Review - Rocket Singh: orbits the sales world charmingly

wogma rating: Pride of your DVD shelf (?)
quick review:

An adorable experience. A drama-free which by definition includes melodrama-free execution. Super-witty dialogues that are timed superbly. And a plot that flows smoothly. What more can we ask for?

A faster pace? A shorter film? Maybe - but I'll take a little more of this than lose the impact it creates.

Oh and kudos to Jaideep Sahni! This man has some writing prowess!!

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Wogma Review

The first scene of Rocket Singh makes you wonder if you are watching Wake Up Sid all over again. A not-so-good-at-academics protagonist will find his groove in this big bad world. While the premise might be the same, the apparatus used is entirely different. No generic heart-strings pulled for "aaaaws" from the audience. A straightforward, no riff-raff film that you can identify with. And you will laugh your way through the everyday sense of humor it carries.

BE WARNED THOUGH: it is not your regular Yash Raj film with a bright song every 10th minute. It's not one where the editor went zip-zapp-zooom to create a fast pace or a shorter film. It's slowish. It's longish. And if I were an impatient viewer, those would be my first and last complaints. And since I'm not, I have more reasons to rejoice, a few quibbles here and there, as scribbled in the notepad section.

I'm willing to sit in the beloved dark hall a little longer and watch things build-up slowly. Just in case I miss the finer details that have been paid attention to by the makers, the ones that might have helped create that warm atmosphere and yet maintain a hostile environment. Don't want to run that risk.

Especially when one of the most well-known banners in the industry "Yash Raj Films" is taking the huge risk of getting rid of the female lead altogether and having a minimum of songs. An hour into the movie and I, a fan of the non-standard Hindi films, wanted to scream "Where's the GIRL?" And what a huge risk that is for budding "star" Ranbir Kapoor too. But like they say, even superheroes take risks. Why shouldn't our heroes, then?

Many of us don't aspire to much. If we aren't one of them, we know someone very closely, who is happy with what they get and don't think they deserve any better. Our man, Harpreet Singh Bedi (Ranbir Kapoor) is one of them. He doesn't meddle with his life too much. Until, one day, realization dawns. And let me not scare you. It's not the epiphany waiting to happen. It is a slow, gradual call on the self. You'll see yourself, if you went through what Harpreet went through with his baggage of values.

Rocket Singh is also a detailed comment on how the corporate world and more specifically, cut-throat sales departments work. The sleaze is shown, but you don't puke, because it is shown so matter-of-factly. After all, you run that rat-race too.

And remarkably the character transitions are very believable too. An academically challenged commerce student doesn't turn into a superhuman in a skill set he thinks he's good at. When the tables turn, they do so subtly. The sweet talk, lies and malice turn into shrewd judgment calls. The "anti-heroes" are no dumbwits or "just-do-it" bosses. They can walk the talk too.

And all of this with sharp dialogues. In fact, the first half hour reminded me of two TV series that I admire the most for their crisp dialogues - West Wing and Sports Night. These shows were written by Aaron Sorkin who also wrote one of my favorite dramas A few good men and one of my favorite rom-coms The American President. So, if I'm thinking of Aaron Sorkin and my favorite Hindi writer-director Hrishikesh Mukherjee at the same time, the writer of this film, Jaideep Sahni has done his job! You see guys, I had no choice but to love this film.

But this also means the film is full of dialogues. Back and forth and back. If you are refraining from creating a non-loud Sikh character, you have done your job well! It's such a shame that this is good enough. And the task of creating other believable office-going characters seems like only a mild achievement.

Obviously none of this would have come through if the actors didn't do their jobs or they weren't given direction. You want the idealistic protagonist to stick to his guns but you want him to succeed too. But, you do know that in this day and age you are asking for the impossible, because you want a realistic film too.

And you make such a demand only because your hopes have risen due to the perfect casting. From the technician Mishraji (Mukesh Bhatt) to Giri despite his uneven Hyderabadi accent (or is it Telangana now? :) ). You want to hug them all. And of course you want to beat up that brat of a boss, Mr. Suri. So fresh is this cast, that despite detailed searches on the net, I can't figure out which character is played by whom. The search is on, meanwhile, dear readers, if you know, drop me a line.

But before you do any of that, go catch this sales-guy before he achieves his targets! He's not selling a product or a service. He's out there selling a value system. Remember, selling, not preaching. So you just might buy it. You know you want to.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None.
  • Language: Clean.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A character ogling at bikini clad pics of women. And a voyeuristic glance at women every once in a while.
  • Concept: Honesty and perseverance have a place in this world, or do they?
  • General Look and Feel: It's bright but songless. Funny but the humor might be lost on kids less than 10.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 5
  • Story: 5
  • Lead Actors: 5
  • Character Artists: 4.5
  • Dialogues: 5
  • Screenplay: 5
  • Music Director: 3.5
  • Lyrics: 4

Rocket Singh - Movie Details

Rocket Singh - Trailer

Comments (14)

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meetu:

@Rahul when is that going to be?

@Harpreet he he, other than that too it is a good film!

meetu:

@Rahul and what a warm welcome the cinema-world has for you when you are back to civilization (non-exam world!) Good luck!!

Ravish Mody:

Meetu I have to say you have done an awesome review and after reading this I would take some time out to watch this movie for sure...

Sudhir Nair:

Loved the movie. I didn't find it slow at all. The movie kept my interest throughout. The ragging done by the Coworkers was over the top. The story is implausible, but is well written and nearly convinces u that it could have happened. The background music was awesome as was the acting by the supporting cast as well. Liked the way the romance was not given much focus. Ranbir is extremely lucky with his choice of films.

meetu:

@Ravish Thank you! Do let us know what you thought of the film.

@Gill 4/5 and 5/5 makes it a %age. Where as a ranking that says "Must Watch" You know what to do. Doesn't matter how many marks the film gets. And I guess this is my way of being "different"

@JJ I used to follow both those series when I lived in the US. West Wing was playing on one of the channels here, but haven't seen Sports Night. I usually grab DVDs from my DVD rental place. He has all the released West Wing seasons.

@Sudhir Yeah its unrealistic but you want to believe it can happen int he "Lage Raho Munnabhai" sort of a way. I loved the fact that the romance was just a very-very side thing. Awesome decisions these were! Good to see you here again!

Shuchi:

Hi Meetu, Just saw the Indibloggies 2008 results. Congrats for winning the award for Best Entertainment Indiblog!

meetu:

Hey Shuchi. Thanks!!!

Hel-lo cinefreak, long time-no see! Good to have you back. All you say is right. But while walking out of the theater, I felt I've watched a GOOD film. It made me use my brain because of its witty dialogue mainly. And that's all that counts.

RE: 'this movie would never have got made if it was not for the team that wrote and directed it'

uhhh...isn't that true of any film, irrespective of quality?

Rajesh Ramaswamy:

Hi
This is my first visit to your blog. Outstanding work. Im here because I spotted this as a winner on indiblogger. I a quite skeptical about movie review blogs...one because they are too many of them. And also they tend to use it as a medium to vent out their frustrations...over cynical and stuff like that. You have managed to keep it personal and at the same time neutral. But this was refreshingly different. And I agree with everything you've written about rocket....it was a brilliant watch.
keep it up...you are not just another member in the audience for sure.

meetu:

Thank you Rajesh! Am I glad that you dropped in here!?

Yeah, I try to watch out for what's good in the films I don't like. And the films I like, I acknowledge the flaws.

I am a member of the audience, and my opinion counts. So, yes, I'm not 'just another' member of the audience. Thank you!!

cine freak:

A good film is very difficult to work with. In my opinion a good film is one that either reasonates emotionally with the audience or makes the audience think or both. This film does not have any of that. It is just an average joe film, there is nothing that you feel connected about either to the characters or to the film as a whole. Eg Chak De with its patriotism, was a completely different ball game, not that I subscribe to it, but yes, it did make for some great emotional moments.
And what I meant was that since it was the team of Sahni and Amin, a major studio funded it, otherwise the script would have been thrown out on its butt. Possibly the script was grittier and the studio house being what it is eliminated that grittiness. One never knows.

meetu:

@cine freak yep possible. Very possible. Yet they got away with a lot. No lead lady and no songs, for example.

meetu:

Thanks, dude! Thank you very much!!

Navin:

watched Rocket Singh yesterday on Television.....missed it out in the theaters but did not regret it much...

I agree to what is written above that the movie is slow and sluggish....but when you sit alone and watch it with nothing else to do......its a nice watch......also because you know that there is a looser who is going to come out as a winner....

cheers!!

doctor:

Ranbir Kapoor has acted well in the movie and also the concept of the movie was nice.

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