Friday, November 11, 2011


Ranbir’s The One

Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar may be one long, chaotic rehash of many films, adding to an unimpressive whole, but what it definitely does is establish once and for all, that Ranbir Kapoor is the leader of the pack of his generation of actors. Even of the character is plays is muddled and juvenile, Ranbir makes him believable, likeable and sympathetic.  The same can’t be said of leading lady Nargis Fakhri who is saddled with the one of the most irritating female leads in recent times, and coasts along with a weak smile and a pout.
Delhi dude Janardan Jakhar (Kapoor), is glued to his guitar  (how does a middle class boy afford one, leave aside how he learns to play it) and wants to be Jim Morrison. He is innocent or stupid enough to take seriously the words of the college canteen man Khatana (Kumud Mishra--excellent) that true art comes from heartbreak and pain.
JJ tries to woo the college “dil todne ki machine” Heer Kaul (Fakhri), who, like Katrina Kaif in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, wants to live life before she gets married—the implication being that even in 2011, girls believe that life ends with marriage. Her idea of ‘life’ is watching desi porn, drinking hooch and dancing in cheap discos. JJ, renamed Jordon by her, is quite alright with Heer getting married to a man from Prague, and even helps at the wedding.  When he returns he is kicked out of home spends time in a dargah and comes back to sign up with a music company and get on the road to rockstardom.
The spiritual epiphany he gains at the dargah is an interesting point, and you’d want to see where it leads, but Imtiaz Ali doesn’t even go down that road, because an awakening in the philosophical sense is not what he wants for JJ, he has go through heartbreak of a prosaic variety. It is, of course, never clear whether singer-guitarist JJ is also a composer and songwriter or just the act of strumming results in song.
He wrangles from the music company boss (Piyush Mishra—sad caricature) a trip to Europe, looks up Heer and they do their “gandh machana” act again, though Ali is cautious and coy about the sex. It is established that Heer is sad and depressed, it turns out that she is also terminally ill.
You start groaning at this point and don’t stop till the end.  Jordan aka JJ goes about singing, becomes the bad boy of music with the kind of media and fan following the real life Ranbir would envy, and sings Sadda Haq Ethhe Rakh, without any discernable traces of a social conscience or anti-establishment rebellion.  His sole focus is the dying Heer, the morbidly curious media—a part of the film is from the point of view of an investigative TV reporter, but that track is left hanging—and getting into a variety of grungy rockstar gear.
In a love story today—even of a doomed Devdas type --you’d want spirit, red hot passion, care-a-damn-attitude, not a fainting damsel whose blood count has greater significance than her torpid temperament.  Why couldn’t a modern muse have been vigorous, challenging, inspiring?
For all its posing and great visuals,  Rockstar is a boring, disappointing film, saved only by the rigour Ranbir Kapoor brings on — he is let down by the film’s lack of depth and originality.


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