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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rockstar - WOW !

**Spoilers ahead**

Mujhpe karam sarkar tera
Arz tujhe, kar de mujhe
Mujhse hi riha.
Ab mujhko bhi ho deedar mera
Karde mujhe mujhse hi riha
Mujhse hi riha.

Thrown out of his house by his brothers, Ranbir takes shelter at a Mosque and blurts out these words mentioned above. He is struggling with many demons here, few inside of him and few others outside. But none bigger than his love.

Imtiaz Ali has mastered the art of showing emotional conflicts of separated lovers. May be, he has a patent of such sorta movies.  But, he excels every time he attempts it. He must have slipped in terms of totality in ‘Love Aaj Kal‘ but ’Socha Na Tha’ and to large extents ’Jab We Met’ were well made movies. Major share of accolades deservingly went to Imtiaz. He uses the same pattern of story in Rockstar albeit this time with a musical theme.

Ranbir Kapoor is like just another common guy living in Delhi. He aspires to become a big music sensation one day but just fails to take it to the next level from being a random guy singing to his friends in his free time. He is constantly encouraged by Kumud Mishra , the college canteen guy to follow his dream and to try and pursue his musical aspirations.  Mishra suggests that greatest artists have always had a pain to fuel their creative inner selves that turns them into the great artists.

So, to turn into a musician driven by his pain, Ranbir ‘tries’ to get his heart broken by sheepishly confessing his fake love to the beautiful Nargis Fakhri. She expectedly despises him for doing this. Ranbir’s attempt doesn’t succeed in making him a failed lover as it was all based on fake feeling anyways. But, in a turn of events, Nargis befriends Ranbir and they become good friends in no time. Nargis’s wedding is only a month away and they both set out to fulfill her “wish list” that she won’t dare to think of, after getting married.  Meanwhile, they get close to each other emotionally and unknowingly fall in love only to be shattered and longing for each other after her wedding. She moves to Prague with her husband and loses contact with Ranbir.

He returns to his home after the wedding but unfortunate turn of events lead him to a fight with his family. He then has to depart from there and take shelter at a Dargah. He then tries to rediscover himself and later with the help of Kumud Mishra, Ranbir embarks on his musical career. But, being the simple person he is, he feels smothered in the world driven by music labels.

A journalist, Aditi Rao trying to make a story out of Ranbir’s life inadvertently tells him about an opportunity to visit Prague through his music label and he grabs the chance at the first sight of it. He appears infront of Nargis with no notice and they then begin the second chapter of their ‘relationship’. With the realization that they are going on a path that is ethically inappropriate, they continue to defy their guilt and spend time together. But, Nargis pulls the curtain down by deciding that she can’t go any further with Ranbir on this. This makes a deeper wound in Ranbir and he gets into a web of disappointment and depression.

Tum logon ki iss duniya mein,
har kadam pe insaan galat.
Main sahi samjh ke jo bhi karoon tum kehte ho galat.
Main galat hoon toh phir kaun sahi. 
Marzi se jeene ki bhi main  
kya tum sab ko arzi doon ?
Matlab ki tum sabka mujhe pe mujhse bhi zyada haqq hai!!

The external factors start causing problems to Ranbir and he in turn gets into a self destruction mode that threatens to finish his career before he could make a real mark for himself. Kumud Mishra tries his best to make him realise all this but Ranbir fails to see why he does things that are destroying him slowly.

Nargis gets diagnosed with a serious medical condition and comes back to her parents in India. Situations force Ranbir and Nargis to be face-to-face again and this starts the final chapter of their love saga. But, things like always, do not go smoothly and we see how the Ranbir battles with these problems.

Kaagare, kaagare ,
More itni araj tose,
Chun chun khaayio maas.
Re jiya re, Khayyo naa tu naina more,
Khayyo naa tu naina more,
Hai piya ke Milan ki aas.

For me, there are 5 true rockstars in this movie : Ranbir, Imtiaz , Rahman, Irshad Kamil and Mohit Chauhan.  Rahman’s music had already created hysteria before the movie released. But, Imtiaz takes it a notch higher with brilliant picturisation. The music haunts the viewer and aided by mystical voice of Mohit and brilliant lyrics by Irshad, it turns out be an out of the world experience.

Ranbir is on cheat-mode in this movie. Simply surreal. Whatta brilliant actor!! This one should be among his best performances and is almost as good as the one in Rocket Singh. K.Jo should now stop asking his guests from next season the question about who among Ranbir and Imran has a better future, if it wasn't obvious so far!! Just chuck it K.Jo.

Imtiaz continues his fine run and displays mastery over his act here. He opts for a twisted screenplay and non-linear narration that simply take the movie from good to the next level. His unconventional approach in narrating a love story stands out and offers freshness in its style. The characters(apart from a few) are very well written and Imtiaz doesn’t get into creating too many sub plots that could have undue diversion of attention.

The only problems I see with this movie are with the casting of Nargis and weak character played by Aditi Rao. The beautiful Nargis Fakhri tries hard but fails miserably as an actor. Imtiaz must have gone for charm over talent for her role but I don’t think that choice is totally justified. For me, things would have worked better if he had just swapped roles between Nargis and Aditi Rao!

I don't really care much about the 'Free Tibet' image blurring controversy. Imtiaz had to agree to it as it would have been a huge risk taking on the Censor board few days before the release.Everything works from a monetary angle these days and it would be stupid to claim that director used this as a gimmick or chickened out under pressure. If someone has to be blamed for this then it has to be our esteemed censor board that does inane stuff like this.

This movie may not be a master piece but is still one of the better movies delivered by our revered hindi movie industry. We may cause more harm to ourselves if we fail to appreciate the beauty of this movie. It is not an everyday thing for such a well made hindi movie excelling in almost all departments to be presented to the audience in this country.If we fail to see the good points here then maybe we deserve crap like Ready, Bodyguard and Double Dhamaal.

Jo bhi main kehna chahoon,
barbaad kare alfaz mere!


  1. Quite agree with the review. Loved the movie. I thought there was one loose end on how the first scene started, the viewers would have expected it to somehow tie in with the overall narration. An angry Ranbir, fighting off 4 guys and making a run for the concert. In the end of the movie, Imtiaz tries to tie it up by showing ranbir sitting n playing cards with the 4 guys (or sharing a drink was it? damn! So much for my memory :( ). Maybe Imtiaz is a step away from being perfectionist, but he is on the right track :)

  2. Ya, the sequence was something like that. It was more to show how disturbed he was than to emphasize on what actually was doing. At least, I thought so. And you are right about Imtiaz being on the right track. No one is a perfectionist but its comforting to know there are people thriving on that path.

  3. For the what I know of rockstar's and movies that capsulate their lives. I believe this movie is well thought of and articulated to the degree that I think at times seemed overdone for short spells of time. But to better relate, this movie seemed unconventional in the way it unfolds and yes, a simply four letter word ' love' does spell out differently for each one. Which I give kudos to the protagonist , ranbir who portrayed it well. As for the oscars, i wouldn't set high expectations except for the music which I think truly deserves a place amongst the best. Overall, definitely recommendable. I think your snippet of what this movie strives for is a must read for movie goers. good job!

  4. Rephrase the first line. For what I know of rockstars and movies that capsulate their lives.

  5. Firstly, well written review! Making a movie which encapsulates a rockstar's life in India is itself a big gamble and hats off to Imtiaz Ali for having the balls to do it. It would have been much safer for him to do a Jab we met - 2. We have seen such gambles being paid off earlier too with movies like Rock On, but its a challenge nevertheless.
    Imtiaz has made significant efforts to Indianize this movie as he knows that you cant make a movie based on say a Kurt Cobain's life and his lady "LOVE" Courtney :-) which would probably be too ahead of time for the Indian audience. On a commercial level, Imtiaz fails trying to strike this balance. This is not an end product that would be loved by the masses as it lacks the "extra masala". And for the elite audience, this movie (particularly the flow of it) is too tampered to be qualifying as a "good" movie.
    The highlights of the movie for me are Ranbir Kapoor and A R Rehman's music. This is not a perfectionist's movie and even Imtiaz would know it. Lessons to be learnt from this for sure and any good director will take criticism in his stride and learn from it. Looking forward to better movies from such good directors in the future!

  6. @Joan - I felt that every 'overdone' bit was to give that dramatic feel to the proceedings as making it too real would have taken away from the 'superstar' theme. But, those moments were played out well and the director pulled the strings when needed.

    About Oscars, not all Indian movies get nominated. Only 1 in the foreign movie category. I'm sure you wanted to say the 'Indian awards'. :-)

  7. @Karthik - What is commercial cinema ? Who sets the rules ? What makes a movie work with both elite and non-elite audience ?

    None of these questions have the right answer. Every filmmaker wants to convey this thought efficiently and every producer/studio wants to make profit on their investment.As an end result, we have good movies and bad movies.

    This movie is far from being perfect. Not many movies are. I try to appreciate the movie based on "what it is" than "what it could have been".

    But yes, Imtiaz is an intelligent film maker and he for sure will work on his mistakes and will deliver a movie with fewer flaws than this one.


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