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Ranbir Kapoor’s Rockstar – A Melange of Human Emotions in an Artsy Musical

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Walking into the packed hall to watch Ranbir Kapoors only release in 2011, there is surely a lot of expectation that the viewer carries with them specially if they were influenced by the movie’s marketing efforts or pre-release buzz in anyway. Everything about the movie from the outset including the promos looked perfect, finely blending music, art and what the movie viewer always hopes for a riveting story-line.

In the end, much to the viewers disappointment the movie falls short on the latter and ends up becoming a mish-mash of human emotions. Rockstar is partly an art film, partly musical and partly autobiographical with long periods of silence and a pace that is extremely slow and fails to make the most out of the well etched out characters who are given time to develop and mature.

Based on the Sufi premise that a crying heart is the reservoir of creativity, Imitaz Ali follows the life of Janardan Jakhar, a Jat boy from Delhi, who is fascinated by the guitar and Jim Morrison but has no idea how to achieve his musical goals. Advised by a friend who later becomes his manager (Kumud Mishra), he decides to pursue an unachievable target called Heer Kaul (Nargis Fakhri), a Kashmiri Pandit studying at St. Stephen’s. Thereafter in a manner similar to Imran Khan in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, Janardan, helps Heer fulfil her rebellious ideas before she gets married. The two strike a chord but take eons to realise they are made for each other. In the process, Janardan’s heart gets really broken and he becomes Jordan, the rockstar.

The film does a brilliant job of making all the characters appear as real as possible. The cinematography is captivating with good attention to detail to the locales, clothing (lovely hand knit sweaters and Kashmiri wear) and not to mention A.R Rahman’s magical touch which seamlessly blends into various tracks of the movie.

Where the movie goes wrong is in its pace and script as the narrative loses track and Jordan’s wild side starts to become boring after a while. At close to three hours in duration, the movie is unnecessarily stretched out (tighter editing would have certainly helped). All the characters except Nargis Fakhri do a fine job, right from Jordan’s manager to the owner of the music label that promotes him. Nargis Fakhri in her debut is highly unconvincing and hams her way through most of the movie. It probably wasn’t the best idea to place an American model in a role which had a high intensity of emotional depth and complexity and demanded some skill in acting.

Ranbir Kapoor’s hard work for the movie shows as he delivers a terrific performance as both Janardan and Jordan, but ultimately the movie just leaves you baffled and confused. Is Rockstar a regular boy meets girl love story? Is it about love and lost? Was it meant to make you reflect about the one person that you could never have? or did the film makers want the viewer to leave the hall crying Sadda Haq (the ticket’s price) Aithe Rakh(in our hands), no one but Imitaz knows.

Overall a decent watch for folks who enjoy fine art, music, emotional depth and complexity. For those who are looking for entertainment of the traditional kind, you would most likely want to spend your money somewhere else.