Sunday, December 14, 2008

Why is the sky blue, why is Farhan Akhtar perfect? Rock On!! review, now with bonus fangirlism.

Dear Mrs. Farhan Akhtar,

It's not in my right to speculate how your marriage came into being nor does it feel right to try and hunt down that piece of information via Google or otherwise. Regardless, I'd just want to congratulate you and wish you a lasting and wonderful marriage and life.

Yours sincerely,


PS. You do know that there are about a billion women on this earth who are incredibly jealous of your position?

PS. He named your second kid Akira?! Ohmygod. I bet you'd hate him if he wasn't so completely awesome.

So yeah. I watched Rock On!! and despite all the hype surrounding it, I wasn't the least bit disappointed. Of course it deals with a number of rock film clichés, and you have a pretty good idea of what's going to happen, but regardless of that, while watching, I was just sucked in by the story-telling and the clever-not-too-clever narrative and the solid performances all around.

It says something about 2008 as a filmi year, I suppose, that I honestly think this could be my favourite film of the year so far. Fine, there's a ton of films I've missed but even the ones I've liked and bought on DVD, or considered buying on DVD, have been "just okay" as film experiences. I've liked a film, really liked a film, but only Rock On!! has been a film I've *loved*.

Part of what makes the story work so well is the relative realism and lack of over-dramatization of situations and people. You know, there's a few nasty people in the film but they're not portrayed as complete villains. At the core, the emotions are real and present, however, and I especially liked Prachi Desai as Shakhi, wife of Aditya (Farhan Akhtar), who begins to unravel the mystery of the man she married and sets things in motion. The scenes of confrontation between her and him were also the key moments when I realized that Farhan is as capable an actor as he is a director.

At the same time, the film is keen on some filminess, and so certain improbable moments don't make you groan at their impossibility, but rather cherish them.

The soundtrack is of course made by the true rockstars of India, Shankar-Ehsan-Loy, and it's a solid rock record, though I did find myself wishing they'd break Bollywood pattern and showcase some genuine desirock bands on the record as well. Farhan's voice fits the songs and while the lyrics aren't made of deep world-altering thoughts, they're lovely. It backs up the film's central idea of rock ; as a fun way of self-expression, free of rules and regulations of more classical music. In the West, progress has lead to unpleasant phenomenons like rock elitism and categorization of music into every sub-genre imaginable. Rock On!! portrays a pure, simple view of rock that some fans of the music genre would snort at but I personally embrace. It's what rock should be - picking up an instrument and learning how to play it just for the fun of it, playing in a band because it adds something to your life.

Besides liking Arjun Rampal (who's been great in everything I've seen him recently - even if most of what I've seen have been small side roles in films like OSO, KANK, Don..), I couldn't put my finger on where I'd seen Purab Kohli (who played KD) before. Then it hit me. He was Nigel in the wonderful Onir film My Brother Nikhil. He was just ace here.

It seems sort of silly to say "a movie you don't want to miss out on", but I know how we Bollywood fans are - sometimes only keeping our eye on the big budget entertainers with truckloads of stars and glamour in them. So give this film a chance, you guys. Farhan is great (and easy on the eyes), the rest of the cast is great, the music is catchy and the story wonderful. Out on DVD now!


Darshit said...

I liked Prachi a lot. And farhan was awesome.
What abt the girl who playd Arjun's wife-Shahaana Goswami? She was amazing.

Purab earlier starred in 'woh lamhe' too...

memsaab said...

I think Arjun is sadly overlooked (how? HOW? He is so beautiful!) and look forward to seeing this one :)

Anita said...

Loved Rock On and was thoroughly impressed with Farhan. Though, now I'm not sure if I want to see more of him as a director or more as an actor, because I love both, and I can only really have one at a time! :P

Speaking of movies in 2008, I feel like there were a LOT of decent movies, but nothing mind-blowing. The best so far was probably Jodhaa-Akbar or Dostana or something like that, but I haven't felt completely enthralled by any of the movies. I'm not sure if that's a good thing, though, because there ARE a LOT of movies and they're all based on extremely varied topics...

veracious said...

Darshit, indeed, she too gave a great performance. It'd be difficult to find a lacking performance in the movie, in general.

memsaab - Hope you get to see it soon!

Anita - I have the same dilemma. On one hand I want more solidly directed films like his. On the other .. I just want to oggle at him on-screen. :P

Exactly, no movie has made me go crazy with love for it or anything. Not that many films in 2007 did, either, but there were some very clear favourites. This year even the good ones I've been less than enthusiastic about. Jodha-Akbar was good but so long and exhaustingly epic, Dostana was funny but lacked in the 2nd half, Jaane Tu at the end of the day I was not a fan of.. It's really odd!

Andromache said...

Really liked this movie, though I saw a version of it with really screwed up subtitles so I withhold final judgement until I see it with better translation.

Anyway, random thought: I really liked the scene in the beginning with Farhan's wife talking to her friend. You rarely get to see friendship between women explored in movies, so I appreciated that!

Agreed on:
-Farhan being great.
-Arjun Rampal really hitting his stride lately.
-Purab Kohli!!

Filmi Girl said...

I'm so glad you loved this!!!! It was the only film that really grabbed me this year, too. I was amazed at how accurate the depictions of the relationships between the band members was and how few rock movie cliches they used.

Plus, the soundtrack was rocking! :)

In conclusion we need more Purab Kohli and Arjun Rampal!

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Completely unrelated to the post: Congratulations on being featured in Filmfare! I found out from Beth, and decided to congratulate, though u've been super modest and made no mention of it :)

ajnabi said...

It's not in my right to speculate how your marriage came into being nor does it feel right to try and hunt down that piece of information via Google or otherwise.

Whaaaaaa? I don't understand these words. Don't celebrities exist for our gossip mills and their "personal lives" as a massive publicity front? ;-) All kidding aside, I hope to see this film soon; I like Arjun!

babasko said...

Oh i love that you loved Rock On!! as did I. It was the first movie I saw in an Indian cinema, so after first viewing I didnt know whether I loved it just because I love sitting in Chennai in reclining leather chair getting my internet ordered snacks brought to my seat and generally loving every minute I spent there, or if it really was the film.
So I watched it thrice. And bought the DVD. And still love it. And envy Mrs. Akhtar for being able to walk into the bathroom when F. is taking a shower whenever she feels like it.

veracious said...

Andromache - That is true, about girls and friends. Which is why a female DCH probably is an unlikely thing to happen.

Filmi Girl - Totally agreed! Some clichés were there (corporate interference = badbadbad!) but they ended up being pretty believable, like the sort of thing that actually does happen to bands and could happen to bands in India.

ajnabi - I try to keep it sane, or sane-sounding if nothing else.

Shweta - Thank you. I didn't promote the fact but glad to see somebody spotted it.

Babasko - Great to see you around! I've yet to see this more than once but it's something my filmi-tolerating/liking friends might enjoy so I'll be showing it to them later.

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