Rockstar review. Half a star. Maybe

Bollywood film Jab We Met released in 2007 and over the years, I have lost the count of number of times I have seen the film, and thrown lines from it unsuspecting, during conversations. So when its director, an intelligent Mr Imtiaz Ali, made another film, Rockstar, that released earlier in the week, you know who went to watch it.

I stepped out of the theatre enlightened that there isn’t a better way to utterly waste two and a half hours of my life. Besides, of course, watching the film again. The 1.30 minutes you watch in the teasers are the only exciting/good bits of the film.

Now, from personal interactions with the director, I can could vouch that Imtiaz Ali is someone who believes his audience is not dumb (unlike Rohit Shetty, Priyadarshan, Sajid Khan… I could go on). He’s a man who clearly knows what he is doing. It has been nearly a day since my sensibilities were assaulted, but I’m still angry about him making such a pathetic film. I’m taking this personally, because I earnestly hoped that I would enjoy the film.

Very predictably (no need for declaring spoiler alert here), singer Jordan (Ranbir Kapoor) falls in love with Heer (Nargis Fakhri). For some reason, he doesn’t get her/ they can’t be together and that saddens him. His angst fuels his singing career and he becomes successful.

Ranbir plays his goofy self well (he’s had practice at that in Ajab Prem Ki Ghajab Kahani), although it borders dangerously close to Shah Rukh’s act in My Name is Khan and Hrithik’s in Koi Mil Gaya (which is not a good thing). His scenes when he has altercations with the police are about the only time you think the guy acts. At all other times, you wouldn’t know if it’s Ranbir or Imran Khan or some other boy. His styling though, is refreshing and notable. Perhaps the stylist has drawn inspiration from Johnny Depp’s Capt Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean series.

Nargis Fakhri.

Nargis! Oh, for the love of God, something’s wrong here. Terribly wrong. If the weak plot is this film’s worst aspect, Nargis is, without a doubt, the second. I choose to call her ‘duck-face’ (literally meant) and don’t even feel a tiniest bit sympathetic. If you thought no one else delivered dialogues worse than Sonam Kapoor, here’s our winner. And she has so many dialogues! WHY! I don’t know if anyone else noticed this, but she also moves her neck back and forth, much like an ostrich does, during every other word spoken. The only reason I won’t go on criticising Nargis what-the-Fakh-ri any more is her legs. Gorgeous unending pair of legs that girl’s gifted with. I’m wondering why Imtiaz chose to gave her numerous close-ups (thereby resulting in his audience to hate the lady), when he could’ve shown us a bit more of the legs, at least.

The scenes are poorly developed and before you realise what’s happening… Ta da! Next scene. Example: I’m certain there was a half a second’s explanation about how Janardan takes on his name as Jordan, but I’m also certain nobody got that. Imtiaz rushes us through most of the scenes without developing the characters. I didn’t get how or when or how the poor little rich Delhi girl Heer (who’s mum is played by the lovely Shernaz Patel) falls for Jordan. Or is she just using him as entourage?

Oh! And there are some scenes where Fakhri has such an orgasmic look on her face, I thought I’ll finally see why the film received an adult certificate from the Censor Board. But no, that was apparently for the middle finger that Ranbir raises.

The illustrious AR Rahman has composed music for Rockstar, and I hoped that if nothing, I can consider Rs 200 spent on good music, if not the film. But the Oscar-winner disappoints, and how! I know a lot of people will not agree with me on this one, but just as with Mani Ratnam’s Raavan, the songs in Rockstar seem rehashed too. Not as much, but it’s something like you’ve heard them before. One mandatory Allah-Maula song in a dargah, one Tinga linga number that’s similar to Giselle Monterio’s La la la la ho gayi re from Love Aaj Kal, and the works. Mohit Chauhan ups it here and there, and is the saving grace with a beautiful O ya ya ya, and makes you believe he’s the only one who can sing it so well. Maybe I’ll give half a star to the film for him. Friends insist that the songs will grow on me, like most of Coldplay’s, perhaps. But I’m going to need some serious motivation to pick up that CD.

The receptionist from Ratlam’s Hotel Decent (remember him from Jab We Met?!) makes a cameo as the assistant during Ranbir’s initial days of studio recording. Just like he had the “Ekdum kadak! Kahaan se mili?” line in Jab We Met, here too he has a killer line. “Tu gaana bajaa raha hai, ya jaane ki bajaa raha hai?” he asks Ranbir exasperatedly. He’s not really an actor, but is part of Imtiaz’s directing crew, I’ve heard.

And, Piyush Mishra (who is becoming a favourite) has a role in the film. This guy has been around in the industry since a while, but you would best recognise him as the brilliantly played Majeedbhai in Tere Bin Laden and from Gulaal. He’s also a terrific lyricist and singer. I can’t recommend Gulaal enough; he’s done a fantastic job with the lyrics, and is even better with the vocals. Do listen to Gulaal, for my sake. You’ll need to see the lyrics alongside, as there’s a heavy dose of fine Hindi vocabulary!

Ok, back to Rockstar. I’m still cringing every time I see a friend’s status update on Facebook declare that they loved the film. I’m also making a mental note to un-friend them on Facebook, at least. Yeah, so that’s how much I (un)joyed Rockstar.

PS: Probably the only other reviewer who isn’t gushing about the film is my friend Kunal Guha, who has reviewed the film for Yahoo! here.

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23 responses

  1. “I don’t know if anyone else noticed this, but she also moves her neck back and forth, much like an ostrich does”

    HAHAHA

    And yes, Gulaal kicks ass. The music and the movie. Not my favourite Anurag Kashyap film, but a heavy movie that sucks you in.

  2. Loved the review.

    I saw the movie and it was a major snooze fest. And Rahman’s music was a total let down. None of the songs have a recall value.

    1. I thought Rahman’s compositions were nice… and I don’t like anything Rahman has done in the last many years. I agree that the songs have recall value, but they’re strong as compositions. I didn’t listen to the music when it came out, but watching the movie, I realized that the songs are quite intricate.

    2. Amey, thank God! Most people I come across claim to ‘love’ the film. And I agree with you about the songs.

  3. Great. Someone else also un-likes such like no-head tail movies. I don’t remember the last time I went to watch a Hindi movie without hearing from at least 10 people that it is awesome and not in an bodyguard / MBKD way!

    Nice review BTW 🙂
    And if you are serious you might be end up pretty much devoid of FB friends soon! 😉

    1. Believe this, but a couple of friends already are giving me a cold shoulder after they read this. In their own subtle ways, but I know they’re doing it. So well, it’s unbelievable that some people have loved the film to that extent!

  4. I really do not know much about Bollywood, but appreciated this review! I would love to learn more about the genre.

    1. You did! Thank you : )

      I’ll look around for a website that explains the genre. I’ll also mail you titles of a film or two.

  5. gosh gal….you must be pretty frustrated going by the review you’ve written….well, I’ve yet to see the movie and frankly speaking even I had(still have) high hopes from Imtiaz Ali, however the way the reviews keep on coming…..my inflated “hope” balloon is slowly going flat 😦

  6. I haven’t watched it yet. Didn’t want to, even before the FB-bashing started, simply because the tunes didn’t appeal to me, and there’s no point watching a movie named ‘Rockstar’ if the songs don’t rock. Ever since they gave him those (dratted) Oscars, Rehman’s music has really soured. A suggestion – try his Tamil works. Way better than most of his Hindi compositions.
    I haven’t watched Gulaal, but I have heard ‘Ranaji’. That, and ‘Motumaster’ from Udaan, are the best satirical songs I’ve ever heard.

    1. Yeah, seems like Oscars have jinxed his music :O

      Haven’t heard Motumaster; plan to.

  7. If you thought no one else delivered dialogues worse than Sonam Kapoor, here’s our winner. ~ Lol! I second that 😛

  8. Was it even worth reviewing it? x_x
    the movie suckeddddddddddddd.
    nargis was worth watching though? xD

    1. I’ve written about it hoping it saves someone else’s 200 bucks, 2 hours and a whole lot of brain : )

  9. hi, i went for rockstar nly coz of jab we met..In rockstar i liked some musics ,nt all… Ranbirs acting is the only plus point in the movie….. nice review

  10. u just hit the ball out of the park mate…. nice
    loved ur take on Nargis… 🙂

  11. Hey…this is the first accurate review…even I saw jab we met umpteen number of times….evn love aaj kal for that matter:) but rockstar….I think I will have to watch again not bcoz I liked the movie but because I did not get it:) loved your blog:)

  12. well i feel its all about inducing a “not required” focus given to the lady…..

  13. This review made me get over the pain i suffered through when i watched the movie. Damn it was bad.

    1. Hehe! Glad to be of help with that!

  14. The most pretentious review I’ve seen in a while.
    P.S.: Heer Kaul gives him the alias Jordon when she introduced him to her friends.

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