Rockstar - Review
Rockstar...underwhelming. Ranbir Kapoor portrays the pathos suffered in an epic, romantic tragedy. Unfortunately, that and of course Rahman's music are the only things that are epic about Rockstar. Other than that, it is an abrupt collage of images of awesomely shot rock shows and an attempt of a man and woman trying to find a place for their morals which the rest of the world finds misplaced. Underwhelming - is the word that keeps coming back to me ever since I left the theater.
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"Pursuit of happiness" and "right vs. wrong" are the difficult existential themes Rockstar grapples with. It entails defining happiness, defining right and wrong. Rockstar's ambition is to talk about one of the loveliest paradoxes - in order to pursue happiness, you have to be unhappy. Rockstar also wants to be an epic, romantic tragedy - Greek / Shakespearean / Devdas to Laila-Majnu to the protagonist's namesake - take your pick. Rockstar is that, but it leaves too many gaping holes for comfort.
I'm not asking for a water-tight thriller type answers, but I cannot suppress simple questions like - there are an awfully large number of talented people out there, why is Janardhan aka JJ aka Jordan or as we like to call him Ranbir Kapoor given so much leeway despite his obnoxious self. I understand him getting away with it once he is popular, but when he is a nobody? Just because he is willing to sign some agreements? This in a world full of talented soul-sellers - I mean both in their skill/art and selling their soul. I need to understand why his lady love hasn't heard of this concept called divorce - the involved families seemed open-minded enough.
In a film that is trying to transcend into another world, these questions might seem only mechanical. Having to answer them might be mere hindrances in the larger purpose of going beyond...to that field where right and wrong have no meaning. But then, the writer, Imtiaz Ali should've gone all the way and made it a film in which these questions didn't come to me - a film in which I'd absorb abstractism without any qualm.
Don't put in a silly and out-of-place bhabhi (sister-in-law). Don't put in a forced reason for the protagonist to be thrown out of his house. And please don't suddenly put in a rebellious song with a social commentary just because you had an awesome lyricist and the world's greatest music composer at your disposal. Your character, Jordan is least bothered with the environment and such. Maybe all films about rockstars have to show the star's angst against "society", symbolically and literally, which they dole out with brilliantly choreographed cinematography. But then all rockstars dope it up and you did avoid that, didn't you? Because there was no room for that in the story, just like there was no room for the said song in the film. Thankfully, the rest of the songs weave in and out of the film making it a beautiful musical.
And a beautiful musical it is. Given the Himalayas and Prague are its locations, I doubt there is anything a cinematographer or a director could have done wrong. And I doubt it'd bother too many of us for too long if the songs weren't picturized too well. We'd rant about it, and pop in a CD and listen to the music anyways, over and over again. The good thing is the film doesn't become all about the beauty of these places or only about the music. The not-so-good thing is that it doesn't become much about anything else either.
While you do feel for Jordan, it is solely because Ranbir Kapoor is desperately injecting life into the scattered screenplay with Jordan's plain and simple pain and unabashed self-destruction. I usually refrain from giving my suggestions on the changes that I'd have liked in the film, because that means I'm talking about a different film altogether. But, here, I can't resist wondering what Rockstar would've been like if it was neat and clean, linear. It'd have to be shorter for sure. The non-linearity didn't bother me per se, I just found it unnecessary and taking away from the plot. It didn't let the protagonists' suffering build up.
Especially that of the lead lady, Heer. I'm going to go out on a limb and say the gorgeous looking, hot (even in loose, traditional Kashmiri wear) Nargis Fakhri is a mistake. The 'new in films' discomfort is visible. Her comic timing is way off and she manages to mess the few good lines and situations in the first half. (then the writer give up on coming up with any original lines). Anyway, maybe we just have to wait for her to open up like Kareena Kapoor or Katrina Kaif. But the damage is done to the film at hand. Her inability to emote either her suppressed wild-side, her dilemma, or her physical frailty are the main weak link of Rockstar. The back-and-forth screenplay I would have been able to handle, if I felt my heroine's agony.
I didn't connect to her and therefore his love and lust for her. The scarier thing is I got a feeling that the director was treating his film with a one-arm distance too, almost wary that he might get too attached to his baby. I know many of you are keen, but I really don't see as many of us enjoying this one for what it is. Yes, yes, this recommendation is after discounting for high expectations.
- meeta, a part of the audience
- Violence: Generic fist fights between police and Ranbir Kapoor
- Language: Clean
- Nudity & Sexual content: A porn theater, a couple of strip clubs, a few kisses, and a couple of scenes with making out.
- Concept: A romantic tragedy
- General Look and Feel: Starts out bright, goes on to become grim and dark.
Rockstar - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Website Facebook YouTube Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: UTV Motion Pictures, Eros Entertainment
- Producer: Dhillin Mehta
- Director: Imtiaz Ali
- Lead Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Nargis Fakhri
- Supporting Cast: Shammi Kapoor, Shikha Jain, Jaideep Ahlawat, Aditi Rao Hydari, Piyush Mishra, Shernaz Patel, Kumud Mishra
- Story: Imtiaz Ali, Muzzam Beg
- Screenplay: Imtiaz Ali
- Dialogues: Imtiaz Ali
- Cinematography: Anil Mehta, Anil Mehta
- Editor: Aarti Bajaj
- Background Score: A R Rahman
- Action Choreography: Giorgio Antonini , Mauro Averson
- Choreography: Ashley Lobo
- Music Director: A R Rahman
- Lyrics: Irshad Kamil
- Costume Designer: Aki Narula, Manish Malhotra
- Facebook Page: Link
- Running time: 160 minutes
- Reviewer: meeta
- Language: Hindi
- Country: India
- Genres: Biography, Docu-drama, Musical, Romance
Rockstar - Trailer
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