After all the hype and hoopla that happened around Diwali for Ra.One and its early hysteria settling down, there was one film which was slowly and assuredly making its date intact among the viewers and for more than one reason.
ROCKSTAR which released today on 11.11.11 was in many ways a film eagerly anticipated for I was totally sold on the idea of a Devdas meets Rockstar setting from its initial glimpses.
Couple of things which seemed right from its very offset was Ranbir Kapoor being a good choice for the lead as he has qualities of being vulnerable and a better screen presence among his comparative contemporaries. The youth connect to him more and with a subject like this it was his presence which makes or breaks this one.
Imtiaz Ali is a gifted director and as we can see in previous outings (Socha Na Tha, Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal), his control on the characters and their emotional upswings and downs is a feat which few achieve keeping the sensibility and sensitivity.
And last but not least the biggest factor which totally elevated ROCKSTAR and to such an extent that TIN TIN was given a miss had to be the pure genius of A R Rahman’s music. After a long time I was venturing to a multiplex just to hear its music on the big screen, the last which happened only when TAAL(1999) was to be released.
So all who have been waiting, ROCKSTAR is the film of this year undoubtedly and makes my director’s cut as the best in Hindi Cinema yet for 2011. This is one journey where emotions reach its crescendo as the character progresses from plain to havoc.
Janardhan Jakkar(Ranbir Kapoor) is born from a Jat family in Pitampura, Delhi with a good for nothing reputation in his family. His passion for music and strumming guitar has a sole purpose to being famous; but is always at the receiving end amongst people and friends. His mentor(Kumud Mishra, Amazing) with whom he shares his understanding of life suggests that to create good & soulful music one needs to go through all pains of life and in such an instance he tries to be close with Heer Kaul(Nargis Fakhri).
After initial reluctance and ridicule they become great friends and enjoy all moments of fun and excitement together; with JJ even going to Kashmir and attending her marriage after which she will be flying off to Prague. She names him Jordan while giving his introduction to people around and unaware of their special bond that’s igniting which will be inseparable in time to come.
Having been thrown away from home, he finds refuge in dargah, being a vagabond and connects with his inner self. Fame comes to him with recommendation by famous Shehnai player(Shammi Kapoor) for some recording contracts but the emptiness remains as he is an artiste that cannot be confined in the trap of commerce.
As soon he gets an opportunity for a European tour which is acquired by selling himself to a music magnate (Piyush Mishra, Effective), Jordan embarks on a journey of love to meet Heer who has been suffering from bone marrow but they infuse their lost moments of love with touch and some scorching passion and chemistry. Her days are limited, but the power of love to heal is so tremendous where she responds in being hearty and fine.
With a misunderstanding and Jordan being acquitted as a criminal and deported back to India, the shift happens in a man with rage, angst and being a tormented soul with pain and restlessness; Jordan becomes the bad boy of music and so is his relation with media and crowd.
His detached attitude being a wanderer and with a soul of a bird, Jordan creates music and words to express himself forming an ugly image of destruction.
ROCKSTAR is a very difficult film to make and so is the character but Imtiaz Ali goes all out in giving it a very personal and intimate touch which is rare to find in movies nowadays. It has its inconsistencies and is not a perfect film but there is lot of sincerity in its approach which has been helped by Aarti Bajaj’s editing in making the film jump back and forth to good effect. Note the introduction of Jordan to a live audience interspersed with Janardhan singing “Jo bhi main kehna chahoon.” Anil Mehta’s camera moves closely along with the main character from his transition as Janardhan to Jordan with terrific visuals and imagery and the crowd scenes has been shot with great aplomb.
Music is the backbone of this film and A R Rahman just proves why he was chosen to be associated for such a complex narration for expressing Jordan. It takes an extraordinary effort by him to immerse us in this tale and Imtiaz utilizes his creations with the correct placing.
The supporting cast of Aditi Rao Hydari as a journalist covering the life of Jordan and Shernaz Patel are competent. Was very heartening to watch late Shammi Kapoor in his last act as a Shehnai player and he conveys a lot of warmth just by his screen presence. The dichotomy of fame jugalbandi is a treat for music lovers on screen.
Nargis Fakhri is bit of a weak link in an otherwise perfect choice of casting, but nevertheless being a new face brings a certain amount of freshness to this project. A scene where she walks for a hug being pale and sick is imaginatively haunting and a beautiful moment.
Ranbir Kapoor gives a smashing performance as Janardhan/Jordan which will be discussed in years to come and he has Imtiaz to thank for penning a character which transforms him through various emotions right till its culmination. He holds the film all on his own like a true Rockstar, asking us for more and never letting us believe if a star is enacting it.
Sheer madness and moments in movies is rare to find where, one does not have to please every individual. ROCKSTAR has a heart where love knows no bounds, where right or wrong is immaterial, love brings certain wildness in you and if one has ever reached such an epitome, don’t think twice. Go for it.