Rockstar (2011)-Hindi Movie Review

Nov 13, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Rockstar is a 2011 Bollywood Hindi movie directed by Imtiaz Ali with Ranbir Kapoor, Nargis Fakhri in lead roles. Read the Hindi film review at Calcutta Tube.

Imtiaz Ali’s latest offering showcases a fiery Ranvir Kapoor as the new generation rockstar but while the movie starts strongly and is backed by a splendid Ranvir it drags too long and loses its spunk mid-way.

An incomplete ‘Rockstar’

The Background

The movie kicks off with a scene from the life of Jordan the rockstar who manages to escape a brawl and gets on a bus to finally reach the stage show. As he begins to sing the movie plummets through moments of his past and we come to face the simpleton Janardhan Jakhar (Ranbir Kapoor) who wishes to emulate Jim Morrison. But he isn’t the ideal material as he has no heartbreaks and thus Janardan begins the search for pain. His unusual journey brings him to Heer (Nargis Fakhri).

Moments of quirky romance follows as the two bond over the some of the most the corrupted elements of society. However not long after the enjoyable episode of ‘Jangli Jawani’ (soft porn) and ‘desi daru’ (country liquor), the girl is married off to some NRI.

All hell befalls on the boy and overnight he is thrown out of his house only to emerge years later as the novel singing sensation. What follows next is the story of love and loss for the protagonists as a Jordan tries to find solace in the hectic and somewhat unforgiving life of a celebrity and a torn man.

The story – 2/5

For most parts Imtiaz tries to tell a story of a love-struck boy who morphs into a singing sensation almost subtly by virtue of his pain. Yet he overlooks a very crucial element while creating the angry rockstar. It is true that pain strengthens the mettle of ordinary men and has the capacity of metamorphosing him into a tough nut but an artist’s vessel isn’t only composed of pain, it must also have space for the love for his work. Through most parts of the movie we see Jordan in pain and we see him complaining that how much he doesn’t want to remain in the hollow tinsel town of fame and yet not once does he praise the power of music that provides him with the opportunity of self-expression. Jordan is thus an incomplete rockstar just like the story itself.

I went to the theatre with the hope of seeing the role of music in the life of an ordinary man. I went with the thought of witnessing a legend in making but all I was offered was a remade dish of Devdas. The movie perhaps would have been more aptly title as a Rockstar’s Love Story because it talks more of JJ’s love life rather than the experience of rising to a position that bestows a man the power to enthral millions with his voice.

The story is also a tad overdrawn and though there are moments that move you in the end it’s not really enough to carry forward the legacy of cinematic expression of rock musicians that Rock On gave us.

The direction and technique – 3/5

Once again the cinematography works wonders for the eye. There are scenes that incite you with nothing but visual brilliance and while some actually mesmerise you to the spot. One scene of a fully clothed Ranvir in the bath tub with a flaming guitar and a water line obstructing that in his line of view will stay with you for many days to come.

Imtiaz’s treatment with sequencing is a tad experimental for Bollywood and it often jumps beautifully between spots on the timeline while synchronising the events lucidly. Sometimes however this can become a little confusing to follow and it has created a problem in the overall flow.

On the whole however barring the need for a vehement editing to shorten the excessive length the director has put up a strong front when it comes to visual story telling.

The acting – 3.5/5

There is one big reason to go watch Rockstar and that reason is living. He is none other than Ranvir Kapoor. It seems that this Kapoor has a bottomless pool of talent from which he keeps on pulling out more and more. For Rockstar, Ranvir is said to have worked very hard but you can’t see that on screen. On screen he is not an actor but a man who lives in the celluloid reality. If he shines astutely as the naïve Janardan then he fights, frets and chafes with a genuine misanthropic fury as Jordan. He holds the guitar not as an accessory but with the reverence it deserves and displays the various moods of the character with an effortless grace. Kudos to the actor he has evolved into and I hope he delivers such mindblowing charisma in years to come as well.

Nargis as Heer is pretty and lovely but at times unconvincing on her own. Yet whenever she is coupled with Ranvir she gels with him perfectly (wait till you see them kiss! It’s kind of too real to fake).

No complains about the rest of the cast but you will probably not be able to recollect anything about them after the movie as the entire space is taken up by the ‘Negative Rockstar’ and his muse.

The music – 4/5

You can’t put A.R. Rehman with a musical movie and not expect something special. Yes if Ranvir is the crown then Rehman is the gem of Rockstar. He entwines hard melody with sufi undertones to create such convoluted feelings of reverent pathos and powerful joy that you cannot help but be deaf to all else in the world around you.

Ya if Rockstar is worth watching then it is because we have ears to go with the eyes. The tracks have already aroused a lot of buzz and the music that comes with it is an apt garnishing for the entire mellifluous offering.

Thumbs up Mr. Rehman, you rock!

So can this Rockstar rock your world?

The duo of Ranvir and Rehman sure can and they do so with a lot of attitude (and a certain middle finger showing by Ranvir!).

If however you are tired of having old wine in new bottles or if you are not a big fan of the above mentioned stalwarts then you can give Rockstar a skip.

Arnab Chakraborty/IBNS

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