Saturday, August 30, 2008
Rock On!! Movie Review
It is good to see Bollywood movies breaking the norm, because for me a Hindi film that is not run-of-the-mill is worth seeing. Rock On!! starts off with 4 guys tuning their instruments in a 'studio' that could only be called that because the acoustics of the dilapidated room seem to be good enough. We get a glimpse of how they go about making their music - Aditya (Farhan Akhtar) explains the theme of his lyrics which is to ask the most basic of questions (Why is the sky blue? Why is the earth round?), Rob (Luke Kenny) on the keyboard says he will start off with D major as Kedar (Purab Kohli) on the drums jokes that that's the way he always starts and Joe (Arjun Rampal) mentions his contribution to the song on the guitar. It's nice to see how Magik (the somewhat lame name of the band) come up with their music and the scene ends with Aditya claiming that no one 'takes over' in their band. It's immediately evident why Magik ceases to exist as the film jumps to the present day.
With the four band members either still living or trying to escape their past, Rock On!! moves between the past and the present nicely. The present seems to move along a bit too slowly though, but maybe that's because it’s such a stark contrast to the great high of the music that Magik dishes out. One of the highlights of the movie is Magik taking part in a music competition that could give them the break they've been striving for. Aditya brings the crowd into the mix as he makes them go 'na na na na' when he raises his hand and he goes into the zone using the energy from the crowd to elevate what on paper sounds like a pretty ordinary song. Sure, it’s quite unrealistic how the crowd responds to a raised hand but it worked for me and the guys on stage aren't just good musicians, they are good showmen.
Farhan Akhtar likes to make impressive debuts. Dil Chahta Hai was a classy directorial debut and now he takes the lead in a group of exceptionally well cast relative unknowns. The movie is about doing what you love and when you're presented with a chance to follow your passion, go ahead and take it for not everyone gets a second chance. It is a simplistic view and Joe's wife Debbie (Shahana Goswami) beseeches her husband to do what is right for his family rather than follow a dream that derailed his life the first time he chased it. Shahana plays Debbie with the right mix of street smart spunk and the love that she has for her all too innocent husband is apparent when she has a mostly one-sided conversation with Aditya about how not everyone has luck on their side. The rest of the cast do amicably and Purab Kohli getting to play the funny guy, puts a broad smile on your face with his rendition of 'I will survive'.
Rock On!! is, however, longer than it should have been and at times, the director's focus on showcasing the artistic excellence of his shots dilutes the actual emotions that come out from the actors. Some of the scenes between Aditya and his wife, Sakshi (Prachi Desai) seem artificial just because of the above mentioned reason. The ending montage that lets us know what the protagonists go on to become, also seemed a bit unrealistic. But there are more highs than lows in this movie, and with Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy doing a great job with the music, you've got a more than decent offering from Abhishek Kapoor and Farhan Akhtar. I like that some movies from the Bollywood stable are pushing the boundaries as to what Indian filmmakers can do, and that's reason enough for me to recommend this movie.
My rating: 7/10