Rockstar is not likely to rock

Producer: Shree Ashtavinayak, Eros International.
Director: Imtiaz Ali.
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Nargis Fakhri, Aditi Rao, Kumud Mishra, Piyush Mishra, Shernaz Patel, Shammi Kapoor.

MUMBAI: With a title like Rockstar, popular young actor Ranbir Kapoor in the lead, and A R Rahman scoring music, one would think the makers had landed a dream project. Also, the director Imtiaz Ali has a hit, Jab We Met, behind him. But it would be a challenge for him to make the film work in a country where the rock and pop culture exists only in name; not to mention that few such themes have worked earlier.

Ranbir Kapoor, Janardan turned Jordan, is a Jat from Delhi, armed with a guitar; his family is as dehati as it can be with trucking as the family business. His aim is to become a rock star someday but he gets rejected in audition after audition. He may dress like any college-going youth and carry a guitar but is otherwise supposed to be so na?ve that just about everybody around him becomes an advisor.

The chief advisor is the eating-joint owner, Khatana Bhai, Kumud Mishra, who tells him that to be a successful artist one has to be heartbroken. Towards this end, Ranbir Kapoor picks the most impossible of girls on the campus, Nargis Fakhri, to woo with a certainty of rejection. She obliges, having broken many hearts before. The sequence is funny but does not qualify in Kumud Mishra‘s opinion as a proper heartbreak.

Soon enough Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis Fakhri become friends and he discovers the other side of her, the one that wants to explore everything like watching a semi-porn film, drinking tharra and so on since she is soon to marry and move on to Prague. Why Prague? Maybe they offer a better package for film shootings and give people, already much exposed to other countries in Europe, a new location, however strange it may sound that a Hindi pop singer is touring Prague for a concert where the number of Indian expats is less than 100! So far so good, but once the girl is married off, both realise they loved each other (the theme of numerous films recently).

Once she is married and gone, so has any semblance of story and logic in the film. On paper, the love between Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis Fakhri is supposed to be like Laila-Majnu or Shirin-Farhad but in execution it fails to touch you at all and you don‘t know if the priority here is love or sex. From the mostly white audience at the concert in Prague to the local press going gaga over Ranbir Kapoor, this part is not acceptable even with a fistful of salt. Soon one does not know why things are happening as they are and what location the story is now in.

The story and script look like the film is going on the one-liner story idea it started with. But repeated flashbacks and now-on now-off romance gets tiring. Direction is messy.

Considering its title, the film fails in the music department: there is nothing one can carry along after watching the film. In usual Rahman fashion, the music is noisy and eats up the lyrics of songs. The shehnai vs guitar is a novel idea but does not work. Photography is good. Editing is slack. Though Ranbir Kapoor gives one of his better performances, one wishes he had better songs to perform on; how long can you go on watching a guitar-strumming man perform the same kind of noisy numbers? Nargis Fakhri is passable in her debut film but lacks sex appeal. Of the rest, Aditi Rao and Kumud Mishra do well; a special appearance by Shammi Kapoor is appreciated.

Rockstar has opened to average opening response and unfavourable reports. This one is not likely to rock. 

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