Sunday, November 20, 2011

Movie Review: Rockstar (Hindi)

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Rockstar, directed by Imtiaz Ali is a movie I have been waiting to watch ever since I heard it was being made. I have a lot of respect for Imtiaz Ali. He belongs to the younger generation of intelligent and talented directors who are steering Hindi cinema in a new direction. I have loved his previous movies especially Jab We Met. Even though he is known for his 'old-wine-in-new-bottle' brand of cinema, he has the uncanny knack of giving a refreshing twist to any love story. Love stories are his forte and even with a movie titled 'Rockstar' it is evident that he can't stay away from the subject. From the title you might think its a movie is about the rise of an underdog to become a rockstar, but basically, it is a love story with a few rockstar elements thrown in for good measure!

Rockstar is the story of Janardhan Jakkar, a young, guitar strumming college student from the small town of Pitampura who dreams of being a rockstar. He realizes that in order to be a great song writer, he needs to have experienced life-altering pain and tragedy (as is the case with most rockstars). He sets off trying to get his heart broken in order to come closer to his goal and in the process strikes a friendship with college beauty queen Heer. At first she comes across as being prim and proper but it is gradually revealed that she has a secret wild side. Together, as partners in crime the duo share many crazy escapades but eventually go on their separate paths. However, fate brings them together again and as they reignite a latent romance, there starts to emerge an internal struggle to be together despite the heavy baggage that weighs them down. The clandestine passion between the two is smoldering. While Janardhan aka 'Jordan' is trapped in this own web of success, Heer is trapped in a marriage that was never meant to be. Jordan is the main protagonist and his journey from being a nobody to a rockstar peppered with minor trials and tribulations is interesting. However, the reason for his angst is irrational and unjustified. So many instances in the movie make you scratch your head and go....'why'??? You have this revolutionary solo artist who despite having achieved his goals, experiences bouts of extreme frustration that he cannot be with the girl he loves. He doesn't care about the fame or money that he had so desperately desired, is badly behaved, repeatedly screws up his recording contracts, drives his manager nuts, attacks the paparazzi and frequently gets into trouble with the law but at the same time does not conform to the rockstar stereotype with an addiction to  alcohol, cigarettes, drugs or women. In the West, badly behaved celebrities garner much publicity and their wild antics are easily forgotten but it seems a bit hard to believe that the same concept would work in India. India does not have Rockstars, it never has, so the idea of a 'desi' Jim Morrison is a bit difficult to imagine. So in my opinion, if you are looking for realism, this is not the movie for you (I suggest you watch Rock on!! instead). The first half of the movie is funny and entertaining but mid-way the plot begins to meander and as it nears the end, the movie becomes boring, uninspired and somewhat confusing. In general, the storyline is weak as the narrative lacks substance but the quirky dialogues, good performances and soulful music help elevate the movie.

Ranbir pitches in a good performance as Jordan. I was impressed with him in Wake Up Sid and Rocket Singh and with Rockstar, he proves that he is a force to reckon with. Although he hails from one of the most famous Bollywood families, I believe that he has the talent to cement his place in the film industry.  This particular role calls for a metamorphosis from a naive college student to a neurotic Rockstar which requires him to display a wide range of emotions and he manages to pull it off quite admirably. Nargis Fahkri as Heer is just about okay. She has crackling chemistry with Ranbir, lovely locks and an enviable  complexion but that is just about it. She has a long way to go before she can be considered an actress. Her facial expressions, mannerisms and dialogue delivery are forced and in parts she just looks awkward. For most of the movie, she looks like a model mouthing some rehearsed lines. I know that since this is her first movie, I should cut her some slack but my only question (to Imtiaz Ali) is, why get imported products when surely there are better local picks? In my mind, there should be some justification for giving her such a meaty role. Did this role land in her kitty solely because she can easily pass of as a Kashmiri?! It has hardly been a week since I watched the movie and I've kinda forgotten what she looks like! I can only remember her trademark full lips and sorry.....even in the case of Angelina Jolie, I find that very odd! The supporting cast is good especially the canteen owner who later takes over as Ranbir's manager. Shammi Kapoor in his last cameo appearance is endearing.

The cinematography is impressive. From the buzzing vibrancy of Delhi to the exotic beauty of Kashmir to the quiet charm of Prague, the locales have been captured beautifully. The musical score by A.R Rahman is fantastic. That he is a genius is common knowledge. The songs are catchy, apt and come in at the right time in the movie. They stay with you for a long time after watching the movie....the signature feature of a musical maestro. 

Rockstar is a one-time watch. If you are a die-hard fan of Ranbir or Rahman, you might be tempted to watch it again!

My rating for this movie is 3 out of 5 stars


  1. i wil post my rating if i ever watch the movie...!

  2. most of the movies are prdctble....
    this is an epic love story. the way the story unfolds was awsum.but ppl dnt say its a waste of money and time.this is a very good movie.miss it at ur own risk

  3. Nice review, after seeing it can totally relate to this post!! However Nargis Fahkri was down right horrible when it came to acting!

  4. Couldn't agree with you more on on the movie. Rockstar is so disconnected, not only in the plot but also from reality. There's no semblance or rhyme or logic. It's neither revolutionary nor path-breaking.
    The Rockstars of the Pyschedellic era had streak of madness in them. But there was a method in that madness. With Jordan, there's nothing of that "quality".

    And to be quite frank, I find their "love story" absolutely stupid. How could Imtiaz Ali go so wrong with a love story after churning out something like Jab We Met?

    Nargis Fahkri was more of an eye-sore than an eye-candy for the simple reason that she can't act for the love of God!

    Yes, I would pick Rock On over Rockstar any given Sunday!


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