Rock On

When Farhan said ‘Rock On’ I was eager to rock with him…and after watching the film I am still rocking! Yet another cult film from Farhan’s stable (since he is the producer), Rock On is an instant hit. I followed the message at the end of the film and bought myself a DVD of the music album…and as I croon with Farhan now, let me type out why the movie clicked for me…

DISCLAIMER: I hate most reviews since they give away the story line…and so while I write my own, I am extra careful about not having any spoilers. But to talk about a movie without giving away some crucial elements is a dampner too…so I’ll attempt to bring out the elements in the film, without giving away the story line!

Joe, Rob, KD (killer drummer) and Adi (Aditya) together make Magik – interestingly, the first sequence of the film where they discuss their song is all shot in a long shot where you hardly get to see the faces of the characters except for Rampal’s (my guess is that he is the only character who didn’t have a curiosity factor!)…the musical instruments and gadgets have of course been shot very stylistically, with shift focus and the works…! The real faces come forth in the band’s first performance ‘Socha Hai’…a song that makes you get up and jump.

Post the casting, its cut to present day – A guy in a night club, tries to make a joke and is deserted by his female friends, unperturbed, he continues to dance alone. A struggling guitarist refuses to let go off his past, lives with his once sweet-girlfriend-turned-nagging-wife, son and grandma. A music composer dabbles with his unpublished notes in a Bollywood music composer’s studio; despite the praise, he is unfazed. A successful investment banker is married to a pretty and doting wife, lives in a swanky apartment and drives a BMW. He is promoted to a 14th floor office, but that too is not a reason for him to smile. There is a sense of gloom in their lives; no one knows what the reason is. As the narrative unfolds, there are snatches of flashback where the back story is revealed…a group of college yuppies who swear by their music and even sing Nadeem – Shravan numbers during dandiya to make money and buy equipment for a gig! Those were the happier days, when the foursome jammed in a shady basement…and had big dreams of cutting an album. As events turn, the friendship is soured and the band members disband each other and their collective dream. Life thereon is never the same…while KD reconciles to his job at his father’s store, Rob tinkers on his keyboard half heartedly, Joe plays his guitar on an odd occasion and broods over the days gone by and Adi forgets that he ever had a musical past.

The rest of the film is about how these characters get together to relive or let’s say fulfill their dreams. After all it is a film that says, it’s never too late to chase one’s dreams…!

I can watch the film again…here is why:

‘Dil Chahta Hai’ Factor – ‘Friends, dosti, forever’ is the central theme. There are a few things that you can never do without friends…this is a film just about that! Charting a character’s life from early twenties to mid thirties is difficult territory since most characters are above the exposed age group. All four lead characters have done a superb job of it. The frivolity of youth makes way for mature and almost responsible thinking at a later age.

The Music – Despite being a film about rock music, the music album will find its space in every music lover’s collection. Shankar –Ehsaan –Loy have delivered no doubt, but the real star in the music score is of course Farhan and his vocal cords! Until yesterday, I had only heard two songs on the radio (Rock On and Socha Hai), but the rest of the album is as compelling as the first two! You will want to stand, jump with the pump, sway with a lighted candle and even head bang with the band members!

Fine acting – For once, the characters speak their minds. Of course most of it is possible due to the marvelous portrayal of characters by the actors. Prachi ‘Bani’ Desai’s celluloid debut maybe not as dynamic, but she has played her character (Sakshi) to perfection. Within her limited on-screen presence, she has proved that she is worth playing a leading lady. Shahana Goswami a.ka. Debbie is the other power-house of talent in the film. Purab a.k.a Killer Drums / KD is of course great with his sense of humor, but its high time he gets a well sketched role. Luke Kenny a.k.a. Rob is mild yet lovable…the twist in his story at the end of the film is of course a little contrived. Rampal a.k.a Joe is good only in parts; through most of the film he is seen brooding (a tad more than the others) with a stoned face! And lastly, Farhan. To me, Farhan A.ka. Aditya Shroff / Adi is the best of the lot. I have always believed that a good director has to be a good actor if he wants his actors to translate his vision on celluloid…Farhan has just given us a glimpse of what a fine actor he is. Look out for Adi when he is unadulterated yet calculated in his interaction with his band members in the flashback scenes…and watch him in his somber and comprising avtar when he leads his life as an investment banker.

Narrative – There are many ways to tell a story…begin in the present and go into a flashback, then return to the present to continue the story. Or begin in the flashback to flow into the present. In both cases, till the interval, you know what the crux of the story is and how it will be resolved in the second half…Rock On has rocked this funda too! The constant back and forth makes it an interesting watch.

And yes…I did have a few frowns too:
The scene where the band parts ways could have been better written.
Adi’s realization that his life is incomplete without music seemed a little fragmented to me.
His love affair in the flashback scenes seems abrupt.
The scene where the foursome gets together again is wimp.
Rob’s turning point and his friends confronting him is too clichéd.

Its little wonder that Abhishek Kapoor (his claim to fame is that he is Jitender’s nephew and Twinkle Khanna’s one-time boyfriend) has written a story and directed it well too…I believe (much akin to the Aamir-Ashutosh-Lagaan myth) Farhan’s cinematic sense has been generously peppered through the making of this film! I could be wrong…but I’d like to believe it that way…

I’d say…Watch ‘Rock On’ for:
1) A story that anyone can connect with…it’s never too late to chase your dreams!
2) The music…you will LOVE it! And finally,
3) Farhan Akhtar – the actor and the singer – he is simply irresistible!

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