Rockstar: Some music, much noise

Gloom, turmoil and good intentions alone don't make a great film. The only saving grace is Ranbir Kapoor. What's all the fuss about?

If you are thinking of Jab we met when you are watching director Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar, it’s a memory you’ll have to soon forget. Missing is the refreshingly original sense of humour that you have come to expect in an Imtiaz Ali film. Even when you do find traces of that old familiar magic, it’s soon lost in this dark and brooding tale of the making of a rockstar.

Playing the rockstar is Ranbir Kapoor, supported by debutant Nargis Fakhri. The film also has the sentimental appeal of being Shammi Kapoor’s last film, albeit in a cameo role.

To Imtiaz’s credit, Rockstar does retain a unique perspective and the artist’s turmoil is etched in every frame. But missing is Imtiaz’s rare gift for almost perfect story telling that we first glimpsed in Jab we met. This is no small disappointment for a true blue Imtiaz fan.

Gloom, turmoil and good intentions alone don’t make a great film, it’s also about how you tell your tale. Here’s where we miss the inspired editing that defined Imtiaz’s earlier work, which could have transformed this into a razor-edged dark narrative.

Consequently, the film soon gets stuck in no man’s land. The typical Hindi cinema audience would find the film too slow and even convoluted, and an international film audience would find it lacking complexity. 

The music from A R Rahman has its charm, yet die-hard rock fans would remain disappointed, as most were in Rock On. This remains a genre that Hindi cinema still has to get right. Predictably, connections between rock and both protest music and the environmental movement, which the director attempts to make, are also over simplified.    

Just around the corner!

Cinema lovers in Bangalore can watch out for the Indo-German film festival between November 18-24, 2011 at Lavanya Theatre (on St John’s Road in Ulsoor). The festival runs under the motto of "Two nations-one screen", and will bring a host of Indian and international films to the city. Passes are being issued for the event by Max Mueller Bhavan and Suchitra Film Society.

The only saving grace is Ranbir Kapoor, who puts in a convincing angst-ridden performance as Jordan. After Wake up Sidd, Rocket Singh and Rajneeti, Ranbir makes audiences sit up and take notice of him again. Nargis struggles to keep up. While the two do make a watchable duo, they don’t sparkle.

All things considered, I’d go with a rating of 2.5 for this film- if only because Ranbir Kapoor adds another little gem to his gradually increasing repertoire of performances. If anyone is wondering what the fuss about this Kapoor is all about, watch Rockstar to find out!

Rating: The ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and try to strike that difficult balance between cinematic critique and giving the regular film buff a peek into what’s playing in town and worth a watch.

1: Watch this film only if the director pays you
2: You could safely give this film a miss
2.5: A one time watch
3: Good cinema. Money well spent
4: Great cinema. A standing ovation
5: Simply speechless. A masterpiece.

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