Sunday 31 August 2008

Why It Rocked!!!

This review of mine ventured out of this blog to get accepted in a film website called Passion for Cinema. Click on the link below to view it.
http://passionforcinema.com/rock-on-rocked/

I had been waiting impatiently for this films release. When Farhan Akhtar is associated with anything, the venture may be good or bad, but it will always be different and definitely not boring. I expected to get my moneys worth for this one, and did!

The story is simple enough, about 4 friends parting and re uniting to live their dream. The events and climax predictable.

What makes this film unique is that it touches upon the little explored area of Rock culture in India. Which may have just an urban market, but a immensely burgeoning market nevertheless. Here we have a film actually trying to give Rock the dignity and maturity it so desperately lacks in India, for it to be taken seriously.

Considering Director Abhishek Kapoors previous film was the forgettable Aryan, his skills must have improved in massive leaps and bounds as controlled direction was THE thing that guided a relatively straightforward and unassuming script to a heart warming screenplay.

Besides he remains the only director who finally understood how to use Arjun Rampal. The actor with the hot body and voice is given few lines, and a brooding intense character that maximizes his sizzling screen presence but cuts down on his obvious lack of acting skills.

Farhan Akhtar has glided smoothly from being director to an actor and singer. The steady delivery of dialogues, tense body language and extremely refreshing singing was sheer pleasure to watch.

Purab Koli and and Luke Kenny play slightly weak characters but scrape through admirably, Purab Kholi as the happy go lucky Killer Drummer brings a smile to your face more than once.

Shahana Goswami and Prachi Desai though take the cake in their first meaty roles. The film portrays martial discord realistically without giving way to melodrama.

The low points of this film are the length, that drags the first half and the lack of lighter moments, which are too few and far between. Also the sets seem too stylish and pristine to look like a comfortable home. A little more clever editing and the film would have been brilliant not just good.

Rock on is fresh, in its characterization, in the portrayal of its conflicts, in its attempt to touch upon the resolution and make light of clichéd reasons for rifts in relationships.

In its attempt to bring rock a little closer to the Indian masses.

The Music:

People seem to have two complaints with the film’s music,

The first being that the lyrics are too shallow and childish, second, the music is not really rock. While I was watching the film I knew this pseudo debate about pure rock music would arise. I would like to add my 2 bits to it.

To appreciate ROCK ON look at the crap that we have had to sit through for months when it comes to Indian Cinema. Turn on the radio and it is an insult to listen to the popular playlist.

Rarely in recent times has anyone had the guts to try re inventing music instead of re hashing and remixing.

In the name of rock in India, we have dysfunctional bands screeching out covers of Lamb of God and Cradle of Filth and such non sense. Their safe haven still remains Guns n Roses! Their idea of rock is drums that drown the vocalist and a vocalist playing leap frog and squeaking out screeches to be noticed.

They take a pattern formulated for another country steeped in another culture and try to transplant it here, without moving a finger to try and re invent, and then complain that there is no market here. You play what has been played better, by bands decades before you were born, and expect me to buy your music instead?

Listen to German rock, listen to Russian rock, it may not be popular over the world but atleast they made a hit in their country. These fizzle out here. Bands from the UK and USA are all we know because these countries economy supports selling and branding on a scale incomparable to other economies.

Listen to rock music, the beauty of it lies in simple poetry being emphasized by powerful music. It lies in the quirky themes and bizarre metaphors, it lies in blurring the line between fantasy and reality, and these requirements are ably met by the song Sindbad the Sailor and Socha Hai.

It is not a perfect film, far from it, but it is a brave film, it is a refreshing film, in so much that it does NOT try to show the clichéd drugs/sex/scandal/piercing/tattoos and immaturity associated with Rock music.

Friday 22 August 2008

Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na

Kinda late with this, but....

Some seriously stoned people made this film. The story just rambles, switching abruptly in the second half from one situation to another till you wonder what happened to the film you were watching. Imran Khan is called ‘Rats’ by a very possessive Genelia D‘souza who in turn is called ‘Meow’ and “no one else is allowed to call them that!” What are they? Like 7 ???

Trying to make it a perfect launch pad for pretty boy Imran Khan, the film has tried to go by text book format. It is the same old wine; in the same old bloody bottle. Even the whole story within a story is so similar to Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Two young kids are meant for one another, but don’t know it! The ‘friendly relations’ shown between them is too sickeningly sweet and sugary to be taken seriously. Shah Rukh and Kajol did a much better job in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai at being ‘just friends’. Manjari and Ayaz Khan play a slightly twisted Rani and Salman to the main duo. The former is annoying, with her excessive girlishness and the latter tolerable.

As the much aired songs are the only high point in the film, the script just takes long strides from one song to another, the story between reduced to a hurried hash. The acting is terrible: hyper college yuppies with shrill astonished voices to register every emotion, from despair, to happiness, to anger and surprise! Naseerudin Shah, Paresh Rawal, Arbass Khan and Sohail Khan are wasted in characters that just bumble along disrupting an already screwed up film. Only Pratiek Babbar, who plays Genelia’s brother, a social misfit, is refreshing and comes across as a very pleasant surprise! His dialogues are a caustic whiplash, delivered in a disarming way.

I wouldn’t say I enjoyed the movie; rather I enjoyed the experience only for one reason, Seriously Twisted Humour! Also nice style of clothing. Naseerudin Shah is a dead husband who speaks out of the frame to his wife, exactly like Priyanka Tendulkar in the sitcom ‘Hum Paanch’. And the whole Rajput connection which becomes a mini film of it’s own in the second half is bizarre! Ratna Pathak is a human rights activist with very extremist child rearing ideas. The climax is a RIOT! A pukka, filmy riot.

You laugh not at the jokes, but at the ridiculousness of those jokes. You laugh not at the funny situation, but the thought that some one could come up with that situation! The film tries very hard to engage you, and funnily enough, somewhere along the lines it does.