In 2007, Imtiaz Ali released a film called Jab We Met. The film started with an average response, but became a blockbuster within weeks after its release thanks to the great soundtrack, chemistry between the lead pair and captivating screenplay. And while I didn’t particularly like his last movie, Love Aaj Kal, I was excited to see what he and Ranbir Kapoor could come up with in Rockstar.
Rockstar follows JJ a.k.a. Jordan (Ranbir Kapoor), a small town singer who has a dream of becoming the next great rock star like Jim Morrison. While he can sing, his adviser tells him that to become a true artist, he needs to feel raw emotions like heartbreak. Jordan starts pursuing Heer Kaur (Nargis Fakhri) to experience this. Their relationship evolves and Jordan manages to find fame.
This isn’t the first rock movie to come from Bollywood; in 2008 came Rock On featuring Farhan Akhtar and Arjun Rampal and in 2009 came Vipul Shah’s London Dreams featuring Ajay Devgan and Salman Khan. Rockstar reminded me a lot of London Dreams as both movies explored the struggle and pain fame brings.
Rockstar is a Ranbir Kapoor film. He is the soul of this movie and handles the role phenomenally. There isn’t a single scene where he goes over the top. In this film Ranbir proves that he is miles ahead of his colleagues and you can easily see him making the Kapoor name proud in Bollywood.
And while as phenomenal the lead actor is, debutante Nargis Fakhri is a big letdown. Her role is a good one and she manages to overact in 90% of the scenes given to her. I can’t help but think how Kareena Kapoor or a younger Kajol could have really done it justice. I normally try to give people a second chance but advice to Nargis would be to stick to modeling because acting is really going to be an upwards struggle for her.
Imtiaz Ali really let’s down his audience this time. While the premise is good, execution fails miserably. He can’t seem to decide fit if this is a love story, a musician’s rise to fame, or how stars have to struggle with exploitation and extreme media attention. The love story doesn’t tug at your heart strings and Jordan’s rise to fame isn’t well executed. The end of the movie seems to come abruptly, as if the director decided that 3 hours was enough and it was time to wrap everything up with a video montage and quotes by Rumi. Leaving the role of Heer in such an incapable actress is another unforgivable mistake made by Imtiaz (who managed to extract a decent performance in Love Aaj Kal from the otherwise wooden Deepika Padukone).
He however must be commended for having A.R. Rahman score the soundtrack. The lyrics compliment the situations perfectly and Mohit Chauhan provides Ranbir a believable voice. “Saada Haq” is the high point of the album but the other gem “Sheher Mein” was unfortunately clipped in the movie.
Rockstar is yet another disappointment from Bollywood this year. While it will cement Ranbir’s position as an actor to be taken seriously, I recommend sitting at home and enjoying the soulful soundtrack instead.
1.5 stars 1 star out of 5 (looking back on my previous reviews, I realized that MBKD was indeed better, and thus Rockstar lost half a star)
P.S. Once again, The Vigil Idiot does a fabulous job of expressing my sentiments about this movie.
Janardan, born and brought up in the very middle class locality of Pitampura in Delhi, has a larger than life dream – of being a rockstar like Jim Morrison! But all he gets from his reluctant audience is ridicule and humiliation. He’s at his wit’s end, when he realizes that all musical stars; all artists in fact, have one thing in common. And that is tragedy. They all have tragic lives. They have all suffered painful heartbreaks to become what they are. Alas, there is no pain in Janardan’s life – it is an oasis of peace. Unless he does something drastic, he will never become a rockstar. Heer Kaul is the undisputed diva of the college campus – beautiful, talented, arrogant, rich, and unavailable. She has broken many hearts. . Janardan hopes she will break his heart too. He sets out to woo Heer with the sole object of getting his heart broken. Rock star is the journey of a boy – who leaves behind Janardan to become Jordan; who traverses the highs and lows of life – from simple naivete to tortured soul, from the pleasure of unaffected friendship to the torment of unrequited love, from the campus in Delhi to the international stage… He ultimately gets all that his heart has ever desired…but in the process shatters / loses his heart forever..
Written and directed by Imtiaz Ali and produced by Eros Entertainment, the film released worldwide on November 11th, 2011.