Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rock on movie review

Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal, Purab Kohli, Luke Kenny, Prachi Desai, Shahana Goswami, Koel Purie

Director: Abhishek Kapoor

Producer: Farhan Akhtar, Ritesh Sidhwani

Rating: ***1/2

It's certainly no Dil Chahta Hai, but as a director, producer or even actor, Farhan Akhtar always rocks! As for the director, Abhishek Kapoor, he seems to have pulled a fast one on us. No one would have believed he had talent too, after we saw him direct a disaster like Aryan or act in a film like Uff Yeh Mohabbat opposite his ex-girlfriend Twinkle Khanna.

Following the pattern of DCH, this one too traces the lives of four friends through flash backs that's just a tad too reminiscent of the former. The first half an hour passes moving back and forth between the past and the present, Aditya (Farhan Akhtar), Joe (Arjun Rampal), KD (Purab Kohli) and Rob's (Luke Kenny) life as college students and life as it is now, presumably the difference between living life and just existing. From a complete crazy rock lifestyle Aditya becomes a businessman, so does KD, Joe becomes a music teacher while living off random concerts at intervals and Rob works at a studio. None of them are in touch with each other.

The cogs are set in action when Sakshi (Prachi Desai), Aditya's wife discovers snaps from his past and decides to invite his previous gang to his birthday party and the awkward air sparks questions. Struggling with their own issues Aditya and Joe do not want to talk about what happened years ago while KD and Rob want to bring the gang together once again.
As issues slowly get resolved a sudden twist cuts short the time that they have to perform on stage and they put everything they have for one last performance on stage.

The problem, simply put, lies in the film's story; it doesn't have one. Most of the film seems like one long album of memories. The good thing is those memories are shot agonizingly well, leaving you just begging for more. And here is where it scores above DCH.

Rock On!! is an extremely well shot film with each shot actually communicating with the audience rather than just moving the film ahead, which is probably what works for the film. It's not pretty locations or vast landscapes to flaunt the size of the film, each frame speaks for itself. You're so caught up with the scenes that you feel a part of it and forget its Achilles heel. Add to it the fact that this is the first Bollywood film that depicts a rock concert, done exceedingly well, the experience is quite exhilarating. The scene when Farhan performs alone on stage dedicating the song to Arjun who's left them and he suddenly pops up on stage and they jam together will really have the audience jumping with the crowd. Director Abhishek Kapoor really out did himself with this one, even if every shot has a 'Farhan Akhtar, the director' trademark to it.

However, that's not the surprise; it's the performances, with exclusive highlight on Farhan Akhtar, he shocks. He's not just good, he's a complete natural. Every scene enacted has an ease that almost seems like candid camera; not to mention he absolutely sizzles on stage. Same goes for the rest of the cast, Purab justifies his role and so does Arjun, a little more work could have gone into Luke; he looks like he's acting. A special mention has to be made of Shahana Goswami for her simply brilliant performance as Arjun Rampal's controlling girlfriend and wife, another natural. A scene where Arjun's sneaking out to practice with the gang and has Shahana trying to make sense of the gibberish that Arjun dishes out to her as an excuse is quite a piece of acting.

The music of this film has been the talk of the town, it being the first of its kind in Bollywood. The songs standalone aren't too great for the rock genre as such, but gel well with the film and set its rhythm. The background score however is something else. It does a good deal to enhance each scene.

It's a complete package with top notch editing, cinematography, direction, music and acting. But for the missing backbone this one is a collector's item. Just the fact that it can stand on its own without a story to back it speaks for itself. As good as it is, however, its subtle treatment might not go down very well with the audience. It's a film suited best for the youth in the metros. Unlike Dil Chahta Hai which had more common themes, there would only be a hand full few who can actually relate to this theme. If you aren't a rock music fan, keep a rock on your heart and watch the film. As in dil par pathar rakhkar dekhna.

But if music be the food of love, Rock On!!!

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