from competing because the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the governing body for world athletics, had introduced a rule in 2011 which states that women who naturally produce testosterone at levels usually seen in men will be ineligible to compete as women.
Similarly, in 2012 a rape allegation by Pramanik’s female friend led to medical tests to determine her gender. Initial private tests claimed to show her to be male. Pramanik disagreed with these results and the police ordered a separate government-led test as part of the trial. The results at the SSKM Government Hospital were inconclusive. The Court then directed a chromosome pattern test. In November 2012, further medical tests were reported showing Pinki is a “male pseudo-hermaphrodite”. However, the medical report has revealed that Pramanik is incapable of having penetrative sex.
Athletes who had hyperandrogenism had two options: Quit sports, or undergo a medical intervention involving surgery and long-term hormone-replacement therapy to lower androgen levels. Chand took the third option. She decided to challenge the ruling at the Court of Arbitration of Sports (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and with the help of an international team of experts, got a ruling in 2015 that lifted this ban.
Whereas in response to allegations of rape and gender representation Pinki explained her problem in one media Interview that she is not male. She is always been female but looks more male because, as part of her training to compete in international athletics, she used to be regularly administered testosterone injections like other female participants. She was told that it was necessary to take these and she never questioned whether these were legal or not.
Pramanik had success with the national 4×400 meters relay team, winning silver at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, gold at the 2006 Asian Games, and gold at the 2005 Asian Indoor Games. She won three gold medals at the 2006 South Asian Games, winning the 400 and 800 m events, as well as the relay.
During her career, Pramanik underwent drug tests that involved the submission of urine samples to female officials.
Another athlete Dutee Chand, the first openly homosexual athlete from India, scripted history in 2019 when she became the first Indian to win a gold in a 100-meter event at the World Universiade in Naples. Coming from a small village in Odisha, Dutee Chand went on to hold the national record in the women’s 100 meters and is only the fifth Indian to participate in the women’s 100 meters at the Olympics when she qualified for the 2016 Rio Games.
However, controversy regarding her gender identity abruptly interrupted her dreams as she was dropped from the 2014 Commonwealth Games on the charge that she was ineligible to compete as a female athlete. In 2018, after the Supreme Court read down Section 377 and decriminalized homosexuality, Chand became the first Indian sportsperson to openly acknowledge being in a same-sex relationship.
Chand appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The Canadian law firm Davies, Ward, Philips & Vineberg, LLP represented her on a pro bono basis. The IAAF policy on hyperandrogenism, or high natural levels of testosterone in women, was suspended following the case of Dutee Chand v. Athletics Federation of India (AFI) & The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, decided in July 2015. The ruling found that there was a lack of evidence provided that testosterone increased female athletic performance and notified the IAAF that it had two years to provide the evidence. This effectively removed the suspension of Chand from the competition, clearing her from race again.
By this line of the message through this film, Rashmi Rocket is very clear… It started with Rashmi aka Taapsee who did a fantastic performance and was very convenient for the athlete through her journey she is actually focusing on the way she is everyone should be accepted… In the first half it’s very depressing or says very cruel to those athletes who really worked hard and still fighting for their rights… but more into the movie its amazing story which not only motivates but also plays an important direction to those who believes such discrimination by playing their cards to bullied the bright future of Indian sports association with due respect all sports.