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.
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!