Who hasn’t had a row with a friend? Time to make that call and hug the friend you didn’t patch-up with ages ago. That’s the warmth you feel while watching Rock On!!. In the end, you connect and that’s what counts!
It’s youthful yet elegant. It’s contemporary yet identifiable with, by anyone who’s had a tiff with a close one. Yes, the layers of love for rock music and issues related to urban life need to be peeled off. But at the core it’s a very simple story told with compassion and sophistication.
That doesn’t mean all your questions are answered. The details of the main conflict are left to your imagination. But, the manner in which you are drawn into the story shows that smart people have been involved in its making. So, I submitted myself, albeit grudgingly, to the fact that their heart was in bringing us the resolution and not the clash. I’d suggest you do the same.
Whenever I complain about a cliché or predictability in movies/stories, I question myself, is it such a bad thing? How could they have avoided it in this situation? But, I end up with just one answer - it depends on how it is done. Is it natural, does it flow? Is the nature and flow convincing? The obvious call of events in Rock on!! worked for me because I found myself getting attached to the characters and their relatively ordinary lives. (Even though the characters were being followed by spotlights on half their faces!)
Each character in the foursome is representative of the kind of people any group of friends has. The idealist whose self-respect does not resign to compromise (Arjun Rampal), the slightly self-centered one who can’t see when he falters (Farhan Akhtar), the easy-go-lucky-cum-jackass who doesn’t let anything bother him too much (Purab Kohli) and the one who’s more emotionally attached to the ‘group’ sentiment than the rest (Luke Kenny).
The slight shiver in Farhan’s hands when confronted by his past, made me gape in awe of not just the actor but also the director, Abhishek Kapoor. Unbelievable that the man’s last effort was the appalling Aryan. Same goes for Arjun who looked like he was holding back the dialogues to keep his moustache from falling. Even so, I found myself cheering for him when he came to take his final bow. Purab and Luke too didn’t necessarily have the greatest body language yet, you felt bad for how things were shaping up for them when the going was tough.
With male-bonding as the central theme, it’s refreshing to see women with well thought out characters who influence the direction of the story. Prachi Desai is the strong yet vulnerable Sakshi. You feel like shaking her man to consciousness when he’s ignoring her despite the anxiety her eyes convey. You sympathize with Debbie’s frustration which Shahana Goswami so strongly brings across.
We see ourselves getting pulled into the narrative because the writer, Abhishek Kapoor, has given each of these characters detailed attention. Together, they mature smoothly from adolescent “we can conquer the world” enthusiasm to learning to live life the hard way. And yet, even the two less important roles (Purab and Luke) have defining qualities and are not restricted to being the protagonists’ “inner voice”. Moreover, this is all done in good humor.
Writer, Abhishek has also shown some imaginative strokes. The onscreen performances of the actors mirror the status of their characters in the band throughout the movie. Almost as if the rock band’s chemistry is shared by the four actors. Also, despite parallel narration of two time-spans, very rarely does any event seem out of place.
A plausible complaint could be made against the run-time and pace of the movie. I would argue that any tampering with that would take away from the poise and charm of the experience.
Note on music: My exposure to rock music is negligible. I was recently educated by a rock-enthusiast that lyrics are very plain and factual in rock music. The focus is on the music. This conversation obviously came about when I was complaining about the lyrics of Rock On!! while appreciating how different the music was.
I’m still not convinced the lyrics should be highlighted by loud and clear pronunciation, if they are not the focus, especially when they are more or less lame.
“aasmaan kyon neela, paani kyon geela geela” would sound great in a kids’ song like “bum bum bhole“, but didn’t work for me here. (Why’s the sky blue, and water all wet? It’d have been alright if the lines at the very least sounded poetic like “Why’s the sky blue, and the water full of dew?”) Songs from “Zindaggi Rocks” had awesome lyrics; does that not qualify as rock, then?
Anyway, I’m going to buy the CD for the music to grow on me. Oh yeah, do stick around till the last title card shows up.
- meetu, a part of the audience