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It is a story of a very rich management-type person (played with a Pooja Bhatt lisp by Farhan Akthar) who has withdrawn within himself, speaks in short sentences and snaps at his wife.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 When you are in your 20s, such withdrawn behavior is cool, rockstar-like and angsty.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”