Rating: *** (Extra marks for good music)
Actors: Ranbir Kapoor, Kumud Mishra, Shammi Kapoor, others are negligible.
Director: Imtiaz Ali
A week after the release, the frenzy is over, promotion campaigns have come to a peaceful halt, everyone has seen the film once, the film is a hit and moreover has been praised by critics. I was one of those few who went to watch the film on the first day. I decided to hold back my opinion this time, for reviewing Rockstar just after watching the film would produce inaccurate results.
In the first few scenes of the film, you can see the crowd going crazy over a Rockstar called Jordan. As it turns out Jordan is our protagonist who is currently Acting crazy with the police and running across the streets of a country to get to his concert. The visuals are stunning. The message is clear, "Hold it! Not yet, We've got this great stuff coming up in the climax, but first listen to a boring love story." You expect what is coming next. That pretty much sums up the plot.
For a film titled Rockstar it is quite essential for the makers to weave a powerful character, mine a great voice and hunt for the best most unique rock music you can aptly associate with the character. Ranbir Kapoor, Mohit Chauhan and A.R. Rahman are the Best solution for this cubic-equation. And so when either of them are in action Rockstar rocks.
Ranbir Kapoor gives his career best by playing Jordan. He lives the character too well, its because of him that the crowd doesn't leave the theatre half-way through. Kumud Mishra (plays Mr. Khatana) does a fine job too. He is tailor stitched into the role of the canteen owner and mentor to his most frequent visitor (Ranbir Kapoor). Infact Kumud Mishra's acting is so realistic that you mistake him as an actual canteen owner.
A.R. Rahman's music is the life and soul of this movie. 14 Tracks with 6 musical set pieces from the god of music is enough to make any movie watchable. Add to that Imtiaz Ali intelligently fits them in the movie. All 14 Tracks are quite remarkable and singling out anyone as the best will mean disregarding other 13. It's surely the best of Rahman we've heard in a few years, it's a memorable masterpiece and it surely is the best music composed this year.
A special note about Sadda Haq here: It is indeed the best shot rock song taking all the 3 Hindi Rock films into consideration. The song captures the audience, it makes them shout out the lyrics. It has the best guitar composition heard in years and Sadda Haq alone is worth the price of the ticket. Amazingly shot, breathtaking and crowd capturing. Again, I'm not saying that it is the best song of the album (all our equally good) but it is surely the best shot song. Naadan Parindey is also similarly great and is a Climax Feast.
The Cinematography is also good. The film looks beautiful, (something you'd credit to Yash Raj Films, and Sanjay Leela Bansali films from 1990s). The scenes in Prague have been beautifully shot. Jordan's performances have been shot well, Infact they are the high-points in the movie. Anil Mehta has done the hard work and it pays off.
Coming to what is bad in the film: To start with, Nargis Fakhri's acting and her dubbing is a big let down. Her voice is flatter and more unemotional than Virtual Voice Assistants. Along with Nargis Fakhri all the side-kicks that are related to her in the film also show similar intentions to act bad or act mechanically. There is a lot Imtiaz Ali could have gained by selecting a better actress for this role and there isn't much that he has achieved by choosing her.
Apart from Fakhri's acting, Imtiaz Ali's writing also disappoints. While the major portion of the first hour is interesting and has some really memorable instances, the next hour and half is incoherent, sluggish and gradually looses the grip. However the situation is not deadly bad here, Imtiaz Ali is to be awarded for some innovative and intelligent writing.
The editing too is a bit rough. Patches are visible everywhere and it is clear that the ever increasing length of the film was cropped unevenly. Also with the huge bag of censor cuts under it's name, Rockstar struggles at conjuring a neat trick.
One of the biggest flaws of the film is that it takes a lot of time to fly (I.e. kick start its engine of progress). And when it does take off, it's a very short take off and the film is back to bore you.
So that's it Rockstar is half a job done, while Ranbir Kapoor, A.R. Rahman, Imtiaz Ali and Anil Mehta have given their heart and soul in the film, others fail miserably.
There is one more thing, Rockstar grows on you. (And that's why you cannot review the film just after watching the film. This effect takes time to grow.)