The movie is is an adaptation of Heer Ranjha but it also borrows from Devdas. The plot is also inspired from Manzil a movie starring Dev Anand and Nutan and it also has traces of Guzaarish and Kites. The movie is based off a very silly premise that great artists have all had tragedies that inspired them. India has never really had a Rockstar but apparently Ranbhir becomes a Rockstar who is not only famous in India but is also famous the world over by singing Hindi songs.
Janardhan aka JJ, a guy from a middle class who surprisingly has an expensive guitar, stalks Heer in order to get his heart broken. They become friendly after a few ridiculous scenes. Since this is an Imtiaz Ali movie the girl has to act cool. So she wants to do a list of bad things before her marriage. She wants to watch B-Grade movies in seedy theaters and wants to drink Desi Daaru. He goes to her wedding and gets a new name Jordan. Once she gets married he is heartbroken by a relationship which does not seem much more than infatuation in the first place.
Once he is back from the wedding he is thrown out of the house. People who get thrown out of the house will probably go to their friend’s or relatives house but our Janardhan goes to a Dargah (an excuse for the song Kun Faya Kun) and has a spiritual moment which lasts for about a minute and which has no significance in the larger part of the narrative. Before Imitiaz gets accused of catering to one particular religious denomination we also have him sing Bhajan just to show that he is not religiously biased.
Two months later he shows up at the house of the guy from the canteen. The canteen guy is apparently very resourceful as he seems to get him a chance at an audition which does not go well. Miraculously (read ridiculously) the music company owner decides to launch him just because a great Shehnai musician asks him to put money on him. And as Bollywood coincidences go they are traveling to Prague which happens to be where Heer is now settled. And as more Bollywood coincidences go he just runs into Heer without an address or anything. They spend some time together and then he gets arrested for causing a nuisance at her house and is deported to India. The media covers his return just as they cover all artists who have not even released any album.
Now Jordan becomes a rebel without a cause, a self destructive Rockstar, who does not attend his commitments. Heer meanwhile is suffering from a terminal bone marrow disease and her sister attends his concert and gives him the message from the crowd of thousands. And just when you think it cannot get any more ridiculous than this we have Jordan traveling to Prague (despite being deported earlier) and is able to miraculously make her walk when she had not been able to walk in three weeks. They start going out with more trouble from the media. She goes into a coma in a pregnant state. Then we have a Kites like ending without the ocean.
Ranbhir overacts a lot and is horrible in the earlier portions with Heer. His performance is somewhat like that of his Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani act. His performance gets better and he acts very well in the Rockstar portions of it but is undone by the script. His character is never properly developed and one never gets what is he angry for. Nargis Fakhri is pathetic and has to be one of the worst actresses ever. She has a very weird face and her lip movement is completely distracting. Its like she is speaking in a English accent and one is not sure if her voice was dubbed or not. Aditi Rao is decent but her character is again not developed well. Piyush Mishra is ok in a cliched role of a music company owner or whatever that he is. Shernaz Patel is as annoying as she was in Guzaarish and here also she seems to be playing a similar character with the terminal patient around. Kumud Mishra is good as Khatana. The late Shammi Kapoor is excellent in the few scenes that he has.
Cinematography by Anil Mehta is pretty good especially when it comes to the beautiful locales. Editing by Aarti Bajaj is horrible. The movie would have made for a better narrative if it was told in a linear manner or may be with one flashback but there are multiple flashbacks. One never gets a sense of whether what is on screen is from a flashback or from the present. Costume design for Ranbhir by Aki Narula is atrocious especially Ranbhir’s look as a Rockstar resembling Che Guevara.
For a movie titled Rockstar the songs are anything but rock music. The only song that is close to Rock Music is “Sadda Haq” (thanks to Orianthi’s guitar piece) which is also somewhat ruined by the silly “eco friendly” lyrics. “Phir Se Ud Chala” sounds like it is inspired from Fast Car by Tracy Chapman. “Katiya Karun” is based on a old Punjabi folk tune with some annoying “Ting Ling” added to it. The song “Jo Bhi Main” has two great lines “Jo Bhi Main Kahna Chahoon Barbaad Kare Alfaaz Mere” but is ruined by the “Yay Yay Yay”. “Kun Faya Kun” is good but is the now standard Sufi song that comes with a Rahman album.
“Sheher Mein” is an attempt to make fun of regular Bollywood song recording but it has already been done before in a much better manner in Akele Hum Akele Tum where a music composer keeps interrupting Aamir’s singing. “Hawaa Hawaa” sounds like a version of “Mayya Mayya” from another country. The song “Nadaan Parindey” is good but it just does not go with the movie especially the way it is used in the movie. Luckily only snippets of songs have been used rather than whole songs. Mohit Chauhan’s singing, which is nothing like that of a rock singer, does suit Ranbhir.
Imtiaz Ali, one of the most overrated directors in Bollywood, keeps making different versions of the same movie. Two people (who are about to engaged or are engaged or are married) fall in love with each other and there is some travel involved (Socha Na Tha, Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal) and speak wannabe cool lingo and this follows a similar path.
It should have been a story about the rise and fall of Rockstar (that sounds like a Madhur Bandarkar movie) but then it also wants to be a regular Bollywood love story and the result is neither. It does not work as a love story (their love never seems much more than physical attraction) or as a story of a Rockstar (not to mention how incongruous a Rockstar is in the Indian context). The movie is then also ruined by all the flashbacks and back and forth, ridiculous scenes and the Kites kind of ending. Rockstar is one of the worst movies of the year.Tags: Imtiaz Ali Member Reviews Nargis Fakhri Ranbir Kapoor Reviews Rockstar