In Gulshan Nanda’s Hindi novel – Sisakate Saaz (on which Hindi movie ‘Mehbooba’ was made in 1976 starring Rajesh Khanna and Hema Malini in lead roles), the singer hero, Prakash tells the heroine (she is also a singer), Ratna -‘Aapki Aawaaz Mein Kashish Hai Lekin Dard Ki Kamee Hai’ (your voice is fascinating but it’s deficient in conveying pain). The maker of the movie under review, i.e., Rockstar (2011) has picked up this message only. There are many such examples pertaining to the genius artists whose heartbreaks led them to stardom (by refinement of their talent). I remember the example of a teenager, Saahir who, after getting his heart broken through the discard of a girl, went on to become one of the greatest Shaayars (Urdu poets) and the world knows him as Saahir Ludhiyanvi. But can it happen to anybody and everybody ? I have also been suffering from heartache for years since the day the love of my life went away from me, have I been able to become a star in the art-world then ? If heartbreak makes a star, then all the bathroom-singers and casual writers of India should go on to become stars.
When I watched the maiden directorial venture of Imtiaz Ali – Socha Na Tha (2005), I found it simply lovable. I am highly impressed by the hilarious blockbuster of him – Jab We Met (2007). And I had watched his next venture – Love Aaj Kal (2009) twice in the theatre only to find my eyes wet on both the occasions during certain sequences of that movie. However, despite acknowledging the great effort of himself in making Rockstar, I am not able to relate myself to it in any way. I remember that in Love Aaj Kal, I was lost so much in the narrative that when the word – ‘interval’ appeared on the screen, I was startled. However, during the screening of Rockstar, I looked at my watch several number of times. Despite a tragic story being told on the screen, I did not feel any throbbing in my heart (I am a highly sentimental person though). In all the previous movies of Imtiaz Ali, I found the principal characters in them as of this world only but in this movie, both the hero as well as the heroine appeared to me as belonging to some other planet. How can such a movie develop a rapport with the spectators when it is not being categorized as fantasy either ?The singer (or musician or both) – Janaardan (Ranbir Kapoor) comes to know from his friend Khataana (Kumud Mishra) that if he has to excel like a true artist, his should suffer a heartbreak. To fulfill his dream of making it big in the world of music, he starts striving for that only. A casual acquaintance with a girl, Heer (Nargis Faakhri) turns into a deep friendship and further turns into love which is first realized by the girl and thereafter only by him, finally leads to a heartbreak when he comes to know that she will soon depart from this world due to a bone-marrow problem. Now he comes to know how painful a heartbreak is.This story when told on the screen, contains several indigestible incidents. The hero seems to be more eccentric less romantic. He is always ready to take the heroine (as well as the world) for granted. I have heard of such type of eccentric mood of late Kishore Kumar but never believed it. And the heroine too is, at least to some extent, casual in her approach towards the hero. The activities of both go overboard at several places in the movie. The hero’s family kicks him out (never to bother about him thereafter which is quite unconvincing) but the heroine’s family (parental as well as marital) is generous enough to allow her to live and do anything in the company of the hero. Well, she is fortunate (and unfortunate too because she dies after some time). The director has tried to test the brains of the spectators at many places by providing scope for them to interpret the things happening in front of them. However there is no dearth of potholes in the script.
Ranbir Kapoor has done exceedingly well despite his confused and underdeveloped character. In fact, he can be one strong reason to watch this movie. Nargis Fakhri has also tried her level best but she seems to be miscast in the role. Among others, Kumud Mishra as Khataana is a character whose appearance on the screen provides some relief moments to the overburdened (with heavy and confusing narrative) spectators. Late Shammi Kapoor, in his last screen performance, has left his mark in the role of an esteemed clarinet player.
There is a lot of noise about A.R. Rehman’s music in this movie. It’s good and according to the mood of the movie but it’s by no means great. The song in the climax of the movie – Naadaan Parinde is good but if somebody has listened to the old songs like Itna Na Mujhse Tu Pyar Badha (Chhaya – 1961) and Ankhiyon Ko Rehne Do Ankhiyon Ke Aaspaas (Bobby – 1973), he / she can see the shadows of these and some other old songs in that. In fact, more than Rehman’s music, it’s the lyrics of Irshad Kaamil which are praiseworthy.
Cinematographer has done a marvellous job. Right from the locales of Delhi to the beauty of Prague and certain other Indian and foreign locations, the complete movie is a treat to watch. It’s an eye-soothing experience, no doubt.
Imtiaz Ali has tried to be realistic in portrayal of several scenes in the movie but the basic trouble is that he has chosen an unrealistic story with unreal principal characters. His is a gigantic effort in developing the narration but he could not infuse life into the bulk of it. Hence it’s good but does not appeal. And therefore, unlike his earlier ventures, it does not have a repeat value. Nobody may like to watch it again.
In my review of Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), I had termed that movie as an imperfect one whose imperfection itself led to greatness. Imtiaz Ali has also made an imperfect movie but unlike the former, it’s by no means great. But then, who can claim to be perfect in this world ? Let’s appreciate Imtiaz Ali’s excessive creativity which has, unfortunately (for him as well as for us), crossed the limits of sanity.
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