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Among the many things that don't make sense are the cap and the retro drawing style.

Somewhere near the end of Imtiaz Ali’s “Rockstar” (not to be confused with “Rock Star” starring Mark Wahlberg), Heer the heroine starts feeling faint and gets that I’m-going-to-die-soon look that veteran Bollywood watchers will recognise in a jiffy. At this point, she goes up to a room and starts rubbing her face in a dirty red T-shirt, which had in the past been worn by the love of her life, who is the rock star of the film’s title, when he was, apparently, sniffing her earlobe. If there was a screengrab for the reminiscing heroine, then I could have captioned it, “I had an affair with a rockstar [sic] and all I got was a lousy t-shirt.”

Actually, that’s not entirely true. She also got pregnant and landed up with some terminal bone marrow disease, which is the Bollywood equivalent of being smote by lightning. You see, Heer was married to someone else when she had an affair with the ‘rockstar’, a.k.a Jordan, whose real name is Janardan. Possibly to tug at our heartstrings, director Imtiaz Ali shows us the moment when Heer got pregnant. Since this is a Bollywood film, it wasn’t a carnal moment that the audience was made privy to but a conversation, which went something like this.

Heer: How do you like my world?

Jordan: I don’t want to ever come out.

Heer: You don’t have to. Stay inside.

Now, if you’re going to go around having irresponsible conversations like that under a bed sheet, while snuggling fully clothed with your loved one, you’re obviously going to get pregnant.

The most disappointing thing about “Rockstar” is that it could have been a decent film. Instead, thanks to some spectacularly bad acting by Heer (played by debutante Nargis Fakhri) and a script that’s so half-baked that it’s like raw blood pudding, “Rockstar” begins engagingly before chucking all notions of logic, sense and causality out of the window. It essentially becomes a series of bucket lists punctuated by songs that Ranbir Kapoor, who plays Jordan/Janardan, tries to salvage. It’s a tough job, not helped by the fact that aside from the task of livening up a bad script, he also has to convince us that MC Hammer’s dhoti pants and weird jackets can be a rock star’s costume.

Janardan is a college kid who wants to be the Indian Jim Morrison but he isn’t getting anywhere. The manager of the canteen he frequents tells him that to be a true artist, one must experience pain and heartbreak. On cue, Janardan sees Heer. After the usual antagonism, the two become friends. She has a list of things she wants to do before she gets married in two months. They complete the list. She gets married and goes off to Prague. Janardan comes home and gets into the family business (something to do with trucks). There’s some drama when the business loses money and Janardan is kicked out of the house. By this time, he’s figured out that he is in love with Heer however his immediate problem isn’t heartbreak but homelessness. After living in a mosque for two months, he comes to the canteen manager and starts living with him. A record company signs him and takes him to Prague for a mysterious event called “Eurojam”. We never really find out what happens in Eurojam because that’s not really the point of the film, is it? The point is to get him to Prague so that he and the much-married Heer can have an affair, which they do. Before leaving, he comes to say goodbye to her and because he was sneaking into her house, he sets off the burglar alarms. Her husband’s reaction is to pull a gun at Jordan/Janardan. Because that’s what you do in Prague when you see on your front lawn the man who had dinner with you in your house a couple of days ago. For some reason Jordan/Janardan is arrested and imprisoned.

He comes out just in time for the release of his solo album (there’s a suggestion that the recording company had him arrested as a publicity stunt). The album is a huge success. Jordan/Janardan is established as a bad boy because he behaves badly with people, disappears from time to time, and in general behaves like a “rockstar”. Then he learns that Heer is back in India, sans husband, because she is dying of a bone marrow disease and her husband has abandoned her because she had an affair with Jordan/Janardan. Jordan/Janardan and her rekindle their affair because having him around gives her more energy and improves her platelet count. Except in the process of this rekindling, the rockstar impregnates Heer, who dies because that’s what happens to adulterous wives who have dwindling bone marrow and active libidos. Jordan/Janardan is left with extremely bad hair, a terrible moustache, a cap that makes him look like he’s about to lead a postal workers‘ strike, and the fame and music that he had wanted back in the days when he was just Janardan.

I hope the problems of “Rockstar” are evident in that summary above because even if I just list the problems in the story, I’ll be ranting for hours and I will restrain myself from doing so because I still have my NaNoWriMo quota to write (I’m a mere 6,931 words behind). The only thing I feel compelled to point out is that Imtiaz Ali has some serious issues with marriage. In almost every film of his, the heroine cheats on her fiancé or husband, who is a doofus. The punishment for the romantic misdemeanour is getting increasingly brutal. Kareena Kapoor’s character in “Jab We Met” lost access to make-up, nice clothes and society. Poor Heer has to die. Someone send Imtiaz Ali a copy of “Sex At Dawn” (see below or Google).

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32 thoughts on “Rockstar

  1. Thank you, thank you. I was so pissed off with the film but I got my full paisa vasool after reading your article. Definitely more fun than the film itself!

  2. Novita, Anon and J, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    I’m a little taken aback by how many people have landed up, courtesy Rockstar and Facebook (who on earth posted a link to this blog? Whoever you are, thanks). My stats are going to look so sad in a couple of days.

  3. I was trying to watch the movie today online. I could go no longer. I mean when Heer came back to India, my boyfriend called and I started telling him how I wanted to break my laptop because of what I watched. I still don’t get how people really liked this movie. It has no story really. It makes all Mahesh Bhatt’s extra marital affair movies look like classic.
    The funniest part about the movie is its side characters. None of them got a chance to “react”. I was quite amazed to see how Heer’s husband’s character was totally underdeveloped. She says “hey I cheated on you” and he says “oh, ok, we can talk about it later”…wtf???
    I am never going to even watch this movie on tv. But some ppl are praising it. hmm, that of course, makes me suspicious. Are they all cheaters in real life?

    • Woof !!
      U R one GAL wid high MORALE!!
      u must b favorite of evry “SAAS” !!
      HOWEVR, i feel extremly sory 4 ur bf, who has to listen 2 ur BABY CHATTER!!

      well, b4 criticising, ask urself wats real world?
      its not SAT YUGA, maam!!….

    • Wise move. Some good should come of me having suffered and survived it. That said, it is, I’m told, a hit and I just met someone last night who gushed about how moving the film was.

  4. On a funny note,

    “Heer: How do you like my world?

    Jordan: I don’t want to ever come out.

    Heer: You don’t have to. Stay inside.”

    Staying inside without protection was a big mistake…. it made her sick in the end…

  5. Oh god! Lols
    u made my tummy burst!!
    u r so CORRECT, u speakin my mind!!
    yo PAISA VASUUL man!!….

    yar bt still da muvie was great…..

  6. I’m not sure why Deepesh’s other comment didn’t appear but never fear, I will post it here. Primarily because I think TRP might enjoy it.

    “U R one GAL wid high MORALE!!
    u must b favorite of evry “SAAS” !!
    HOWEVR, i feel extremly sory 4 ur bf, who has to listen 2 ur BABY CHATTER!!

    well, b4 criticising, ask urself wats real world?
    its not SAT YUGA, maam!!….”

    TRP, I’m sort of torn between lobotomy and schizophrenia.

    • Oh yeah I did see that one (maybe it went to your spam filter), thats the one I was responding to.

      Maybe he’s a phony. You never know.
      I find it hard to believe that anyone uses ‘GAL’ anymore.

  7. Oho!!!
    god, i cant believe people r talkin bout me widout me knowing….
    i didnt kno it ws such a hot forum, dat why i muvd on !!
    well, dnt wry!
    m back, kids !!!!

  8. Its gud dat u had to mug thru medical buks nd encylopedia to counter-comment me.

    u kno, u can always use catchy terms to gain TRPs or u can just stop being jerk by throwin dirt on every other magnificent thing nd start appreciating d nice stuff.

    diggin into their weak points doesnt change the fact dat whole india is singing d same “rockstar’s-a-hit” song. Muvie got 5/5 nd made big bucks.

    now u nerds can sit in a corner nd keep crying like lonely child who always keeps blaming his fate….

    my earlier msg ws actly meant 4 shrimati “div” ji.

    nd yes i m a phony, coz its 3G time, uncle!
    i m commenting via my phone, rite nw.
    Get past ur old “dabba”s.

  9. Too good… loved the way you wrote about the movie… It was a real good story line but the script and bad acting ruined it alll…. 🙂

  10. There’s only one thing about the move that made me watch it till the end; Ranbir’s Acting. It was superb! Other than that, everything looked extremely fake. Also, most of the people actually did react in a strange way! The heroine was stupid. She didn’t even know how to speak even one word!
    Also. I found your blog by searching “What the hell happened at the end of the movie”. I didn’t even understand the ending before. Shitty try to make the pieces work miracle together. Only hollywood has the ability to make a movie with random scenes from past and future present. 😛

  11. Okay, I know I’m quite late on this but I just recently watched Rockstar.
    Personally,I think the movie could’ve been brilliant but the script, storyline, editing etc gets very messed up in the second half on the movie.
    Nargis Fakhri looks like a dream but her dubbing is pathetic and makes it super clear that she’s stumbled upon acting (which she has). Yet she shares a good chemistry with Ranbir.
    Ranbir is brilliant I feel, the way he emotes and transforms in the movie is effortless and extremely commendable. Plus personally, I find him quite cute so well.
    But still Ranbir in Rockstar… Redemption!
    I hate that the husband’s character is so under-developed, specially when they don’t show him for so long, you expect someone who’d surprise you or something. But he’s just very… Blah.
    Also, I can’t even rationalize some part os the script. And yes the whole disease thing and then suddenly getting pregnant. :S and yes! The strange flashbacks! It’s complete haywire.
    Ranbir totally saves this movie with his performance. Still… Disappointment for a movie that couldve been much much better.
    Rockstar’s music though, SUPERB! 🙂
    But it’s like the whole idea of the movie was based on making great music by experience pain and I guess that was acieved. :S and the movie can’t be much without it’s soundtrack.
    Anyway, a bit of an enthusiastic comment a bit too late I guess.
    That’s what I personally felt.
    Sorry if there are any spelling errors, I happen to be typing from my phone.

  12. Bad editing, terrible acting by the female lead, some scenes make no sense at all, one could go on forever, but your review completely captures my opinion on the movie!!!

  13. Anonandon,
    I love your review and couldnt stop laughing.
    I disagree though that Rockstar sucked. I thought Ranbir did a god job of being the oddball, and even if Nargis wasn’t expressive enough, at least she didnt overact (well, maybe a little but she’s forgiven since she didnt grow up in India and probably isnt the ‘perfect’ fit for the role. Still, not too bad anyway).
    Ranbir’s costume – yeah, not great but then he is the oddball remember?
    The alarm system in Prague – well, if someone breaks in the police do show up and would arrest the person – esp as the husband had his gun pointed at him, and Jordan was yelling at Heer. Why is it odd to think that the husband wouldnt have pulled a gun? It is nighttime, dark, the man would want to be on his guard. I have lived in the US and Europe and dont find anything strange about this situation.
    The husband’s subdued reaction to Heer’s confession – well, remember she’s been depressed in the marriage, she’s cheated on him, he’s probably suspected it all along, his suspicions were confirmed when Jordan broke in…how do you think a man would feel to be cheated on?…especially when it has become public…no wonder he didnt want to discuss it…he wasnt even looking her in the eye during their last conversation…
    The college canteen owner, Shammi Kapoor, the music producer do a good job.
    What sucked was about 40% of the music. The lyrics for Sada Hakh suck.
    Otherwise, it was certainly better than the usual Bollywood crap that gets the limelight.

  14. Someone posted a comment here asking what happened at the end of the movie…well, Jordan asks for pain so that he can create and be an ‘artist’, and when he gets that pain its excruciating. He neither wants it nor the fame that comes with it. At the end of the day, nothing matters but his love for Heer who is no more anyways. Therefore, more pain, endless hell, better songs, cheered on by his fans with whom he feels no connection as they’re cheering on for something that is killing him as he sings. It’s kinda circular.

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