Rock On—The Review

113 Comments

I am sorry. I know I am supposed to love “Rock On” considering how much it has been appreciated and adored by the hep and the happening crowd, if only to show how “with it” I am and to prove that my brain has not become “down market” after endless listenings of “Humra Hau Chahi“.

But somehow, and you can blame Guddu Rangeela for that, I just could not bring myself to have any kind of fondness for “Rock On”, particularly after all the hype about how good it was.

Maybe it was the genre that was the problem. “Rock On” is an unapologetic chick flick. For guys. Which makes it technically a “dick flick”. Which is why I  hoped it would have been called “Cock On” , if for nothing else than for the sake of truth in labeling.

But it wasn’t.

It also wasn’t very funny or ironic or witty, which I believe movies of this kind have to be in order to work. This isn’t Jhankar Beats and it definitely isn’t Dil Chahta Hain. It could have been something like “Oldschool” , a story about a bunch of mid 30s and early 40s trying to recapture the wildness of their college days. Which would have been worth watching.

But again that it isn’t.

So what is it?

It is a story of a very rich management-type person (played with a Pooja Bhatt lisp by Farhan Akthar) who has withdrawn within himself, speaks in short sentences and snaps at his wife. Why? Because, boo hoo, his rock band broke up ten years ago, a scarring fact that he, for some deep supposedly”senti” reason, hides from his loving spouse like one conceals a venereal disease picked up at a truck stop. When you are in your 20s, such withdrawn behavior is cool, rockstar-like and angsty. When you are in your 30s, the same perennially-pissed off behavior simply means you need more fiber in your dinner, and a glass of  sat Isabgol to go with the double malt whiskey.

It is also a story of his three estranged band members, his band of brothers —one of whom runs a diamond shop (old Channel V DJ Purab) , one of whom mopes around the house (Arjun Rampal) and one (Luke Kenny) who does one of the world’s most sought after jobs, just one desirability level below cleaning cages for monkey poo—a musical assistant to Anu Malik (I wonder how the Great Photocopier let the producers get away without rocking himself with a Malikian pentameter song, rhyming “Raining” with “Paining” with “Gaining” and the ending with “Ooohh yaaaa”)

And finally it is the story of how they all come together for one last hurrah where every cliche of the band movie is presented in its full glory —the tinge of tragedy, the last moment change-of-hearts and the awesomely happy, ridiculous everything-falls-perfectly-into-place ending.

To be fair, “Rock On” has its high notes, like when the band is forced to play “Sanson ki zaroorat hain jaise” rock istyle, but these are few and far in between.

The performances are decent without being spectacular. And the pace of the narrative–let me just say it made me a headbanger.

Out of frustration.

“Don’t download the music. Buy the CD” say the end credits.

To all you unhep guys like me, I say “Just buy the CD. Don’t bother with the movie”

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113 thoughts on “Rock On—The Review

  1. Other low budget movies are far better than this crap.
    Mumbai Meri Jaan though flawed is above average. Tahaan is better and A Wednesday is the best of the lot in last few months.

  2. In spite of the movie being unabashedly a “dick flick” I unabashedly liked it… it doesnt have a story and it doesnt have good acting… and its not funny or witty … but it somehow appeals to a feel good feeling deep inside… have not seen Mumbai Meri Jaan or Tahaan or A Wednesday, but I am sure they are great movies… but Rock On, is not, and does not pretend (or I hope it does not) to be a great movie… but has an against all odds, very irrational, “Escape to Victory” type of feel …

    Would I watch Rock On again? Probably not… did I feel I had wasted 200 Rs like I did after Ekalavya… not really… and thats outside the cost of the CD…

    BTW glad to see no banalities about the Ipod this time… thank god

  3. These hep and happening people. Amazing how they hype up and ga-ga-fy an ordinary, sometimes morbid movie. I am being reminded of what they did with Black. Well, somebody has to call their bluff. Nobody does it like you can. Thank you.

  4. GB, nobody can beat u at sarcasm and humor, u r the best. Can’t stop laughing even after finishing reading the review. Simply awesome.

    I think this movie should have instead starrted Chiranjeevi, Rajnikanth, and Amitab. It would have been a superhit then.

  5. Thank god! I thought the movie was borderline awful. If someone’s going to insist on making a film about a rock band, the least they can do is insert some decent songs. Or even shoot the songs well. Like where the hell is the bloody bass guitarist, despite all the “live” songs having such strong basslines. Aaargh.

    Plus, wanted to slap Farhan Akhtar’s wife. Really woman, get a life. And the cheesy “tumor type thingy in head” for that guy. Oh, and did you catch the way the “synth” guy played the instrument. You’d think the only thing he knew how to play was Chopsticks..

    Aaaaargh!

  6. GB:
    No Irony????Not true

    “The irony is that the people who have loved the movie are exactly the people Magik did not care to cater to. Re-mix crowd and wannabe rockers who think that “Another brick in the wall” is the only thing that Floyd ever wrote”.

    I have been degraded to the coffee stain on the floor by my peers for not liking the movie. Heard women want a “man” like Farhan Akthar. Guess being a complete ass-wipe and neglecting his wife turns other women on. The truth be told, Farhan Akthar’s house is the best thing about the movie.

    My 2 cents on http://cleanragamuffin.blogspot.com/

  7. Shahana Goswami is the best thing about this movie.

    Arjun Rampal’s role suits his wooden expressions to a T, but he has worked well within his limitations.

    And yes, that Dandiya-Aashiqui sequence was super!

  8. The movie is a good and honest attempt if nothing else. And you got to give credit to the director for that. The movie was not at all gimmicky, though there were those bollywood cliches which could have been done without.

  9. Completely agree wid u GB….. this one sucks big time…….
    had forcefully taken my friend 2 da theatre the saturday b4 last after reading the rave reviews, but was hugely disappointed after watching it….the movie went totally along predicted lines and we had to take a few puffs after coming out. It was a complete drag and i completely agree when you say “To be fair, “Rock On” has its high notes, like when the band is forced to play ‘Sanson ki zaroorat hain jaise’ rock istyle, but these are few and far in between.”
    But I wud like to inform u that the ‘antel’ crowd of Kolkata had flocked to Nandan and I saw such a sell-out in a Kolkata theatre after a very long time…..The number of people queing up would have been atleast three times the hall capacity and guys were looking for black tickets, although in vain. From there we had to run to Priya where we had just made it. But this one was a real damper.
    I had taken exception to your ‘Race’ review(although had not commented) since I had quite liked it…… but on this count you are completely bang on…….

  10. By the way, would like to point out that it is ‘Channel V VJ Purab’ rather than ‘Channel V DJ Purab’ as you have mentioned

  11. @Nishit, its “Pooja Bhatt lisp” and not “Pooja Bhatt lips”, which are in any case as awful 😉

    But I agree, the movie is not one of the better ones in recent times. The humor was not at all upto the mark.

    Arnab, I would love to have your review on A Wednesday.

  12. Not a great movie, although some terrific acting by Shahana Goswami, a natural role for Purab Kohli, as well as Arjun Rampal who thankfully spoke so less..but undoubtedly, hail S-E-L!!!

  13. nothing great film ..just overhyped
    arnabDa im curious to know ur thoughts on what i feel another hyped film called jaane tu ya jaane na …

    alsosee wednesday if you get a chance (nice film IMO)

  14. For a rock movie, the songs suck for sure. The title song is a pansy ass rendition of a wannabe rock track in which they got one cool sounding guitar riff and then wrapped some pansy voiced lyrics around it.

    Someone mentioned there’s an invisible bass guitarist. That sounds like something to watch out (and not see) for. Havent seen it, but have to because of marital obligations. Good one there about the Cock On bit.

    Cant get past the music though… How is this ROCK?? They should’ve done a School of Rock ripoff, instead of the “every hollywood movie made about struggling rock bands” thing.

    – Saad
    http://www.flyyoufools.com

  15. Oh no, did you really dislike it that much? I’m not hap-n-happening (jobless 30-year-old mom?) but I felt barring a few stilted moments –like the opening scene and the Hollywood-style wrap-up in the end — it was a well-made film with a tight script, some good restrained direction, and superb acting definitely. I mean, they did overcome the temptation of overstating things and milking scenes for all they are worth. I also thought it was made with real warmth and a certain honesty that you can’t fake if you are going all out to make a film that will bring in the hep crowd.

  16. Why will you hang out with so called “hep and hipster” crowd when you can be “the great bong”, the dude with sarcasm and just malign a decent Hindi movie in long time. All hail to great bong because he doesn’t need anyone’s approval and he is hip in his own standing.

  17. BINGO !!!

    I felt the same too. Was just looking around for supporters.
    Being called ‘rock’ on,I had expected to see their struggle as a band – a rock band in india or how Rock is looked upon by the common man still humming nadeem shrawan or the (mis)conceptions about Rock and doping or an explaination of why there is so much of pain/death/agression/bloodshed/pessimism in the lyrics or for that matter atleast a better opposition than the ego clashes.

    Also i thought the characters were not properly ethched out for farhan akhtar and arjun rampal. They were quiet similar.

    Actually the way arjun rampal was portrayed till the time it was said that he wanted all the fame is contradicting. Initially i thought he was the one who will never care for fame/money – he just wanted to play. But it got messy by the end

  18. Sayali,

    Arjun Rampal’s character did not ‘want all the fame’ — he was just pissed off at being sidetracked, and at someone else hogging the limelight, and at what he felt was a compromise of what the band stood for. I guess this can happen in any group — and I would give the film plus points on the way it was handled. Also, I liked how they showed Farhan’s character trying to find a way to please both the director and Arjun while trying to make a success of the band’s first break.

  19. @GB
    Dude, comments people are posting after me have been published, whereas mine are yet to be featured, although its more than 2 hours since I have submitted them and I don’t think I’ve written anything unconstitutional, unparliamentry or offensive. Its been almost 2 years that I’ve been a regular reader and ofcourse a great admirer of your posts, but I must say these sort of things don’t help enhance ones reputation. I would really want to know what was the problems with my previous posts?

  20. I feel the review is too harsh.
    True,the movie did not have an emotional connect like DCH but it made a valiant attempt to have rock music as the raison d’être of what the characters’ did and pulled it off quite decently.

    I liked the songs and the “not-so-meaningful” lyrics too (most of the lyrics of Indian rock bands are no better). Having said that, I guess my expectation from Indian film industry is so low that anything that is remotely restrained stands out

  21. This Movie is jinxed maan…just brings you bad luck…there is something evil and omenisque about those tacky black and white posters…

  22. One fallout of this is going to be a spate of me-too movies around realization of forgotten dreams by 30-yr-old yuppies – I can see one immediately –
    A disgruntled oppressed sysadmin teams up with 10 sidelined oppressed programmers to take on the might of the all-powerful foreign software co, outsourcing the donkey work to India… and builds a killer web company, realizing all their dreams and taking national pride sky high.

    Brought to you by Aamir Khan Productions.

    The first person to guess the name will win 2 tickets from me for the movie when it gets made.

  23. hey GB….1st things 1st…I havent watched “Rock On”, but I want to correct you on one thing.
    Spare me the grace, coz this song used to be the rage of our hostel in MBA…
    He is not called the “Diamond Star” in Bhojpuri music industry for nothing..you should hear Guddu rangeela singing his other chartbuster “Thoni sa jeans dheela kaurau” and of course see the music video.Man,I dont know how these things pass the censor boards.Have we got a different one at the centre,a censor board that is?
    Where I would like to correct you is in the lyric.its “Humka hau chahi” and not “Humra”.Trivial,but thats how it is.And have you seen the video? What the “hau” is Guddu’s eyes and indications give away.
    Really want you to write on him,the legendary Guddu Rangeela.

  24. oops? where did my comment go? i said – mean but oh so true! it IS a chick flick – but then give us a good looking man with a guitar in his hands and we’re all putty!

  25. @Sovon: Your comments get caught in Akismet (WordPress’s native) spam catcher which is alas something that is beyond my control. Once I log into my blog, I of course approve everything. Even then I apologize if a comment somewhere gets eaten or is late being posted.

  26. Same here .. For tat first of all lemme allude the weak points
    1.The band name .. “Magik” .. it Sucks big time.
    2. As most of the guys pointed out – no bass guitarist
    3. Prachi desai and her acting
    4. Arjun rampal being portrayed as joe satriani and i never could see the jaadoo in his fingers. His expressions while playing the lead also was pathetic

    I guess purab kohli and Farhan akthar did reasonably well

    A special mention to the music which really rocked. Though the lyrics dint have tat competence and i ve heard many of the leads somewhere or the other.

    Overall a good movie for which i d give a 3/5

  27. Oh gosh, so it’s Guddu Rangeela who sang the mindblowing “Tani sa jeans dheela karo”? Then he does deserve to be called the “Diamond Star” and a lot more.

    I’m rather indifferent to rock music as a genre (though I’d happily listen to Roadhouse Blues while driving around LA at night), so I don’t know if I’d care for the film. And I also have an instinctive aversion to anything hyped up by our “happening” crowd.

  28. Ashish wrote:
    One fallout of this is going to be a spate of me-too movies around realization of forgotten dreams by 30-yr-old yuppies – I can see one immediately –
    A disgruntled oppressed sysadmin teams up with 10 sidelined oppressed programmers to take on the might of the all-powerful foreign software co, outsourcing the donkey work to India… and builds a killer web company, realizing all their dreams and taking national pride sky high.

    do not give ideas to producers aware of www

  29. I was wondering when a day will come when I will disagree with you 🙂

    I enjoyed the movie. Infact I enjoyed Jhoom Barabar Jhoom too, which a lot of people said is a piece of crap . I was able to relate to the Abhishek Bacchan character because I have lived with one similar specimen for around two years.

    I think people watch movies differently. There are ‘n’ number of things which can go wrong or right for you.

    And then there are movies like Jimmy and Raqeeb–Rivals in Love which everybody can relate too.

    GB you are not ‘spot on’ this time for me but please ‘rock on’
    Cheers!!

  30. @Ashish
    “The first person to guess the name will win 2 tickets from me for the movie when it gets made.”

    How about “Revenge of Programmers” or “Jaag Utha Sysadmin”??

  31. Precisely..for all the hype the movie is not at all great. Arjun Rampal as usual sucks and now is looking all the more frustrated with the long hair. This was like a remake of Dil Chahta Hai without all the fun.

  32. Average predictable movie lots of folks with engineering/mba education in india in the nineties ( and now in their thirties ) will easily relate to.

    Would put it on par with Jhankaar Beats … DCH is of course in a league of its own.

    Loved that word play with chick-dick-cock-on 🙂

  33. A wonderful review! All the hype and critic applause are not worth for this movie. A total liftoff of DCH premise with addition of Jhankar Beats music masala, all the hype and critic applause are not worth for this movie. Fashion designing, investment banking, music company are professions so cool and hip that if you are selling fish, owning a music store etc etc you better give up your profession or your life. Last but not the least, the lyrics of songs simply demean Indian rock bands and not expected in movie which is produced by Javed Akhtar’s son.
    Thank you greatbong for a true review.

  34. I am sure most of the “critics” here do not know that “The Doors” did not have a bass guitartist and that the pianist Ray Manzarek played the bass on his keyboard!

  35. Hey Bong,
    I am a musician, and loved this movie. mostly bcoz it bought back old campus band memories. you shouldnt have given it such a bad bashing. it was ok. predictable story yes. but entertaining.

  36. Agree with you completely, one of the things a movie like this needs is awesome music, but this one just fails to inspire. The soundtrack was mostly ad jingle quality with no passion. Somehow i felt as detached at the end of the movie and Farhan Akhtar’s character throught the whole movie..

  37. @Ashish

    This might truely turn into a reality. Film makers today are not afraid of experimenting and your idea could definitely be ripped. Sounds cool but how will they make people understand the web logic. Neways, it’d be good to watch this movie if it gets made.

  38. I have got just one question for you in response to your comment:

    “…. who has withdrawn within himself, speaks in short sentences and snaps at his wife. Why? Because, boo hoo, his rock band broke up ten years ago, a scarring fact that he….”

    Would you be your same sarcastic and kick-ass humored self if somehow you were stopped from writing your blog??

    Hope you do read this comment and reply to it.

  39. @Rock On ! “Would you be your same sarcastic and kick-ass humored self if somehow you were stopped from writing your blog??”

    Ten years hence I would definitely have gotten over my disappointment. And yes I wouldnt hide from my wife the fact that I used to write a blog. But then that’s just me.

    @Chaicoffee: Have you tried Feedreaders? I am sure there is one where you can switch images off and then my blog will look like a business report.

  40. Well GB, I finally get to disagree with you 🙂 I liked the movie. Very much. Overall, i thought that it was a tight movie, put together very well.

    I agree that there are areas that could’ve been improved upon (like others said) eg. Magik (pansy), No bassplayer (me being a hard-core bass fan) and stuff. But here are a few reasons why I liked the movie:
    1. Joe’s character is like so many guys I’ve known and still know. Heck I think I know the guy on whom the character was modeled!
    2. The sheer guts to produce a rock-themed movie in an industry that thrives on stereotypes.
    3. Trying to show the true market for music in India. Much like the producer (the first dude) of the label.
    4. A song like Zahreley (leave aside the lyrics) to be released in a mainsteram Hindi OST. (and more like that)

    BTW, the band Chakravuh (the one they face-off with first) was the most talented band of its time. Suraj is still a great singer and Chandresh is parguably the most talented guitarist. They are now called ‘Dream Out Loud’ and the music is kick-butt! Unfortunately, they will be effin lucky if their CDs sell a hundredth of what someone/thing like ‘Guddu Rangeela’ (I’m not sure if that’s a movie or a person. My apologies to his/its fans) will. And that’s thanks to mostly folks who prefer to download, rather than buy the music (like the target for Guddu Rangela). I think I should get off this and see if our band can churn out something in Bhojpuri 😛

    Oops… I started off advocating the movie and ended up venting 😦 Well, that’s the plight of rock (and non punjabi, non filmy) musicians in India, I guess… (and do not be tricked into believing I am one of them)

    And not all hep folks liked the movie to be honest… My psyched out brother didn’t and I don’t think I know of a more hep dude that the guy 🙂

  41. @ “Rock On!!!”

    a)Desist from an Ad Hominem attack (I’ll save you the trouble for googling- it means “Stop with the Personal Attack”).This is GB’s blog and has something to with “H-u-m-o-r” (something Im afraid google will not be able to help you with).If you dont like it – bugger off.

    b)You dont have to get so “senti” about the line unless of course you were Arjun Rampal (in which case all I’d like to say is “Please stop…..please”)

    c)Come up with a better friggin nick for chrissake.

  42. @ The Walker: Valid point… finally some non-Punjabi music in a movie which is pleasant to hear.. how much mainstream Hindi movie music has become Punjabi soni kuddi music is non-funny…

  43. I actually liked the movie. Reminded me of those times when I bunked classes at Jadavpur and instead went over to my PG accomodation with a bunch of friends for some jamming sessions. Maybe just like the character of Farhan Akhtar I am also suffering from the “Nyeka 30s syndrome” ….but cant help it.

  44. GB,

    I have been an huge fan for a couple of years but on this count I gotta disagree. I’m hardly part of the Hep set. I am accused by the hep set of being stuck in time as I have Petty and Dylan on my pod rather than … than.. damn ..whoever is hot today.

    I liked the film…course it’s got it’s issues and Farhan took the empty life a little too far.. But the rest of it made me smile. Purab’s I will suvive was the just fantastic. After ages someone has managed to match the cheesiness of the cheesiest song ever.

    The last movie I truly enjoyed was Tashan… I thoght it was brilliant with the tounge in cheek that only con-air had displayed in the last decade. It dares you to take it seriously and makes fun of you if you do. How about your review..?

    and Ashish –

    My guess for thre two tockets to the Aamir Khan movie

    Code Screeen Par.

    Cheers

  45. O Great GB,

    There is a movie that is urgently calling out for your attention:

    Karzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz starring the one and only wooden-faced, cleavage-exposing Himes Bhai.

    Please, please review er, rip apart Karzzzz…z at the earliest!

  46. It’s total heart-numbing stuff, watching a band called ‘magic’ go through a 5th-standard fight and then sulk for years.

    And Farhan’s no singer. There, I said it.

  47. I agree… for a movie about rock, and such strong bass every time they sang… the band didn’t even have a bassist on stage. I mean Luke Kenny should’ve known better. If this movie makes a respectable score on imdb (which is unlikely), this is the #1 goof.

  48. @ The Walker (are you tired Man?), Dealer (peddle anything interesting?): Why curse Punjabi music… trust me the Punjabi music (or any particular genre for that matter) you hear on screen is just what they think you want to hear…

  49. @gb

    you not like this here movie b’cuz you did not go zliiiiiiing on a guitar or bong-bong on a drum set.

    you dreamt of differential equations and maybe of girls and NOT of gibson guitars.

    so, ipso quod.

  50. @ the one : (trying to come up with something cheesy like “peddle anything interesting?”… what about “are you lonely?” … but that sounds like something out of 123 hotties 🙂 )… not cursing Punjabi music… but it is galling that all of Indian music is sometimes summed up to be Punjabi music. I have not understood the phenomenon yet… but movies like “Singhhhh is King” and “Jo Bole Sonihaal” keep me wondering… I can well trust you that this is the music “they” think I want to hear… which I dont and hence the irritation… and thats why I like the Rock On music (with its cheesy lyrics, which, lets face it… is actually what most college bands come out with..) …

    on an entirely separate note… i realized that the song “zahreela” is … both tune and a lot lyrics… very similar to Fossil’s “Bishakto Manush”… I don’t know the history of the two bands but it seems that the Bengali song is a copy… Whether its a acknowledged copy or not I dont know.. but there is certainly tongue in the cheek acknowledgement in Fossil’s song… “Se chakrovuhe ajo…. bandho hoye thaki…”

  51. Then probably you wouldn’t qualify to be as passionate about blogging as Aditya (Farhan Akhtar) was about his music in the movie.
    As for me, liking for the movie is based on a sole premise – “you can never be the same person if you have to abandon your dreams and pursue something else”.

  52. And this is what happens when industry comes up with a decent movie without the regular masala.
    Agreed. There is no award winning script, no heart-breaking story, performance was average.
    But then, “Aantel” like GB also forgets the entertainment values of these movies. Yes, yes. The movie is not about Kashmir, or not the terrorism in Mumbai which are the most sought after topic in bollywood this year.
    I was just amazed by the climax scene in the movie, where the band reunites under a “Pulse” like stage. Very well done. I can’t remember any other hindi movie where live music is filmed in such an elegant way.

    Probably, they do it in JU and that’s why our GB is not so impressed.

    Good bollywood movie, Go watch it with friends and family. Don’t expect too much and just enjoy the show.

  53. @rock on

    Man, millions of people have no other choice but to move on(even if it means abandoning their dream, coz circumstances may redefine your dreams and goals completely). Time teaches you that. Not everyone is fortunate enuf to live their dreams in their life. This is a euphemism for pragmatism.

    If you are able to live your dreams then good for you but that doesnt necessarily mean that others were less passionate about their dreams. This thing is very subjective and you can take an objective stand on this only if you are in total control of the situation you are in.

  54. Hi Greatbong,
    I am a great fan of yours but I believe on this occasion your cynicism has gotten better of you!!! “Rock on” is definitely one of the better movies that have come off late and the music better than 99% of what Bollywood has to offer. Anyways it’s just a matter of opinion I guess.
    But as somebody previously said… I am waiting for what you have to say on KarZZZ!!! Hope you will not make us wait for long.

    Ron

  55. You’re surprised (being a mature 30 yourself, I presume) that someone needs to hide from his wife such simple things as having been part of a rock band, having had a rock n roll dream ten years back and having been traumatised by the way it broke so suddenly – to the extent of feeling the need to completely get over those memorie in order to be able to move ahead with other things in life. But there were no claims of such maturity from Farhan Akhtar’s character – that he could shed off his “senti” as bullshit. Equally pedestrian people like me can fully understand such behaviour in their own world-view.

    For less intelligent people like me who have very little understanding of cinematic excellence, the movie was a very watchable (even twice may be) – more so because nothing like this has been done in mainstream Hindi movies before – a Hindi rock’n’roll movie. May be it is really not for the exalted rock’n’roll aware Bengali race at least (who have had such pathbreaking acts like Fossils, Cactus and Bhoomi) but for the very third-world, very unintellectual, very low-quality rock’n’roll listeners of India. For them it was a good watchable movie … better than many others that have come out this year.

    Farhan Akhtar’s singing was bad, some of the songs were downright silly, and there were clichés of course – like Rampal breaking the paan-munching music producer’s nose and knocking down Akhtar because he felt Akhtar was hogging the limelight – and spelling the end of the band – very Almost Famous-esque. But the movie was not a rip-off – not even “inspired” by one as far as my knowledge goes – and these are important parameters for me while judging Hindi movies. The songs were ordinary, but with a few good phrases on the guitar which are perhaps Ehsaan’s/Loy’s contributions. Some parts were real – the plight of people who do good original music vs people who do remixes – and the mediocrity of unworthy music producers they have to put up with. It was not all crap – of course it was not Bergmann or Scorsese.

    You’re best at Mithun Da movies and Chingari-type movies. I mean you’re good generally at reviewing risqué stuff. Hope to read more of such stuff from you.

  56. Even though I am quite a rock fan, i did not like the movie two cents and kept on wondering why I didn’t even though all my friends did.
    My reasons don’t come out as strong as yours… by they exist novertheless.
    Quite a fun read this one 🙂

  57. “The band name .. “Magik” .. it Sucks big time.” – Just think there was a band called Toto. Most people would agree that the name Toto sucks big time … at least if a movie was made about a band with that name. Anyway … most people out here are very rock-aware which is evident from their responses … still at the expense of stating the obvious … Toto was a band that kicked some serious ass. So yes “Magik” sucks big time but takes nothing away from the movie or the story.

    “As most of the guys pointed out – no bass guitarist”. – If you watched the movie carefully … you would have heard Purab or Rampal say that the keyboardist programs all the bass on his keyboard. I would not cite Doors’ example but there are many extraordinary bands which did not have a bassist. Not a big deal.

    “Prachi desai and her acting.” – Hmmm, she is quite a cute woman … and her character is shown as meek. In fact she does pretty well, notwithstanding her soap background.

    “Arjun rampal being portrayed as joe satriani and i never could see the jaadoo in his fingers. His expressions while playing the lead also was pathetic.” – Oh really, who told you he is portrayed as Joe Satriani? Did you ever watch those hit Rishi Kapoor starrers when he used to massage the guitar fretboard. Rampal does a good job … and I felt his looks were modeled on Billy Crudup’s in Almost Famous. And what expressions are you looking for … does he need to squint his eyes, gnash his teeth or what … I doubt you’d have seen a real rock concert with real rock musicians playing in it.

  58. I liked the movie, but i like your review too. may be, reconciliation is a also a part of life, which aditya fails to understand. btw, purab was a channel v vj(video jockey) not DJ!!

  59. this review was overdue.
    The movie’s terribly overhyped.
    And with the subject,it could have been AWESOME.An opportunity squandered…while trying to make a movie on Rock Music for the “masses”.And of course there will always be a lot of “kewl” people who think going to a Rock show or getting associated with such music is something of a status symbol.And so Rock On will “rock”…..
    what crap

  60. ‘Rock On!!’ – who says that these days? Moving on, a few more bricks for the movie – though the music is hummable, the lyrics make no sense most of the times. But then we are a nation where “Main Toh Raste Se Jaa Raha Tha” was a reigning hit!

    A major pain point in the movie (for me)- a tepid script. The slap was such a flimsy excuse for the pain and the angst of a decade which a sane person could certainly not emphatise with. Without even going into lawsuits for rescinding contracts, we have seen cases of band members leaving and life going on. Also, the Rampal character had the pain but his wife was the one who harboured the neagtive feelings for so long – bit hard to digest. They should have named the movie “Grow Up an Move On” instead of “Rock On!!” (Why 2 exclamation marks?)

    Another very funny thing (in a ‘realistically’ made movie) – the climax scene. Rampal gets off his taxi (in the Mumbai traffic) and walks towards the venue and not only manages to reach it within a song but also does a number on the guitar. Heh!

    It was an honest attempt but somewhere they lost it. It is another popcorn and pepsi flick. You watch it and you forget it. Nothing to write home about.

    PS Neha: I think Zoya Akhtar is Farhan’s sis and certainly doesnot deserve a slap. There are others vying for it. Odhuna Akhtar is the wife and she is a damn good hair stylist btw.

  61. Just re-read your review (first read was before watching the movie – via a forward sent by a friend). I am not much clued into rock as such. But really liked your wordplay :-). I found it an absolutely immature guy movie, fairytale-ish, less tongue-in-cheek and well-put-together than Jhankar Beats..won’t even bother comparing it to DCH. And Magik! :-OI think even class Four or Five kids today can come up with a better name than that! (Reminded me of those ‘secret societies’ with passwords popular with just-growing up kids, :-))..But some moments are watchable,and chuckle-worthy, the live concert scenes had foot-tapping music (tho in some places, especially when singing in a lower key, Farhan Akhtar can’t hold the tune)and were pretty energetic. Liked the fact that the songs were done without much playback. All in all, money spent without regret but wouldn’t recommend anyone to go watch it.

  62. There are some things one must appreciate about the movie:
    – An honest attempt at making a movie about “never forgetting what your calling in life is”
    – Acting of Farhan Akhtar’s and Arjun Rampal’s wives in their respective roles of rich clueless housewife and fish wholesaler were amazing
    – The few “high notes” that you do mention
    – The music (combining rock with hindi lyrics is a delicate art :-))

    My propensity as an optimist is to remember these over and above the many other shortcomings (e.g. predictable & Farhan Akhtar focused plot, too much suspension-of-disbelief). Your review seems totally correct in its evaluation but your final verdict seems rather steeped in a desire to disagree. I don’t think liking the movie has much to do with being “hep and happening” – it is circumstantial and individual – just as I hope your review is.

  63. ha,ha,ha…Great Review…Sat Isbgol..!!! One thing I have to say that after reading all those five starred reviews about this movie…My Soul is finally saved by GreatBong (As Usual)…Pathetically…Slow…What is there to ROCK ON???

    Meri Laundi ka ik Bill
    Mera baap bharega Is film ka Bill…

    ALL YOU PPL…LISTEN UP…

    CHOKE…ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hai ye waqt ka Isara…GHATIYA SINGER NE KAAN PE JUTA MAARA!!!

  64. Good analysis of the movie. So, finally i got few people who dislike the movie on few bands.
    It seems that Farhan Akhtar is uncomfortable in the movie, god knows why. Few things r left unjustified, like Farhan’s love interest. Why he leaves his lady love unreasonably, when he needs her the most.

    Also his voice quality is poor.

  65. c’mon… rock-on deserved a better review than what has been presented.
    I accept that there were several flaws in the script and narration was slow…but the direction was amazing. Having three back to back songs at one point of the movie without making it monotonous, really is laudable.
    A more balanced review was expected. Its a ‘don muthuswamy’ or
    ‘thoda pyaar thoda magic’ , to deserve such brutality at the hands of the author.

  66. correction… Its NOT a ‘don muthuswamy’ or
    ‘thoda pyaar thoda magic’ , to deserve such brutality at the hands of the author.

  67. What a relief! Was wondering if I was the only one who didn’t find it as good as people are claiming it to be. Don’t have a lot of Indians around here (Minneapolis), but whoever has seen it has not stopped short of comparing it to Dil Chahta Hai.

    I found Jhankar Beats, highly underated I think, to be a (much) better exponent of ‘rock’ music and an overall (much much) better movie experience.

    Interestingly, on a side note, this was my first Hindi movie in the theater after Om Shanti Om. Is it my luck that I go to see these ones or have they stopped making good movies?!

  68. well, i was really taken aback by the review of the movie as presented in this blog, this is simply authentic PNPC which is going on here, it takes lot of courage to even think of making a movie, choose an offbeat topic without matkas and jhatkas, go up on the stage and perform when you arent a singer.
    I think sitting thousand miles away you guys are the first ones to curse bollywood because of its dancing around tree sequences and himesh reshamiya stuff, so when there is an honest effort from a filmmaker why do you have to start behaving like the religious extremists who are ever ready to torch down a theatre. grow up guys, learn to appreciate if you cant do that atleast please dont do PNPC.

    you may abuse me or curse me but it is really shameful that the guy who call himself greatbong has really let me down.

  69. The movie got success because friend bonding was there in the movie.We all love friend flick.What actually astonished me is Farhaan Akatr,he delivered a stunning performance in the movie Rock On.

  70. That was a bit heavy on the movie.

    I think the movie was just a formality to promote the music album. better come as OST. Btw it does introduce the sounds of grunge to the dholak and synth listen masses with a bollywood tag on it.

    Indian Rock is pickin up fast. But the music composition should hv been left to more competent people like Agnee so that they donot disappoint the crowd already exposed to rock n roll. Soundtracks look impressive on the Dolby DTS but not so much on the regular 4.1.

    However good for starters. Expected better in future.

  71. Hmmm… I was wondering about the negative reviews and why so many people were unhappy with the music and the singing. Then I got the answer

    “I found Jhankar Beats, highly underated I think, to be a (much) better exponent of ‘rock’ music…”

    But of-course for people who would consider Jhankar Beats’ music to be Rock music, it was sure to disappoint. But don’t worry, you have movies like Karzzzzzz to look forward to. You’ll see your favorite stars gyrating to your favorite music with their fists clenching the fretboards of a bass guitar while a lead riff (obviously programmed) is being played. Good luck!

    And a rockstar need not necessarily have the best of voices… You can not expect Steve Tyler to sing like Kishoreda. (period) And I cringe at what would happen the other way round… They are two different forms of music! I doubt RATM will ever sing ‘songs’ like Kumar Sanu to please some of y’all. Tough luck, but that’s life…

  72. LOL. I watched the movie yesterday and was amazed at how badly a person could play a character that is supposed to be a lead singer in a band. The only worse one I could think of was Rani Mukherjee showing off her panties while carrying a guitar on stage in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.
    Arjun Rampal looks like he is modelling on stage for an underwear ad (while being fully clothed) and trying to give the same kind of sexy facial expressions you would see in “Bapi Ganjee (aka Chokh bondho kore khule fela jay)” ad.

    The girls were simply irritating, while one being too furious all the time over the fish smell, the other one always tring to find out if everyone else is “OK”.

    The live show scenes were too cliche. Anyone who has watched a metallica/nirvana/U2 concert (or even the videos) would instantly notice how those ideas have been pinched.

    Shankar ehssaan Loy have done a good job with the music and the instruments and arrangements as a whole. But the lyrics of Javed Akhtar suck. He is no Jim Morrison to carry off poetry in a so called “rock song”

  73. I’m kind of on middle-ground here, as I DO love rock music, but don’t presume to own it or define its boundaries. I consider the music in the film “rock” all right…so what if it doesn’t hit quite as hard as The Who or any such? In fact, the lyrics that almost everyone describes as “throwaway” I find quite enjoyable, a throwback to the kind of naive stuff any of us would have written at a younger age (I’m guilty of far worse at 16… heheh). “Meri laundry ka ek bill”, in fact, reminds me of Cliff Richard’s “Where is my heart?” , and other such early rock’n’roll/pop songs from the 50s and early 60s. Harmless fun. And whether it was intended or not, “Zahreelay” was an awesome parody of the ridiculous lyrics that Indian metal bands choose to write.

    I think anyone who has some passion for music should be able to enjoy the film. Me, I’m a sucker for anything music-related (I loved “Jhankaar Beats” too but that was much more of a comic take on a similar premise). Okay, so it’s not Oscar material, but, heck, what is? Flaws and all, what comes through at the end of this film is the joy that you receive from following your passion. I did think Arjun’s wife got a bloody raw deal though, until the “fairy tale” ending. The script COULD have been a little kinder to her.

    Incidentally, many a rock fanatic has pointed out some fairly glaring errors in this film (have to say, shame on you Luke), but I seem to be the only one who noticed a poster of Led Zeppelin’s “Mothership” (2007 release) in their 10-year flashback.

  74. Reading the previous comments, I see people have ventured to cite the example of Manzarek and how the Doors didn’t have a dedicated bass guitarist. Twp point:

    *Manzarek played the bass on a keyboard, which sounds rather different from a bass guitar. Are poeple here meaning to say that Rock On’s songs have the bass being played on a keyboard? 😛

    *For the later, studio albums of the Doors they did use a bass guitarist. “The Doors” and “Strange Days” don’t have one but please do listen to “The Soft Parade”. You should be able to pick up a bass guitar.

    Cheers,
    Hades
    http://thetimesofbullshit.blogspot.com/

  75. yeah, this is fucking slow movie, just another fuckup of bollywood, I’m losing interest in watching any more hindi movie.. B(H)ollywood is a copycat industry- sucks bigtime

  76. Pingback: The ‘Rock On’ Review for Citizen Matters

  77. Incidentally, methinks they could’ve easily avoided all the “invisible bassist” jibes by simply making Luke the bassy… after all the only thing he appears to do on the keys is the cheesy synth intro to “Sinbad the Sailor”, which is hardly indispensable.

    I guess Anu Malik would only be interested in a synth player, though 😀

  78. Hmm…Disagree with you ..loved the movie for its simplicity, and probably the fact that events could be identified with my life or life of people who fall in the same generation as the Magik band..

    Would love to see more of this kind 🙂

  79. It’s a rip-off of more than 20 films as far as i know. The one it resembles the most is a Korean film called “The happy life” ny Lee-Joon-ik…though ‘the happy life’ is a bit more of a comedy. The only credit i can give this movie is that its different from the typical love-triabgle-rectangle and occasional love-octagon crap that keeps coming out of bollywood. But they still have light years to go ahead to match hollywood, french or the Korean( in my opinion THE BEST) industries…

  80. Completely disagree wth this review of the film….but the Post was ncie to read as always.

    Found the film absolutely delightful – not just me alone. but the wife, the mother in law and the father in law too. And we see outselves as the aaam aaadmi/family of India than any heptypes….

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