The treatment is far superior to other Rock movies – 2.5/5.0

By: Manisha Lakhe

‘You’re just going through the motions! If your heart was really broken you wouldn’t be sitting here eating samosas and arguing about chutney. That bite wouldn’t be going down your throat so easy. You need ‘shiddat’…’ That is the advice Rockstar’s mentor offers the young Janardan Jhakkad.

I wish they had followed this marvelous advice for themselves, because Rockstar is a movie that pretends to everything. It’s a magic electric guitar that is not connected to the power cable.


The romance between Janardan (Ranbir’s a brilliant actor, sways the audience into smiling at his clumsy antics when he tries to get the heroine’s attention, laughing with him when she stumps him into becoming her partner in crime) and Heer (Nargis of the unnecessary, incessant pout) is refreshing. But then Imtiaz Ali knows how to create romance that can be played on TV every night and remains eminently watchable.


The lad’s desire to ‘do something’ and become as big as Jim Morrison is sweet because he takes advice so awesomely offered by the canteen manager (who becomes his manager when Janardan become Jordan the Rockstar). What an actor this man is! From his homespun advice to his talcum- powdered jowls, this a character every screenwriter dreams of creating.


It is the angst that got my attention. Stand up and take a bow, writer Imtiaz Ali for giving us a minimalist explanation of the simple question, ‘Do maheene kya kiya wahaan?’ (what did you do there for two months?) when Janardan… No. I shall not give away spoilers. Suffice it to say that I let tears flow freely through the sequence. And trust me, I could not squeeze out any moisture when the whale lost its tail in the recent manipulative Dolphin tale…


So the music had to be Rahman. Purists will rattle off names like Roja and Kaadhalan but one doesn’t care. He creates Jordan the Rockstar for us and that is good enough for me. Speaking of rock, the concerts, the media footage, the feeding frenzy is done really well. So is the candid confession which you oddly saw in both School Of Rock and This Is Spinal Tap(both not so serious rockumentaries). But we’re not giving away spoilers here…


Unfortunately, the curse of the magic electric guitar also falls on the Rockstar here. There is no power cable to the electric guitar he is playing on stage. That’s why when he struts the stage, plays complicated high notes and thrusts his hips and guitar at the audience, I am compelled to smother a giggle, because it is mere posing. Nothing more than kids playing air guitar. And when he says he is disconnected from his fame I want to heckle ‘Just like your guitar is disconnected, dude!’

That’s how the story nosedives as well, when his ‘love’ cures the incurable ‘lymphosarcoma of the intestine’ or some such dreaded disease…You want to slap someone at that point. Did they sack the screenwriter? Yes, yes, it is suspension of disbelief and all that but burying logic is hardly keeping the audience interested, isn’t it?

Then you begin to notice that she pouts too much, and that her mom carries her emotions left over from Guzaarish, and that all other characters have been written with a flatness that shows up clearly. You know, as in, acting is for hero, but his friends will look like they were extras in some bhojpuri film (St. Steven’s is very very snobbish college, and the lads didn’t look like they belonged, unfortunately). But then that is my personal bias, but when the film veers into silliness, we all begin to see these flaws.

You come away gritting your teeth and wishing that Jordan the Rockstar had died of excesses like Elvis and Jim Morrison did instead of the silliness of quoting Rumi to sort of ‘Finish off’ the story that was hitting a wall. That’s the real tragedy of the film. Isme pretence hai, shiddat nahee. No fantastically brave deed like driving off the cliff as in Thelma And Louise here, it’s a sort of whimper and finish lame. Such a pity, because we like tragedies when love is the hook. We like unrequited love. I wish there were a bit of a retelling of Romeo and Juliet in the story of Heer and Jordan…

I wish it had ended spectacularly instead of in a whimper.

Go see it, simply because the treatment is far superior to other ‘Rock’ movies that have been made (London Dreams et al), and it is Imtiaz Ali and Rahman. But if you have low tolerance towards close-ups of pouts that over-do the acting for the heroine, then I suggest take a hip flask to the movies.


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