Nikhat Kazmi, TNN, Nov 10, 2011, 09.30PM IST Times of India
Critic's Rating: **** 4 Stars
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Nargis Fakhri, Shammi Kapoor, Aditi Rao Hydari
Direction: Imtiaz Ali
Duration: 2 hours 25 minutes
Avg Readers Rating:
Story: Janardhan Jakhar (Ranbir Kapoor), a downtown boy in Delhi, gets into Delhi University
, whiles away his time gobbling samosas in The Hindu College canteen.
And nurtures dreams of becoming another Jim Morrison
. But before he can evolve on his creative journey and metamorphose into Jordan
, the rockstar, he must experience life-altering love, heartbreak, self-discovery. The tumultuous voyage of the bohemian Haryanvi, Janardhan Jakhar to Jordan, the anguished artist...
Movie Review: Leave it to Imtiaz Ali to take a love
story and present it in a manner that's completely different from run-of-the-mill Bollywood. Romance, under his creative vision, becomes a multi-layered, sensitively nuanced, monumental experience which has more to do with serenading your soulmate rather than a stereotypical marriage partner. With intelligent entertainers like Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal and now Rockstar, he is evolving as a new age Yash Chopra. Love literally smoulders under his narrative, albeit in a completely modern idiom.
The highpoint of Rockstar
is it's high tension, high-on-passion romance between two unlikely people: the completely low brow JJ who doesn't like his girls nice and clean and Heer (Nargis Fakhri), the uptown Stephenian who is all set to get married and settle down to sweet domesticity like all sweet girls do. Their relationship begins when both of them display a yen for the wicked and wild side of life and ignite the bohemian lifestyle by watching a show of Junglee Jawani in a seedy Delhi theatre. Before she gets nice and clean, Heer wants to play real dirty and JJ is more than willing to play the rule-breaker rogue with her. Great bonding, which gets even greater when the two realise it's time to kiss... It is a love that transcends all social barriers, decimates all conventions and ends with a spiritual promise to meet in the field that exists beyond the concept of right and wrong (Rumi).
The fact that this romance unfolds on screen in the form of an explosive musical, capturing JJ's transmutation into Jordan, the edgy artist, makes the film an absolutely engaging affair. The vocals by Mohit Chauhan, the lyrics by Irshad Kamil and the music by AR Rahman are stuff classics are made of. Of course, Sadda Haq is the youth anthem by now, but there are so many beautiful tracks in the film, you get heady and stirred. Ranbir Kapoor
displays an amazing growth chart as a performer as he gradually changes from a two-sizes-too-tight jean-clad upstart to a musical genius seared by a love that threatens to scorch his very soul. Nargis Fakhri
too stands tall as the delectable Heer who sizzles on screen with her unconventional ways. But eventually, the film is a milestone in Ranbir Kapoor's career as an actor and a classic cut from the AR Rahman and Mohit Chauhan combo. Shammi Kapoor's presence as the classical artist enhances the gravitas of the film.
Savour a beautiful experience. Watch Rockstar and wait for Imtiaz Ali's next from his compendium of love.
Raja Sen writes Rockstar is a simple, unspectacular tale, sometimes even predictable, but director Imtiaz Ali [ Images ] masterfully weaves in details that draw us in.
When The Doors had their first ever professional photographs taken, to go with their incendiary 1967 debut, frontman James Douglas Morrison consciously chose to leave the smiling out of it. The others occasionally smirked affably enough but Morrison, yearning to showcase his searing intensity as a poet ("a word man, better than a bird man") stared solemnly into the lens, and thus at all us onlookers, his piercing gaze shoving us toward attention.
Janardan Jakhar, a Delhi [ Images ] collegian enshrining Jim on his wall, stares back at the posters, his reverence surpassed by bewilderment. How to get it, he wonders, when told he doesn't have what it takes to rock. He works at it, occasionally misguidedly, finds his own trajectory, and in his quest to emulate Morrison, becomes a massively loved, hysteria-inducing performer who never smiles.
For the cameras, that is. Jim's best photographs are ones shot later, where the mask is off and the grin is wide, loving, Cheshire. The juvenile brooding of apparent depth is replaced by candour, by a real person sometimes having a good time. The finest thing about Imtiaz Ali's Rockstar is that it gives us both, the misguided scowling and the cheeky boyish smiles, and strikes a balance solid enough to make us believe in his flawed but phenomenal protagonist.
Played by Ranbir Kapoor [ Images ], Jakhar starts out amusingly wrong. Told that great art is born out of pain, he chides his comfortable upbringing and berates himself for never having been in an accident or for having a set of legitimate, alive parents. He hits on a devastatingly pretty Kashmiri girl from Stephens in an attempt to get his heart shattered, but when shot down, his desolate act dissolves when distracted by a passing samosa in the college canteen. He succumbs to the savoury and looks sheepishly on as his talcumnecked mentor, played wonderfully by Kumud Mishra, tells him to go find real hurt.
He does so obediently enough, but JJ, a warmly irresistible hero who mistakes bugger for burger, also seeks out much heart. He befriends the striking Kashmiran -- telling her how he slaps alcohol onto his face like cologne and pretends to act sloshed and then gulping submissively when she orders him to drink for real -- completely besotted by the unlikely firebrand. Meanwhile, at home he stays away from the family business, and while that is reason enough to be ostracized in most Bollywood films, here the familial fuse erupts when Jakhar lashes out at an overtly affectionate young Bhabhi for being all touchy-feely.
There is much to admire as the film leaps dispense with linearity, starting with a concert in Rome and then flashing back and forth to fill in the backstory of Jordan -- christened thus by his luscious ladylove. It is a simple, unspectacular tale, sometimes even predictable, but Ali masterfully weaves in details that draw us in while his leading man basks magnificently in the glow of a bespoke script.
Ranbir shines through the film, be it on stage tossing his tonsils into the microphone looking like a slightly oriental Frank Zappa in a Sgt Pepper's jacket, discussing the terms of a kiss in a Czech field, or at a formal dinner dressed in upholstery. It is a performance that breathes life into the character, making us care about his JJ more than the story deserves. He wraps his mouth around Mohit Chauhan's [ Images ] voice with desperate fervour, flinging out the words as if they were his own. And here again we see a love of nuance. His fingers close concentratedly into mudras as he sits in a recording booth trying to strike the right pitch, and while his guitarwork is unimpressive and often anachronistic to the music, his electric wriggling on stage makes up for it. Once, while in a meeting with a massaged music mogul, he breaks into a guffaw that, in itself, is worth the film.
It's remarkable how much narrative detail Ali leaves to the asides, to margin notes not underscored and overwhelmed by AR Rahman's [ Images ] grand, lovely soundtrack. That a character's marriage is less than ideal is made clear through little revelations, that she has a therapist, and sleeps in a separate bedroom. Neither exposition is lingered on, and the impact is dramatic.
Equally dramatic are the visuals. Not just the gorgeousness of Prague or the motorbike jaunts through snow-capped hills, but the texture visible in the throwaways: Jordan playing guitar at a Mata-ki-chowki isn't new; Shiv looming overhead looking like a giant blue Rakhee Gulzar [ Images ], however, is. With this film Imtiaz often makes the ordinary interesting. It's an assured film that believes in restraint. Drug use, for example, is apparent -- Jordan offers his girl a hit of a joint in a longshot, and is clearly sky-high during an indulgent on-stage rant about uprooted birds -- but not highlighted.
The rock could have used more attention, however. We don't once get into what defines Jordan's music, his creative genesis, his lyrical musing. The film chooses instead to focus on overflowing stadia and albums flying off shelves. For a film called Rockstar, the closest we get is a hero who occasionally slaps photographers. Then again, it is a film about wanting fame, about a easily misled wannabe who misattributes a middle-finger gesture to his idol, about needless defiance and the hollow but burning desire to drive fans crazy. The music is terrific but incidental, but for a kid who doesn't finger a guitar fluently enough, this is a hero with pluck.
In Nargis [ Images ] Fakhri, Imtiaz has an exotically ravishing heroine, one so pretty we forgive her occasionally stilted diction. She is a girl to stare at, and we, knowing her Heer merely as the object of Jordan's love, gladly believe in his intoxication. The ensemble is fine, especially the actor playing Kapoor's slap-happy elder brother, with minor niggles (Shernaz Patel laying it on regrettably thick) and a lovely cameo from a legend to make us all smile. We often refer to the late Shammi Kapoor [ Images ] as a rockstar, and his appearance here serves to remind us that the word isn't about guitars as much as it is about grace.
This is the story of a boy goaded onto glory. He's nave, frequently clueless, and hardly ever has the answers. Bad boy image be damned, this is a man-child living in a bubble of denial, who gradually starts seeing his own life in extreme close-up and ultraslowmotion: in music-video images. For a dreamer, life outside the forcefield -- even one created fleetingly by love and a bedsheet -- can never be perfect.
Mayank Shekhar's review: Rockstar
Ranbir, truly the rockstar!
Director: Imtiaz Ali
Actors: Ranbir Kapoor, Nargis Fakri
"Look at the great artistes, you'll realise there's one thing that's common to all of them: pain." Frustration, hurt, angst, struggles of all sorts may have produced deranged humans; they've also brought to the world, genius in expression, art of all kinds. It's a fair point; the one making it in this movie is someone called Khataraji. Intellect is best earned from the street. Khataraji is a college canteen manager, pot-bellied, mustachioed, wearing a thick hand-knitted sweater and talcum powder over his sweaty neck: basically, he looks like your average, lower middle-class, middle-aged Delhi male.
Khataraji takes a shine on one Janardhan Jakhar (Ranbir Kapoor), a talented musician. Having taken Khatara bhai's sermons on art and pain a bit too seriously; lost, confused, mildly stupid, vaguely asexual Janardhan (JJ, in short, Jordan later) goes around looking to get frustrated!
He finds a gorgeous girl dancing at her college auditorium. She is, as the boys describe, a dil todne ki
machine (surefire heartbreaker)." He pretends to fall for this upper-class Kashmiri girl (Nargis Fakhri), approaches her while she's with friends; goes, "Tu hote lagti hai,
(you're hot, cool)' I louv you, crazy for u baeby." She asks him to bugger off, of course. Burger off, is what he hears. She's from the supposedly posh St Stephen's in Delhi. They were at the caf. He goes back to his canteen, 'across the road' (Hindu College, relatively down-market. Okay Hinduites, I never said that. The film implies it!)
These two could never be a couple. Oddly, they do make for great friends. There's a rebellious streak in this rich, protected, pretty girl. Though she's about to get married. She finds in the rustic boy a mate who can accompany her to things that constitute "gandh machana (literally, stinking up)": something that no Delhi girl should ideally attempt, like getting into a show of a laugh-po*n Janglee Jawani in a shaggy, shabby theatre called Amar Talkies in Chandni Chowk, or thereabouts.
The girl gets married, moves on. The boy finds enough frustration in his life to produce expressive art, make finely layered music, is spotted by a shehnai ustad (Shammi Kapoor, in his final role, as Bismillah Khan). Janardhan is by now the incredibly famous (or infamous) Jordan, who packs stadiums, sells concert tickets, CDs, T-shirts, women faint at his appearance, paparazzi stalks him everywhere. A rock star? Hmmm.
A problem with Rock On (2008), for instance, though doubtlessly an entertaining film, was the music quartet there wasn't really a rock band. Severely low on rage against the machine, in their life, and with their music, they were at best a believable pop group. The hero here expresses that reckless, devil-may-care attitude better. The middle finger's firmly in place, and pointed everywhere. To be fair still, there are no rock stars in India. It becomes a problem then to place this guy.
Film actors dancing, lip-syncing to playback music on television take over all sacred spaces of showbiz fame in this country. Everyone will remember Ranbir Kapoor in this movie. Some will know Mohit Chauhan, the brilliant voice, behind his character. As Bollywood hero though, Ranbir, for a change, deserves all the national attention. We haven't quite come across a full-on Hindi film-star since Aamir Khan (26 years ago), Hrithik Roshan (11 years ago), who's this competent, dedicated and original an actor. This movie rightly belongs to him. It neatly attempts to capture extreme fame, and its pitfalls: hungry crowds outside, hollowness and mental turmoil within. It could be seen as an Indian movie star's story as well. The giddy fans they attract are about the same as rock-stars do in the West.
The hero goes back to his girl. If you've known someone long enough as a friend, it's probably best to let them remain just that. It may be a terrible idea in life to make out with your best buddy, if you've been platonic throughout, and especially, if they're married now! It's still decent enough conflict for a romantic film. This one flits between the study of fame, and a feminine, old-world Romeo And Juliet kind of romance of eternal love, right down to the balcony scene. The heroine is called Heer, obviously from the popular Punjabi tragic folktale Heer Ranjha. As it is with so many heroes' journeys, important side-characters are unfortunately trashed to the bin: the leading man's family's made irrelevant, so is the girl's husband.
The canvas is wide like early Sanjay Leela Bhansali's; bird's eye view of the stunning bridge is very Mani Ratnam; witty, earthy dialogues are so Vishal Bhardwaj. Director Imitiaz Ali (Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal) manages to retain a personal, auteur's touch in a genre vastly commercial, mainstream. This is a rare feat.
From its start, to the way it progresses, you can tell, the film's been through various stages of editing and several second thoughts. Sometimes the patchiness shows. It's a stretch. Anything that's 18 reels long (close to three hours) in a flickering world of low attention spans would be. Something fizzles out towards the end. You still don't begrudge a movie that's been this engaging, entertaining thus far.
Oh, and did I forget. This is the best soundtrack of AR Rahman's since Delhi 6 (early 2009). The compositions should grow on you. So should this film, surely.
Review: Rockstar is flawed, but fabulous
Last updated on: November 11, 2011 18:32 IST
Rockstar is essentially a love story between two very curious individuals, writes Sukanya Verma.
'Yeh bada jaanwar hai. Yeh chhote pinjre mein nahi samayega.'
Indeed, Ranbir Kapoor [ Images ] is not an everyday occurrence. He's proved himself to be more than a portfolio and a surname with his absolutely marvelous ability to connect with the audience in a brand new skin each and every time. And that he's accomplished this in merely four years and 9 films is no mean feat. Therefore, even though, the above-mentioned prediction, coming in the astute words of Shammi Kapoor [ Images ], is meant for the unruly, untamed genius of Janardhan Jakhar aka Jordan, it holds true for his grand nephew as well. Our lad is meant for epic things.Imtiaz Ali's [ Images ] Rockstar gives us a fair glimpse of that and more in a film that rides and roars on the strength of its leading man and composer A R Rahman [ Images ], the twain dominate its every breathing, beautifully-lit frame (courtesy Anil Mehta's cinematography). As the behind-the-scenes Jordan, Rahman's contribution to this visual, vivacious, volatile treat is invaluable; the maestro conveys a myriad of moods, ranging from amorous to divine to ferocious to quixotic to melancholic, reflecting the erratic emotional graph of Ranbir's character.For all those who expect it to be a contrived rags-to-riches story of how a gifted artist attains giddy heights of adulation, sells his soul to sex and drugs only to walk the path of destruction, delusion and redemption, all I can say is, get over Madhur Bhandarkar [ Images ]! Even though it's been projected as a tell-all tale of how a rebellious musician came into being, Rockstar is essentially a love story between two very curious individuals with an insuppressible connection and predilection for audacious to-do-lists.In the tradition of Korean romances, the story is steeped in demure, picture perfect passions and unforeseen tragedy with Imtiaz-flavoured interjections every now and then. (As an interesting co-incidence, the filmmaker's next project is an official remake of a South Korean flick, My Girlfriend is an Agent.)From an oafish North Delhi [ Images ] boy, sporting what looks like Big B's [ Images ] hand-me-down sweaters from Trishul, fishing for heartbreak at his mentor's suggestion in order to acquire a cool image like his idol Jim Morrison to an unshaven, troubled, defiant, long-haired music sensation with a peculiar, rustic wardrobe, the making of Janardhan Jakhar to Jordan is an offshoot of his fickle equation with the woman he loves.Imtiaz chooses to keep it strictly about Jordan and his disastrous coming-of-age, blurring every other character or event in his life that doesn't take the story forward. The disjointed narrative cuts back and forth between flashbacks to present, across various locations -- Delhi, Kashmir [ Images ], Prague and Rome -- in a perennial state of winter, to sketch a deliberately haphazard picture of its wounded hero.Things aren't always so bleak. As a matter of fact, a major chunk of Rockstar is brimming with a wit and chutzpah that is characteristic of Imtiaz's street-smart, local-flavoured humor.
Among its many laugh out loud moments, is one where Ranbir walks into the college canteen with mock sadness written all over his face. He believes he's successfully achieved Mission Heartache following an altercation with the campus hottie, Heer (Nargis [ Images ] Fakhri). And what are the first words to come out of the despairing fella? 'Itni si chutney mein do samosa khaon mein?'Like most Imtiaz heroines, Heer is a closet drifter who wants to engage in every conceivable wild activity from desi po*n to desi daru (country liquor) before she heads for a decidedly conservative lifestyle in Prague. Newcomer Nargis Fakhri ,who plays her, is a breathtaking beauty with a fair amount of screen presence. And even though her voice is dubbed by a grating someone else and her reaction while watching Jungli Jawani is akin to a school kid enjoying the circus, Nargis exudes a muted confidence and vanilla quality that is reminiscent of an earlier Katrina Kaif [ Images ].The youngster shares an explosive chemistry with her co-star, which makes the impulses of their characters, however morally questionable, easy to believe and accept. Kudos to Imtiaz for handling the intimacy and rush of their most sexual urges with elegance and sensitivity. Together with Nargis, Ranbir pays Shammi Kapoor (making his final movie appearance) a beautiful tribute that celebrates the verve of the late legend and the dramatic scenery of Kashmir (Mehta's spectacular, snow-clad aerial shots of the lost paradise are alone worth the price of admission). The Yahoo star has not more than five scenes but every time he shows up, it's a moment to devour and cheer in awe and admiration.Rockstar isn't entirely above flaws though. The irregular narrative could do with some smooth editing avoiding the uneven, jerky feel to the proceedings.At some point, Jordan's deterioration starts to slip into a well of incoherence and stylish albeit long-winded symbolism involving guitar-in-flames and slo-mo vomit cutting to nifty shots of a shattered Jordan delivering a high-adrenalin stage act or entering a cheekily-documented scrap with the ever-snooping paparazzi.But this figurative yet electrifying ambiguity only adds to the enigma of Jordan and his offended heart that glowers at everyone for his previously desired misery. Now that he's truly in a rotten place, he doesn't know what to do. This chaos of the mind is perceptively captured in a scene where a crushed and confused Ranbir explains his bewilderment to his sympathetic but powerless mentor turned manager ( Kumud Mishra is a revelation).Rockstar, like Mani Ratnam's Dil Se.. or Ashutosh Gowarikar's [ Images ] Swades [ Images ], is a heart-felt, inflexible vision of an insightful filmmaker. It is bound to generate polarizing responses. Either you will be able to hear the unsaid, draw your own subtext, understand Jordan's disdain for the system, disregard for his fans, sense the reason for the lingering rejection of his family and girl , read his eyes, see the pain and feel his need to be treated normally again. Or you will nitpick where he took his guitar lessons, why don't we ever see him talk to his mother, why did he not reveal his true feelings to Heer earlier on, why doesn't he care for idolisation, why are Heer's folks so benign and inconsequential, why does the film end without any drama or dhan-te-nan?Make your own answers. Because, at the end of the day, this is Ranbir's tour de force and there's nothing derivative about his performance, which aspires to be a reference point in its own. Whether he's the guideless lout from St Stephen's, a subject of indignation at the hands of his family, a lovelorn Romeo barred from consummating his relationship or a badass, unwilling rockstar. Ranbir's heads-on approach to Jordan is rich in texture, nuances and caliber placing him far ahead of his immediate colleagues and in direct contention with the Khans, in bent if not box-office.As the end credits roll, you walk out with an invisible bandana endorsing the mega Kapoor humming a verse from a song by his alter ego's idol:
The days are bright and filled with pain
Enclose me in your gentle rain
The time you ran was too insane
We'll meet again, we'll meet again.
Taran Adarsh, November 11, 2011 - 10:19 IST
Rock based movies are revered and admired in Hollywood, but Bollywood hasn't been too kind to this genre. Vipul Shah's LONDON DREAMS failed to cut ice, despite the presence of top notch names, but ROCK ON! was a moderate success, with the urban audiences giving the film a second and third dekho
. The film couldn't penetrate into the heartland, though.
Imtiaz Ali has always managed to strike the right balance between the hoi polloi and the gentry. Movies like JAB WE MET and LOVE AAJKAL are proof that the enormously talented raconteur won't attempt a film if he's not fully convinced about it. Known for his imaginative and inventive take on love stories, Imtiaz takes up yet another challenge with ROCKSTAR. The story of a rebellious singer/musician, it traces his journey of love, anguish, ego, trouble, sorrow and devastation. A difficult path to tread, no doubt, but Imtiaz could be a game changer, if the film strikes a chord. Alas! ROCKSTAR is a sumptuously shot movie that is disjointed on script level.
Let's get to the root of the problem. We are used to watching films that have a beginning, middle and end. The problem with ROCKSTAR is that it starts off most impressively, has some terrific moments in between, but the writing gets so erratic and incoherent as it heads towards the conclusion that you wonder, am I really watching an Imtiaz Ali film? I mean, even the naysayers would agree that Imtiaz Ali is a super storyteller and his movies have been talked about [and also remain etched in our memory] due to varied factors, the written material being one of the paramount reasons.
What you take back from ROCKSTAR are some terrific moments, a bravura performance [Ranbir Kapoor is a class apart!] and of course, A.R. Rahman's musical score. Wish one could carry the entire film back in our hearts!
Janardan [Ranbir Kapoor], born and brought up in the very middle class locality of Delhi, has a larger than life dream -- of being a rockstar like Jim Morrison! But all he gets from his reluctant audience is ridicule and humiliation. He's at his wit's end, when he realizes that all musical stars, all artists in fact, have one thing in common. And that is tragedy. They all have tragic lives. They have all suffered painful heartbreaks to become what they are. Alas, there is no pain in Janardan's life. Unless he does something drastic, he will never become a rockstar.
Heer [Nargis Fakhri] is the undisputed diva of the college campus -- beautiful, talented, arrogant, rich and unavailable. She has broken many hearts. Janardan hopes she will break his heart too. He sets out to woo Heer with the sole object of getting his heart broken.
ROCKSTAR traces the journey of a boy who leaves behind Janardan to become Jordan, who traverses the highs and lows of life -- from simple naivet to tortured soul, from the campus in Delhi to the international stage' He ultimately gets all that his heart has ever desired, but in the process shatters/loses his heart forever.
It's evident that ROCKSTAR seeks inspiration for the story from the iconic, charismatic and popular Jim Morrison. With a capable director like Imtiaz Ali at the helm, one expects ROCKSTAR to be a cult movie in this genre. But the film falters after an impressive start, after you are introduced to the four pivotal characters in the story -- Ranbir, Nargis, Kumud Mishra [Ranbir's confidante] and Piyush Mishra [owner of a music company].
Narrated in flashback, the writing gets erratic as you delve deeper and deeper. The film begins with a few people bashing up Ranbir and one expects the reasons for this fight to come to the fore as the reels unfold. But the sequence remains unexplained even after the movie concludes. Sequences that depict Ranbir's unpredictable and inconsistent behavior are inexplicable as well. The major mood swings -- he's cool as a cucumber at times, but turns irritable and furious immediately -- is also baffling. His relationship with Heer is inconsistent as well. He comes across as an extremely mystified individual. Ranbir's portions in Prague [including meeting Nargis on arrival there] look unreal. The end to the tale is most worrisome. It's an open end, with the audience not really knowing what actually happened to one of the central characters. In fact, the second hour is stretched without valid reason and that makes it a tedious watch.
One expects Imtiaz Ali to outshine his previous works, but he doesn't. Sure, he explores the emotional depths with immense compassion and also draws bravura performances from the central characters, especially Ranbir Kapoor. But let's not disregard the fact that every film depends on a watertight screenplay and ROCKSTAR stumbles and fumbles in this department. At the same time, there are moments that are spectacular and brilliantly executed. The sequence between Shammi Kapoor and Ranbir [when introduced in the music company office] is super. Ditto for a particular sequence featuring Piyush Mishra; he's taking a massage and talking to Ranbir concurrently. Even the sequence when Ranbir tears apart the agreement and throws it at Piyush Mishra is fantastic. A few more individualistic scenes reiterate the fact that Imtiaz Ali is a genius!
Music maestro A.R. Rahman's music is scintillating. ROCKSTAR is about the progression of a musician from India and the songs not only tell his story, but also track his journey from a nobody to a somebody. It must've been a challenge for Rahman to depict the emotional catharsis a rockstar undergoes and the tracks, I wish to add, aren't the typical Rahman numbers either. While some of the songs ['Sadda Haq'] will be loved instantly, a few others will take time to grow on you.
Anil Mehta's cinematography is top notch. Every frame is picture perfect, a painting on celluloid. Dialogue deserve special mention. They are straight out of life.
The secret behind Ranbir's triumph is that he puts his heart and mind into every project he chooses to perform in. Love, resentment, pain, hurt... Ranbir brings a multitude of feelings to his character. It's a role of a lifetime and Ranbir is sure to be immortalized in this story of a rockstar. He glides into the character effortlessly, so much so that you see very little of Ranbir, the actor and more of Janardan/Jordan, the character he represents. His performance is beyond extraordinary.
Nargis is a stunner as far as looks are concerned, but isn't persuasive in poignant moments. However, the chemistry between Ranbir and Nargis is exhilarating. Shammi Kapoor is superb in a small but significant role. Aditi Rao Hydari suffers due to an undeveloped characterization. Kumud Mishra is splendid. What a fine actor! Piyush Mishra is, as always, exceptional. Shernaz Patel enacts her part well.
On the whole, ROCKSTAR does not live up to the confidence and expectations from the otherwise very skilled and accomplished film-maker Imtiaz Ali. The film suffers immensely due to a disorderly screenplay, especially in its post-interval portions. However, the silver lining or the comforting prospect is the virtuoso performance by Ranbir Kapoor and the captivating score by A.R. Rahman, which justify that one extra star.
Director: Imtiaz Ali
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Nargis Fakhri, Kumud Mishra
Indian Express rating:**
Here it is, the new film of the new Bollywood boy wonder. And true to type, the actor is better than the film. 'Rockstar' disappoints; Ranbir doesn't.
Brash Jat fellow Janardan (Kapoor), who's dubbed Jordan by his flirty-but-not-quite girl-friend Heer (Fakhri) , wants to be like his idol, Jim Morrison. To which end, he is to be found sitting in various Delhi University campus spots, strumming a guitar. Humming ballads, and stalking girls with an exaggerated drop of the jaw, is not exactly a rockstar's thing. But let's not get picky, okay? A 'rockstar' is what you call a person who is aces in his field, okay?
Only when he's experienced true love, the pain and the pleasure of it, will he be able to sing with feeling, says a middle-aged gent (Mishra) with blinding originality, with whom Janardan/ Jordan hangs out a lot. Therefore, J goes off to H, and 'proposes her' in good, if laboured Jatboy style, having of course decided to fall in love with her at first glance. Till about here, say twenty minutes in, 'Rockstar' looks as if there may be something in it, despite the familiar post-teen love tropes that Ali sets up. We're still trying on new girl Fakhri for size, just as her hero is, and keeping an open mind.
But shortly after, the film nosedives. The second half is a mess, as it travels picturesquely but cluelessly from Kashmir to Prague in search of ideas. And it goes on for much too long, as we wait for something better to happen. Nothing of the sort does. Whatever happened to Imtiaz's sure-footedness which made 'Jab We Met' such a breeze ? Shakiness was evident in his next 'Love Aaj Kal'. Here, he seems to have very little idea of how to get his lovers to smoulder despite the liplocks : most of the romance feels constructed, and contrived.
The chief culprit here, apart from the sloppy, disjointed writing, is the new girl, and her ultra-mobile mouth. Nargis Fakhri seems to be in the exact same mould of the fair-skinned creature of 'Love Aaj Kal'. At least Giselle Monteiro did demure well, Fakhri is strictly pretty-and-vapid-and-vacuous, easy on the eyes, but hard to watch. The only one who stands out from the largely-superfluous supporting cast is the hair-slicked-with-oil, side-parted Mishra, who stands by Jordan when he is sliding down the abyss all rage-fulled rockstars vanish. Exactly what is Jordan so angry about? One moment Jordan is struggling with his unsupportive family, and fighting off cops, the next he's a rebel rocker, complete with screaming crowds of fangirls, and people wanting to free their enslaved countries, and souls, without any convincing connectives. Just when did that happen? A R Rahman's music is also not his best; only a couple of tracks stand out. And just who dreamt up the rockstar's costumes? Those Turkish pants, that khaki topi, and that hair? Seriously?
Finally, you are left with Ranbir, who walks past the parts in which he lets the effort show'the Jatness keeps slipping, and keeps getting put back in place--- with some inspired patches. He is the only reason you could, if you want to, watch 'Rockstar'.
All soul, no spine
Director: Imtiaz Ali
Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Nargis Fakhri
It begins on an electric note, the big, bad rockstar escaping from a fight, hair blowing in the wind as he races through the streets of Rome (or is it Prague?) to jump straight into a crowd waiting for him. From then on, it goes downhill, and spectacularly so.
Imtiaz Ali has discovered his baroque side and it is a terrible thing to behold. Everything is in excess. Ranbir Kapoor as Janardhan Jakhar, the naive Haryanvi boy trying to flirt with Heer Kaul, the elusive St Stephen's beauty, is too much of a buffoon, and as Jordan, the angry rocker, he's a little too raging bull. Newbie Nargis Fakhri is painful to watch, her mobile mouth overpowering her face, never quite pulling off the "neat and clean" stunner who wants to get her hands and feet dirty with a bit of rough and absolutely cringingly bad as the unhappy wife whose life is slowly slipping away.
And whenever I see Shernaz Patel in any movie these days, it is an automatic Sanjay Leela Bhansali alert: I know there's trouble ahead and it will involve several medical/legal issues which she will try explaining to the audience ("the blood count is improving" or "it's a miracle") but fail.
Ali has crafted the film as one long song, and nowhere in recent times has the music integrated so well with what he is trying to say. Whether it is Kun Faaya Kun where Janardhan discovers the power of music, or the gorgeous jugalbandi between Shammi Kapoor on shehnai and Ranbir on guitar where you can see two different kinds of talent on display--one natural, almost animal-like, another refined, spiritually-inclined--AR Rahman's music is the soul of the film. What is missing is the spine, leaving just a jelly in place.
Ali's trademark obsessions are on full display -- travel for one. Jakhar discovers Heer and Kashmir on a motorcycle, he makes his grandest rockstar-like gestures coming out of a car or in a van (the only time the sultry Aditi Rao Hydari is allowed to burn on screen, mocking Ranbir's studly image). And spirited girls -- few filmmakers have plumbed the hidden spirit of good girls as he has -- whether it was Geet in Jab We Met or Meera in Love Aaj Kal. Girls who do as their families tell them but whose individuality is strong and fierce. But Nargis Fakhri is an utter failure at capturing that essence -- as Heer she was to be both wilful and wild, enigmatic and tragic. Try as you will to like her, her mouth gets in the way. She is the reason for Jordan's existence, at least as Ali must have envisaged it on paper, but here she is just an irritating presence, who just happens to look good in phirans and Kashmiri shawls, which is the extent of research Ali has done on Kashmir, peopling a Kashmiri Pandit wedding with scores of Muslim relatives.
There are moments of great beauty in the film. The heart-stopping duet between Shammi Kapoor and Ranbir; the Kun Faaya Kun song in the Nizamuddin dargah; the hilarious massage scene involving a leopard print underwear-clad music baron, Piyush Mishra; or even Ranbir dancing in a trance at a nightclub, transported into another world. But instead of taking the audience along on his journey of pain, the audience is increasingly frustrated. Too many things are left unexplained. How does Janardhan become such a symbol of rage -- does it really just take a single act of breaking in and entering a foreign country to make him the emblem of Free Tibet, angry Kashmiris and angry Khalistanis? Why does Heer not just run away with him?
I think one problem with the film is that it is about a grand passion, and mainstream Hindi cinema is not equipped to show a grand romance except in the most inane form. So while the young couple kiss each other with great gusto, they can't do much more. Ali's journey into the recesses of an artist's soul remains superficial, amplified only by its tokens -- a phiran in Kashmir, a group of gypsies in Prague, a Haryanvi haveli for Delhi's semi-urbanites. Planes, cars, motorcycles. Take whatever mode of transport you will, you come right back to the single fact: this is a film that lacks discipline. All the Rumi quotations of the world cannot provide either.
Edited by -Maddy- - 11 November 2011 at 8:15am