‘Rock On’ grows on you

Disclaimer: This is not a film review.

When I really like a movie, the urge to share with the world why I liked it is uncontrollable. But when I write it down and publish on my blog I get the blame of being a hypocrite, they say, “oh you keep saying we don’t need film reviewers or critics in the world, people should just decide for themselves what films they want to watch, and now why are you writing a review yourself”

In my defense I am only trying to share why I liked the film. Nothing more really. I believe its never wrong to appreciate something. But it’s not always right to criticize. So you’d notice I don’t write about the films I don’t like. It’s like spreading positive energy and curbing the negative thoughts.

Anyway since this whole review writing business is all so tricky, I and good friend Saurabh, we decided to do something interesting this time. Thing is, I liked ‘Rock On’ and he didn’t. I give my reasons why I liked and he’d follow up with his reasons of why he didn’t like. We present you with an opinion and a counter opinion on Rock On and leave you with your free will and sound judgment to decide for yourself whether to go for it or not. It can’t get any more transparent than this.

Rock on – thumbs up by Sanjukta

Tell you what, loved sitting through the entire film. It’s a different kind of movie watching experience in Bollywood. For most of it you feel like you are in a rock concert, you are continuously tapping your feet, you can barely sit still, you feel like putting your hands up in the air and sing along with the rock stars from the rock band ‘Magic‘ performing on stage. It’s a great musical experience.

Next comes is the presentation. The story is rather simple and short. It can be narrated in 150 words in fact. There is no twist to the tale, hardly any tension anywhere or nail biting turn of events, everything seems to be moving more or less smoothly and things fall in place at the right time. Yet there is an intensity in the way the simple story has been presented.

The film keeps shifting between past and present. You see a bit from the past, in the next scene you are fast forwarded to present and left to wonder what happened back then, what went wrong? Though when the revealation actually happen you feel ‘oh this much I could predict.’ Yes predictable indeed, nonetheless, it held your attention right through. In one given scene you are shown only so much so as to hold your attention till the next scene. It never gives you too much or too little of information.

The characters were very real, situations were believable and each actor has done a fair job in their respective characters. That said, my list of winners are Arjun Rampal, Farhan Akhtar and Shabana Goswami in that order.

Arjun, the man has evolved, he has worked hard and that shows, though Arjun the actor still has a long way to go, long but not so tough anymore. You can always write a charecter to suit an actors capacities and incapacities. Sadly, we don’t do that in Bollywood, well not until now. Arjun is not your run of the mill, running around trees, saving sister from goons and doing illaaj for andhi maa hero. You need special roles to be written solely for this man and Rock On’s ‘Joe Mascarenhas’ is that role. Joe is a man of less words (we all know Arjun is not so great at dialogue delivery) He is the silent, intense and strong lead guitarist of the band. The man who stands tall with his talent but not ready to get commercialized, not ready to compromise. He is the critical factor in the film and when things fall in place in a positive note, the audience can’t help but clap and whistle for him. My respect to Arjun Rampal.

I don’t need to give my verdict on Farhan Akhtar’s talent basket. So far as Rock On is concerned, I’d rate him in this order – Farhan the singer, the actor but not so much of the dialogue writer. About the singer I really wanted to say he can give the Shaans and KKs a run for their money, but I am not saying it. Because as incredible as he is at the singing part his unique edgy voice only matches his own personality. He can’t do a play back for other actors. And that’s what made his Aditya Shroff so real. He has a great screen presence, is very comfortable facing the camera and delivering dialogues which is why his act was absolutely effortless and real. The only reason I placed him second to Arjun is because we had expectation from him which he delivered. From Arjun we didn’t expect much yet he delivered as much.

Shabana Goswami played a very interesting character Debbie, Joe’s (Arjun) long time girlfriend, then a wife and then a mother of their son. A very strong woman of substance who has always been with the band witnessing their happy days and sad days and ten years down has turned bitter, cynical and tired.

That’s a lot of reasons already for me to like a film. As a hint to the story – its a cross between Dil Chahta hai and Jhankaar Beats. Lastly, what is interesting is the film grows over you. Through my commute from the theater to home as I thought more about it I liked it more. The songs are playing in my head, Arjun’s incredible rock star look from the last scene (an unforgettable moment when Arjun walks in on stage) is coming in front of my eyes over and over again. Like I said it’s a different kind of film watching experience.

Over to you Saurabh for your reasons why you didn’t like the film.

Cross posted on Mutiny

Addendum:

Saurabh has given his reasons for not liking the film in Mutiny’s comments section. *Major Spoiler Alert* His comments gives away important part of the story especially the end.

Constant Motion gave an idea to create and circulate a Rock On Tag.

Rule is to write down 3 reasons why you liked / did not like Rock On. You could do a mixture also where you give 3 pros and 3 cons of Rock On. Once done you tag 3 or more people. Do not tag me back.

I would like to  tag the following people

Snigdha
Nita

Jerry
Neha
Seema

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10 comments

  1. The film is surely rocking!

    Like

  2. Well,I have not yet watched the film.But having worked in the Television Industry , I would like to share my thoughts.

    I liked DCH’s direction and the way it was shot.The shot where we see three gaps in the ship is awesome and Farhan had used that in Lakshya and if I am not wrong, he might have used it in Rock On as well !!!

    May be I can return for another comment when I watch the movie.Can you elaborate more about some notable Shots and camera work [from a generic level :) ]

    -Himanshu Sheth

    Like

  3. since KANK, my patience for hindi films has been quite limited.. a select few, is all i have watched hence.. but, your reasons-why-you-liked and the trailer have convinced me that this’d be another movie i should check out..

    Like

  4. A nice feel good movie. I loved the look of the film. A great one time watch.

    BTW its Shahana Goswami not Shabana Goswami who plays Debbie

    Like

  5. nicely written review Sanjukta. you aren’t calling it one, but i think it is! well, i agree with most of what you said. I have already written a detailed review on it yesterday and your tag questions have already been answered! But thanks for tagging me.
    Rock on! :)

    Like

  6. Sanjukta,

    I agree with all your observations about Rock On!! This was a very personal film for me. You can read my take on the film on my blog.

    Like

  7. sanjukta: Tell me how much the producers are paying you for this. To do your tag I have to watch the movie cos’ I don’t have a choice. ;-)just kidding, wud watch it when it is out here.

    Like

  8. Hi Sanju: The new love of your life can kill with his looks – but then beware that with Joe’s laid back personality you will have to be the breadwinner ;-)

    Like

  9. @Aneesha

    So? Who said I want my main to win bread for me. I’d do anything for a man like Joe, with that talent, that passion, that dedication and such a man of principle…respect to him. Who said men should be valued in terms of how good a bread winner he is. Why can’t we women ever get rid of the cliche. Your comment made me sad even though made in a light manner. Really time we urban working modern women re think what we expect from our men.

    @Seema

    Your comment too upsets me. Every time I write something convincing about a film or every time I go overboard in appreciating something first thing people ask is how much am I paid.

    Is honesty the last thing to be expected? Don’t no body do anything for free anymore in this world? Why the question?

    @Sparkymat – You won’t regret

    @Nita – Thanks :) and thanks for accepting the tag :)

    @Aditya I read your review. Very poignant.

    @Vinayak – Even I thought it was Sahana but I checked the official website there it it Shabana. Strange confusion. See here http://rockon.bigadda.com/cast-crew.html

    @Himanshu let me know how do u like it.

    Like

  10. It is impressive.. I liked the movie, but some scenes here and there made it look like it happened because it is a movie. I did not like that fact. But the way you look at things is good. Thanks for sharing the positive thoughts.

    Like

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