Rockstar: very few rocking moments

Ok then…generally, I never start my reviews like this but this time I have to. So what Rockstar as a movie is all about? Well I don’t know about any of you but to me, Rockstar is that rare popular film that captures the precise moment when music draws a man into the realm of the divine. That moment- set to a haunting Sufi song by A R Rahman- is drawn so movingly and with such affection by director Imtiaz Ali that it’s almost possible to forgive Ali’s absolute blunders in handling the rest of the film.

Rockstar Poster

The film is a story of a man, who’s struggling to find himself; spiritually and artistically, yet billed as a love story and that’s the trouble. The love story angle is so disjointed and overwrought that it will likely to alienate viewers expecting the deft touch of Ali’s earlier hits. In other words, as a viewer you’ll never find a connection or that Imtiaz Ali style of film.

Rockstar is the story of a Delhiboy Janardan J@a%… (Ranbir Kapoor) and this exotic Kashmiri girl Heer (Nargis Fakhri) who meet as students in a Delhicollege. Heer dubs him “Jordan,” and the name sticks. Jordanis a bit of a nerd, but has the music in him; the one thing he’s missing, according to his canteen manager, is angst. “Nobody can make great art until they’ve experienced real pain,” I guess that what he said.

The story kicks off when a family misunderstanding ends up with Jordan thrown out of his family’s home, he seeks refuge at Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, sleeping on its floors with other city outcasts and eating the simple, free food from its kitchen.

Gradually, the charity he experiences there and the power of its Sufi music changes Jordan, and — guitar in hand — he learns to hone his craft by playing for whatever audience will have him, be it a shrine full of Muslim worshipers or a the Jagarata gatherings, random listeners on the street or even the prostitutes in some Mumbai brothel. These scenes are the absolute high point of the film, sparked with Rahman’s inspired music and convincing guitar and vocal performances by Ranbir (with the dubbed vocals of singer Mohit Chauhan).

The love story doesn’t easily fit into this scenario at all. Jordan and Heer are given some charming dialogue and a forbidden-slashed-doomed love affair to work with. But though Fakhri, a Queens, New York-born model of Pakistani and Czech descent, is looks lovely, but as far as her acting is concerned she is painful to watch, her mobile mouth overpowering her face, never quite pulling off the “neat and clean” stunner who wants to get her hands and feet dirty with a bit of rough and absolutely cringingly bad as the unhappy wife whose life is slowly slipping away. She’s too vacant to have much of an impact, much less come off believable as the muse to awaken the artist within Jordan

Technical aspects are well handled, especially the camera work capturing the grand vistas of Kashmir, Dharamsala, Delhi and Prague (But I was bit confused whether it was actually Prague or Rome?).

One incongruous image sticks in the mind. During the film’s most blistering rock anthem, Jordan sings to an audience of Tibetan refugees in Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama’s home in exile. The careful viewer will note that a banner in the background that reads “Free Tibet” has been digitally blurred out — at the orders of India’s censor board, reportedly bowing to Chinese government pressure.

The story lacks any kind of binding element that would make the viewer glued to the screen. Moreover, the film is way too long and at times you get a feel that it’s stretching itself way too much (sitting for two and half hours for a slow and not too great story is not a matter of joke). As far as Ranbir is concerned, he gives a performance of his lifetime, not to mention his Hariyanvi accent is amazing. Also not forget a powerful performance of late Shammi Kapoor. His short, crisp and power-pact acting really confers life to the film, specially, the scene where he and Ranbir does a jugalbandhi.

As said earlier the film lacks any kind of binding substances, the film is too long to actually make today’s generation to sit and the script is way boring and dragging at times confuses you to such an extent that you tell yourself…“can we just fast forward this scene?

Final verdict: If you have immense patience or if you are a die hard Ranbir fan then, go for it because you’ll be up for a real treat.

Rating: 3/5  (Only for the two ‘R’s; Ranbir and Rahman)

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