Even if you ignore his surname for a moment, Ranbir Kapoor is arguably one of the most naturally talented actors in today’s Bollywood. In addition to this, his good looks ensure female fan following, read: rake in more moolah. His ‘Rockstar’ may have just been his most intense and splendid performance till date.
‘Rockstar’ begins at a concert in Rome and someone scuffling with ruffians. It is soon revealed that the ‘someone’ is Jordan, a major rockstar, labeled a bad-boy by the media and someone who hardly smiles. Cut to his college days, there’s the simple Janardan Jahkar or JJ strumming his guitar and singing for the local audience and his days in the college canteen gorging samosas and idolizing Jim Morrison.
When his well-wisher and canteen manager Katana, played impressively by Kumud Mishra tells him that a true artist needs to be driven by hurt and anguish, JJ curses his simple and incident-free life. Just to get his heart broken, he chases the college bombshell, Heer Kaul (Nargis Fakhri). Eventually, it turns out that under the prim and proper exterior Heer is thrill-seeker and the two become wild friends.
What begins as a fun-filled friendship takes different shades as the time passes. On one hand, Heer drowns into depression without our hero, whom she re-christens as ‘Jordan’. And, Jordan’s yearning for her company brings out the performer in him.
In what is probably the best portrayal of what goes on in a creative head, the story brings depth and makes its audience feel for JJ. Despite the negative publicity he gets as Jordan, he’s a simple guy who yearns for love. Noticeably, it is only after his tryst with Heer that his motive in life changes from chasing success to something else. During the process, success merely becomes a byproduct he is least interested in.
Director Imtiaz Ali plays around with the story’s chronology. It is likely that the editors too may have actually lost track in between. Repeated scenes, songs and too much of flash-back or forth gets annoying after a point. The restlessness among the audience was very apparent as the movie seemed to go on forever.
Talking of performances, Ranbir surely has a line of awards waiting for him. Nargis Fakhri, the American with Pakistani antecedents who plays the leading lady is truly beautiful and has been a Kingfisher calendar girl; but not as gifted with acting skills. The film also marks Shammi Kapoor’s last screen appearance as he plays an Ustaad who recognizes JJ’s talent. Aditi Rao Hydari plays a small role as a Journalist.
AR Rahman’s music is integral to the story and songs have already become runaway hits. ‘Sadda Haq’, ‘Kun Faya Kun’, ‘Jo Bhi Main’, with Mohit Chauhan as the Rockstar’s voice and ‘Katiya Karun’ give the album an eclectic blend of rock, desi flavor and Sufi mysticism. Again, some more awards are in the waiting here.
Cinematography too is well done, especially the jerky shots and quirky angles that capture the actors’ emotions effectively. Be it the by lanes of Delhi, picturesque Europe or Breathtaking beautiful Kashmir winter, the excellence with the camera is undeniable. The realistic costumes complement the camera work.
The dialog is very smart and the first half evokes laughter and stands up ably as things turn serious in the second half. You may blame the script for some of its flaws, but asking for perfection when portraying emotions and out of the ordinary relationships is a monumental challenge. So, to say, it’s a job moderately well done.
So, should you be watching this movie? The answer is a resounding ‘Yes’! Granted, the story gets a little lost in the second half, but the rest of the goodies will make you overlook its flaws. The movie is powerful enough to keep you thinking much after you are out of the movie hall. If you still haven’t seen it, go for it!
Rating 7/10: Ranbir’s stellar performance nearly makes up for the movie’s flaws