Saturday, 30 August 2008

ROCK ON weaves its MAGIC in the U.K!!

exclusive by Devansh Patel

Sitting in your college canteen and discussing about your cult-fest or outside IIM or any University grounds sipping a hot cuppa of the morning tea with a maska-bun (buttered bun) in your hand and talking all day long about the rock band peforming in the annual music-fest or glued on to your I-pod listening to Aerosmith's 'Living on the Edge' while having a cappucino in a Leicester Square Starbucks is a thing of the past. Rock On has arrived guys....with a touch of class.....and ofcourse, Magic!

In the overseas, Bollywood films more or less talk about the beautiful swiss locales, the dancing around the tree couple, the bad guy swearing at the good guy and one big happy traditional family. Well, if you think Abhishek Kapoor's Rock On has any of the above cliched Bollywood scenes, you should be living in a cave! All I can advice you is to come out of the dark and enter the never-before-seen Indian film which will not only change the way you think about Bollywood in the overseas but will be proud of the fact that Bollywood just isn't about pretty well known faces. Freshness galores in Rock On!

When you've got a star as big as Arjun Rampal, when you've got an experience as big as Farhan Akhtar, when you've got a talent as big as Purab Kohli, you can do whatever the hell your heart desires. Well, that is exactly what director Abhishek Kapoor has done while filming Rock On. Such is the lesson to be taken away from this film. This simplistic and a subtle tale follows ten years in the life of a small-time band called Magic, who almost, by sheer hard work, passion and dedication hit it big with their titular single 'Pichle Saat Dino Mein'. The cast is spearheaded by Arjun Rampal as Joe Mascarenhas who is the lead guitarist. Purab Kohli plays KD aka 'Killer Drummer', the group's drummer who is somehow super cool when it comes to girls. Add on moody frontman and lead singer Farhan Akhtar as Aditya Shroff, who looks down-right classy, plus a wise, nice and quiet Luke Kenny as Rob, and you've pretty much got the band. But more than the band and its music, Rock On is a film about lost relationships, lost friendship and lost fame. The reels start off with all four friends scattered and somehow drifted apart and unhappily settled in their own private lives. Joe sits at his guitar shop and does pretty much nothing except recalling his magical days with Magic or listen to the endless bickering of his wife Debbie played by Sahana Goswami. Aditya too is married and too busy to listen to his wife because of his hectic role of an investment banker and fails to invest quality time with his wife played by Prachi Desai. Rob strings in a few small offers from the music companies and tries to survive and KD is busy helping his father in their 'watch' business which struggles to bring a good time in his life but manages to keep a smiling face. Flip ten years back, all four and their one catchy tune transforms Magic into reality, and brings them to the attention of the national Rock competiton, until Magic find themselves with a record contract. Their progress is uncomplicated, if not exactly quick and their downfall is even quicker. One such incident changes the bands present and future. But it was Aditya's wife who brings back the estranged friends together and even tougher choices to be made by all four.

One of the beauties of any film is that as a medium for communication it has the potential to both entertain and make a powerful statement. But rarely do they succeed in both departments. While most movies have themes, they're more concerned with entertaining, the recent example being 'Singh is King', and that's great because entertainment is first in my books too. But when I see a film like 'Rock On', I am reminded just how affective this platform can be. It's a powerful and honest film that doesn't give easy answers. The director leaves much to be figured out too. Rock and Roll and cinema usually mixes like oil and water, coming across as either pretentious, self-absorbed messes but this one is an exception because of it's emotional connect which the audiences can identify with. Rock On shows all the promise of becoming a cult movie, with the polish, textual fluidity and its rocking music but a distinctly underground sensibility and countless memorable moments. And whoever says that the film should be trimmed and is slow paced, have a snails brain. Every department is perfect and as Farhan Akhtar's Dil Chahta Hai says, 'It is very difficult to perfect your perfection'.

Unfortunately, the act of drawing attention to any singular performance seems to almost undermine the effectiveness of the cast as a whole, since it is the outstanding interrelationships formed that are so effective in the overall presentation. But I'll have to do this! Arjun Rampal delivers his best ever screen role so far. If he won awards for his last years hit 'Om Shanti Om', this one will only double it up for the matured-like-wine actor, the older he gets the better. He perfectly conveys both the emotional highs and the petty jealousies and frustrations within the band. Similarly, both Purab Kohli and Luke Kenny deliver the kind of support we've come to expect from them. The backbone of the band, however, delivering a sweet-natured performance that's never less than believable. But the real find is the producer/director turned actor Farhan Akhtar. His suave, sophisticated and a charasmatic look in suits compliements the sexy, cool and a dapper look in jenas and T-shirts. The best debutant award male nominee for the next year is here!

Rock On is, well ...perfect on numerous levels. As a straight narrative, it contains a tight, gripping structure that grabs the viewer and holds their interest throughout. As a character study, every portrayal is believable as well as likable, and as a "coming of age" story, each person goes through a full and complete arc that is satisfying and worth the time invested.

While it seems to be about music, band and Rock N Roll, it is, ultimately, a movie about love. It is about what we can lose through self-interest, and what we can gain through giving ourselves to others, in faithfulness, in friendship, and in honesty. The director Abhishek Kapoor has given the audiences around the world their best ever summer gift. With all of the flash and glitter and gloss, this definitely packs more heart into two and a half hours than any recent Oscar or a FilmFare winner, and more intelligence too. Unarguably deserves more stars than just five!

This one is a must see for the non Asian audience too!!


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