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Rock On!! August 30, 2008

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When I walked in to watch this film, I half expected to watch a story about the trials and tribulations of a rock band and their ultimate triumph. You will be glad to know that this film isn’t about triumph. It is about relationships. It is about choices and decisions. It is about life.

Magik is the name of a somewhat successful rock band. Four guys in their mid-twenties, following their passions and living their dream. But that was 10 years ago. They are rock stars no more. Each has chosen a different profession. Some have been successful and some are still struggling. Rock On is the story of their past and the story of their present. It is about their journey through the hardened road of life.

One notable aspect in the film is that the conflict is not the traditional Bollywood black-and-white type. It is closer to reality in that the persons involved come out thinking that the other is at fault. Towards the end of the film, you have a sinking feeling where you wonder if the makers will sell out and do a Karan Johar (trying to “touch” you with death) but this aspect is treated well. And in the climax, when they have a choice to show a miraculous achievement (because everyone loves miracles), they steer clear. This film is clearly about the journey; success be damned. And therein lies its triumph.

This film is co-written (with Pubali Chaudhuri and dialogue by Farhan Akhtar) and directed by Abhishek Kapoor (who previously made Aryan and also acted in a couple of films more than a decade ago). Considering that his first film was a dud (that I haven’t seen), this is quite a leap for Kapoor. He handles this film admirably well. For a filmmaker looking desperately for success, he takes a road less traveled and comes up trumps. One hopes that he can continue on the same path in the future.

The casting in the film is spot on. No actor looks out of place. Farhan Akhtar acts and sings (apart from writing the dialogue and producing this). He does a pretty neat job on both fronts. Agreed that he hasn’t the greatest voice but he acquits himself quite well. Arjun Rampal gets probably the best role of his career so far. Om Shanti Om might have got him a lot of recognition but this will bring him the respect. And he totally looks like a rock star. Purab Kohli is very likable and I’d like to see him in more films. Luke Kenny and Prachi Desai make worthy acting debuts and Shahana Goswami also does well as Rampal’s wife.

Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music is the backbone of this film. There has been some discussion online whether this is “true” rock or whatever. Being relatively ignorant on this aspect, I couldn’t care less. What matters though was that the music worked brilliantly in the film. The film ends with about 15 minutes of music and I came out exhilarated, looking to give my throat and lungs some serious exercise.

This isn’t a film with real “commercial” appeal. It isn’t like Farhan Akhtar’s Dil Chahta Hai (though some elements overlap) which had a lot of entertainment and the identification factor for youth. I saw the film with a theater full of youngsters but this mature film is actually for a more adult audience. While the film delivers a seemingly authentic experience, it could seem slow to some. I would wholeheartedly recommend this film but prepare yourself before you watch it!


1. SARNADEEP GUPTA - September 3, 2008

honestly, i did’nt really expect a great film when i went out to watch rock on . Expected a typical bollywood film , glorifying our heroes and their succes from rags to riches. The name itself made quite a few of us to presume it was a film about the strifes and struggles of life.
Post having seen the film——-awestruck. Its not about acting skills, its not about how great arjun looked or how well farhan sang the songs. The film struck a cord coz of the way it was presented. The inspiring songs which sounded even better when sung by farhan, the amount of effort and sincereity that they’ve put in to make this …showed. Even if it doesnt go on to be a cult movie , it’ll surely be amongst the best ive ever seen. Thank you to everyone associated with rock on for this awesome movie. Love u guys.

2. Shujath - October 6, 2008

Guess like a lot of people I too had apprehensions about this being some underdog film about a rock band (in fact Abhishek’s previous film was supposed to be inspired by Rocky) and that’s the reason I chose not to watch it during its release weekend. Thankfully, I was wrong. Rock On is one of those very rare films which though talking about pursuing your passion in life doesn’t opt for a “miracle triumph” ending (which unfortunately most films in this genre end up doing).

Also, the conflict between Farhan and Arjun isn’t your regular “clash of egos” and that’s why it is so believable and touches you. People who are expecting an entertainer might be disappointed. It moves at its own pace but it involved me so well that I never felt it at all. And at the end I really felt like coming out of a rock concert.

3. Kaushik Chatterji - October 17, 2008

Not much disagreeing to do here. 🙂

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