Rock On - Review

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Rock On is bang on! Rock On will not set the box office on fire the same way that Singh is Kinng did. These might seem two contradictory statements but it is true. The primary reason is that Rock On is made specifically for the multiplex audience. It limits itself on many accounts – the music genre, the milieu from which its protagonists come and the sensibilities of the creators of the movie. Despite these factors that unfortunately decide the fate of a film commercially, I would still say that Rock On gets close to becoming a cult film.

The team of Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar come up with another ace. This film belongs to the same genre as Dil Chahta Hai. However, comparing the two would imply injustice to Rock On because of several reasons. One, Dil Chahta Hai did not have a precedent before it to which it had to live upto. Two, there was a marked difference in the casting of the two films. Of course the film does seem to have a DCH hangover – friendship, misunderstanding, separation, leading
individual but incomplete lives, reuniting after realizing that no one was happy after all. But you cannot take away the freshness that the team Rock On brings to the film.

The casting is intelligent. Farhan Akhtar as the lead actor and singer did create a lot of interest in the film. The rest of the cast, though not renowned, still looks apt for the roles they portray. I am sure that the producers could very well have afforded major stars to play the well etched out characters of the film but think about the economics. It does a film of restricted audience a whole lot of good financially if a lesser paid but efficient Purab Kohli portrays a character with the same intensity that a Saif Ali Khan would have played. The production value is great. If the product overall is good, the producers must be applauded. Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar have done their job well.

Abhishek Kapoor debuted as a lead actor in an obscure film that went unnoticed. His only claim to fame was being Jeetendra’s relative. He chooses this film to show that he is more than that. The script shows how hard he has worked on the story. Each of the characters is so well defined. The film spans 10 years or so with the characters undergoing major life overhauls in the intervening period but he has remarkably succeeded in maintaining the basic personality traits of each of the characters despite their changed circumstances. This is so very true. You cannot change your inherent characteristics as a person. As a story writer too, he succeeds. He tells you a story about emotions and relationships without too much of drama. A relief in the era of – “Agar tum kisi cheez ko shiddat se chaho to saari kaaynaat tumhe usse milane mein lag jaati hai” crap. Thumbs up for Abhishek Kapoor. Let’s hope that the film didn’t drain you of all your creative juices!

Farhan Akhtar is competent as an actor but not remarkable. He will get applauded for his acting but I think it will have to do a lot with the character that he gets to play. We all want to be rock stars at some point in our lives and it doesn’t hurt if you also get to play a rich investment banker with a sensible and beautiful wife by your side. The verdict from my side is that Farhan is a much better director than he is an actor or a singer. Although he does the other two tasks reasonably well.

The dream role for Arjun Rampal, I always felt, would be playing the Bodhi tree in a film based on the life of Buddha. The reason – he has got wooden expressions. I was wrong. Rock On proved me wrong. Not that he got to play different shades and explored finer nuances of acting but he got a character that was within his reach. He got to play a brooding guy who sat on a chair and got up only to play a guitar. He did it quite well. His entry in the climax was great and yet not over the top. Finally he has a good film to show his kids.

Purab Kohli is a fantastic actor. I think he was the best in the film. The paradox is that such actors do not fit the billing of a leading guy in commercial hindi films. He reminded me of Saif Ali Khan in DCH. Good performance.

Luke Kenny is a rock star. He has been one for all these years. A decent performance from a debutant who gets to play a pivotal role.

Prachi Desai is good. She didn’t have much to do except play the woman with a great soul, an understanding wife and add to the glamorous quotient of the film. The actress who plays Arjun Rampal’s wife, Debbie is quite a good actress. She got a complex role to perform and she delivers. The rest of the cast is more of a filler. They exist but don’t really matter.

Music is a high point. Die hard rock fans might cringe saying that the songs are adulterated. But music has to sell as well. I am not a rock fan but I like the music. Shankar-Ehsan-Loy know how to hit the right notes. Barring Sindbad the Sailor, all songs have a good recall value.

Negatives – lack of dramatic moments and music of universal appeal. The story has a steady flow and it sails but it doesn’t create a storm. This would work against it because it doesn’t have a solid star cast or a wide mass base to back it up. Rock is not the music of an average Indian. Not many people would like Zehreelay or Sindbad the sailor. The biggest challenge for Rock On would be its comparisons with Dil Chahta Hai.

The film I believe stays on track and is in synch with its theme. I give 3 for the film and 0.5 for the novelty of the effort. So, it’s a 3.5 out of 5 from my side for Rock On! I recommend it.


No Mad Explorer.... said...

Nice Review !!!....I liked better than even that of Rajiv Masand. really awesome...

Ada Kapoor said...

Its true the star cast,the music is not that strong but the muvi has gud base.Its not going to be super hit like DCH but it'l be hit..but i give it 3 out of 5..

Sensible Garbage said...

@no mad explorer: let me host a movie review show like rajiv masand if u happen to start an entertainment channel sometime soon :-P

@ada: Don't be a miser, spare an extra 0.5 for the fresh team at the helm :) Ratings wud vary but the fact remains that it is a watchable affair.

Ada Kapoor said...

you are right!! Nyways nice reviews and one thing i must compliment about is the blog name 'sensible garbage', sounds contradictory but interesting..As written in your blog, your group don't want to disclose the names so i think my question is against your group rules or policy still-- may i know the reviewer name, if you feel like??

Sensible Garbage said...

@ada: Did I compliment u on ur name? :) ..And the name for the group is 'Sensible Garbage' ;)

B said...

Abhishek Kapoor is related to Jeetendra-That xplains how Prachi got her role..Hmm..
I was very happy after watching Rock on. The movie had it all-entertainment,comedy,emotions,love.

Arjun's acting as a resigned has been rocker was just too good and as his wife-the lady who played that seemed as if she was cranky in real life too, her acting was that realistic

Farhan with his sorta hoarse voice was a big risk but he did his job well. It is a must watch flick.

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