Rockstar—the Review

The next time Pakistan makes a medium-range ballistic missile, I hope they call it Fakhri. Cause the lead lady of “Rockstar”, a veritable Sanjay Kapoor in ladies clothes, is a messenger of celluloid destruction. So stilted, artificial and halting is her performance that she makes Katrina Kaif look like Katherine Hepburn. I kid you not.

Looking at the promos and the adulatory reviews on Rediff, I thought “Rockstar” would be a somewhat original movie. Bollocks.  I have seen “Rockstar” before. Many times.”Dil Ka Kya Kasoor” had the hero singing “Ga Raha Hoon Is Mehfil Mein” while the lady who causes his dard, Divya Bharati, dies in the hospital without makeup. In “Disco Dancer” Mithunda channels the grief of his mother being accused of thievery and the trauma of watching Rajesh Khanna dance to emerge as a great dancer of disco. As a matter of fact, dig up old VHSs of 80s and 90s movies. If any of them has the tag-line “A musical love story”, odds are it’s the same story as “Rockstar”.

Of course this is the 2010s. Which means generous dollops of pretension is a must. Hence “Rockstar”, as the critics would tell you, is a poetic journey of self-discovery where a tortured soul finds the artist within. Jim Morrison style.

Yeah right. More Danny Morrison I say.

Ranbir Kapoor (Janardhan Jakhar) wants to be a rockstar. Hence he is advised  Kader Khan-ishly “Bakhurdar, bansoori agar tooti naheen to sur mein woh dard kahaan?”. Of course, “Rockstar” doesn’t have *this* line. If it did, it would be, oh so downmarket 90s.

Anyways, in order to make beautiful moosik, Janardhan Jakhar starts looking for pain like Prince Siddhartha.

He finds it.  So does the audience.

In the form of Nargis Fakhri. And her histrionic abilities.

Love, heartbreak and disease follows as Janardhan Jakhar, now metamorphoses into Jordan (a hat-tip to Jimmy?), a bad-ass international (world famous in Prague only) rockstar.

The problem is that even after he becomes a rockstar on the path of self-destruction, Jordan remains very tame. He does not bite pigeons like Ozzie or stuffs drum full of explosives like Keith Moon or make sex-tapes with Pamela Anderson like Tommy Lee. Instead, he dresses up as one of the extras from the song “Khatooba” and  mopes about like Rahul Roy in Aashiqui.

As a normal human being, Janardhan Jakhar was at least interesting. As the wild rockstar, he becomes a deadly bore, almost as excitingly demented as Alok Nath in leather and chains. Which is where the movie is totally killed, despite Ranbir’s sincere performance and A R Rahman’s music.

The final verdict?

Simply that, even after all the hype, hoopla and media frenzy, the greatest Hindi movie about an international rockstar in peril in Europe still remains Himesh-bhai’s “Aap Ka Surooorr”. [My review]

At least it was wildly entertaining.

“Rockstar” isn’t even close.


67 thoughts on “Rockstar—the Review

  1. First…….iMine, iPhone4Gs, Amazon Fire and Ipad2 plissss…..

  2. First!

    Hilarious post, Arnab. The movie was indeed horrible. I couldnt connect with the fact that a Rockstar doesnt smoke charas.. I mean its not like a rule, but then again, if its inspired by Morrison, then it should ideally be that way. Fakhri is a disaster. Cannot believe such people merely get movies based on their looks, which also I didnt think was stunning really. And I do not remember when was the last time Bollywood showed kinky romance really nicely. Horrible it was in Rockstar. Ranbir of course did his best as he always does. Music was perhaps the only saving grace. Story is just thrown away.

    Very nice review again!

  3. So Ra.One best movie of the year? Astoundingly, that seems to be the case.

  4. The casting of Fakhri was Fakhed-up!

  5. Surya,

    Haunted 3D and Dhobi Ghat. For different reasons. In different ways.

  6. Ooh yes yes of course! Haunted 3D yes. I thought Dhobi Ghat was 2010?

  7. “Alok Nath in leather and chains”!! Must. Google. BDSM. Now.

  8. Yeh saali zindagi was good? And no mention of the khatooba look?

  9. The promos didn’t seem very promising to me I have to say my favorite film this year so far was Haunted 3D. I am now curious about this Nargis character how can someone be so bad? How it possible???

  10. Sidharth, Yes forgot that. Added.

  11. @greatbong – minor typo: “As the wild rockstar, he become a deadly bore”.. shouldn’t it be “he becomes”?

  12. I liked it….. Nice songs, nothing out of the ordinary!

  13. Yes, Dil Ka Kya Kasoor was one similar flick.
    Even there is that striking resemblance to LOVE where Salman plays this wannabe singing star, pulling off a miracle to save his dying lady love from her deathbed. that package too came with a mentor buddy in the form of Amjad Khan.

  14. I think most Hindi movies nowadays are only able to show commitment to a story up to the point of making the trailer. Carrying it over 1.5-2 hrs is apparently too much.

  15. I think it was the first time that a movie left me heartbroken! Heartbroken coz’ i had seriously expected some romantic stuff , which was there and not there. See how confused I am !!

    and yes about Fakhri (no pun intended) , I think her mouth literally carried away all our attention.

    Also, fakhri’s sasural was quite cool about everything innit? 😛

    some scenes.. were very well shot and keep on coming back to me .. but a movie is not only about a few scenes it’s how all of it comes together.

  16. You know that scene in which Fakhri’s sister asks Jordan if it’s possible Fakhri might be pregnant? A toddler in the theatre shouted, “Aye dadee!”

    To me, that was the only entertaining bit in the whole movie.

  17. This has been a bad year for Indian films though there have been some positive signs.

  18. Arre Bong man…no mention of the Brazilian model who played the XXLarge hearted husband of fakhri?? 🙂

    @ Gayatri

    toddler trouble at my show too! toddler from behind had meticulously pieced together the non-linear/fragmented/song-after-song/dilli-parag-dilli narrative till that point but was stumped by the pregnancy revelation!
    Toddler : (sounds clueless) What happened daddy?
    Daddy : Oye chup kar!

  19. Ozzy bit the head off a bat

  20. Your reviews are getting worse day by day…and as a die hard greatbong fan i am saying this…

  21. spot on! couldn’t agree more about fakhri… she had us cringing! and to think i was of the opinion that the brazilian girl from love aaj kal was as bad as they get… what’s with imtiaz casting horrible though arguably pretty actresses lately!

  22. Visting after a long time – asusual your style is impeccable.In recent memory,this is the second potentially good-movie-gone-wrong in a row (first one was Mausam)A great trailer does not equal a great movie – here’s my take on Rockstar -

  23. you are demented alright, if not frustrated…

  24. “Mithunda channels the grief of his mother being accused of thievery and the trauma of watching Rajesh Khanna dance to emerge as a great dancer of disco”

    Great line. Very funny.

  25. GB,

    Thank you for linking Aap Ka Surooorr review. I have gone through the comments section and it brought back all the memories. We really had a blast in comments section, me, yourfan2, anonymmouse, Ravi Ivaturi, swati, celeste. We used to discuss about things very passionately in comments section. I don’t know where Ravi Ivaturi is now. Any idea folks? It was really a very nice time.

  26. “The problem is that even after he becomes a rockstar on the path of self-destruction, Jordan remains very tame. He does not bite pigeons like Ozzie or stuffs drum full of explosives like Keith Moon or make sex-tapes with Pamela Anderson like Tommy Lee.”

    Just shows how much you understand about movies… and rockstars. Please stop writing half hearted reviews.

  27. I enjoyed the movie.. the songs were great, Ranbir was good..I can get over Fakhri’s (non) performance…
    Also, original stories are great.. but a great many very good movies don’t have original story lines…

  28. The Biggest Loser November 14, 2011 — 8:57 am

    Have not seen the movie yet, but is the name Janardhan Jakhar for real? Since when did ‘Rockstars’ start having names like this? I think some film makers in their overzealous attempt at discarding names such as Karan, Rahul and Raj are going overboard. No offence to Jats, but a Jat Rockstar is somewhat of an oxymoron, notwithstanding their other sturdy qualities.

    These days money can buy anything in the entertainment industry. Personally I got sick of seeing photos of Imtiaz Ali, Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis Fakhri in the newspapers on some pretext or the other. Mercifully this movie is now on screens and further harassment will cease. Again, i will reserve my comments about the movie since i haven’t seen it, but I won’t be surprised if this so called “coming of age movie for Ranbir Kapoor” kind of reviews are not another paid attempt at promotion.

    At another level, i agree with AR Rahman’s observation that India does not have a true Rockstar, at least the way the west defines it. Most of the aspiring rock musicians from India that I have met come from affluent families, are ‘convent educated’ and have generally led a life of plenty and freedom from parental pressure to become a doctor or engineer. That spirit of liberation, denial, anger, revolution and other such adjectives which define western rock appear a facade on an Indian performer, who hasn’t had much to complain about in his cozy life. India may not produce the likes of Jim Morrison, and there is nothing to feel bad about it. We are a very different society and there is nothing wrong in having our own definition of who is a Rockstar. For that to start happening, movies which want to convert desis to Jim Morrison should be consigned to the dustbin.

  29. The review is funny but slightly tepid compared to usual GB standard. But what bugs me is that stupid comments by the first few commenters seeking ipads etc. I think this is too silly and stupid and stretching the joke too far bordering on sycophancy. What was really painful was commenters like Yourfan2 ( whose comments in earlier posts over the years were as exhilarating as that of GB himeself if not more) joining this crass bandwagon. I hope they get my drift and spare us that ‘rushing to the cinema hall for first day first show’ kind of feeling. Sorry if I have offended anyone.

  30. I totally get your apathy about about nargis… But seriously, u like Ra.One and not even enjoy this movie a bit! This is very odd 🙂 There is always something that is better than “a particular thing”. That is not the point. I am amazed that did not even mention the music. I thought after Dooba-Dooba, this is Mohit-Chauhan’s best performance. Oops sorry, Mohit Chauhan is no kurt cobain… He must be trashy too by your standard 🙂 And Ranbir Kapoor is a joke in front of Robert De Niro anyway… Hmm… Now I get it !

  31. For me the music of Rockstar does not do justice to the name. The best people around to compose music for movies like Rockstar are Amit trivedi, Avial, LokkhiChhara, Ram Sampath or even Shankar Eshan loy. A R Rahman does not deliver
    well when asked to produce some hardhitting melody.

  32. Greatest disapointment ever..rockstar was everything it should not have angsty sappy mushy lovestory and that nargis woman who has done nothing but quiver n pout thruout the horrid affair…n that scene where she seemed orgasmic while being given a hug by ranbir was jus pathetic!..more than 2 hours of my life i’l never get back..

  33. well……i kind of liked it….

  34. Are you farking kidding me???
    The worst acting was not by Fakhri, but the dude who played her husband. What a dud of an actor….I guess there was intense rivalry amongst cast members to be nominated for the Golden Raspberry 😦
    And by the way, is the music in the movie really to be considered Hindi rock? I am not sure if it is any kind of rock….I would have thought AR Rahman would have done way better than this…
    Regarding the protagonist’s costume, I thought he was an extra from the movie Kabul Express – or a musically liberated Taliban if you will, or a Bollywood fan from Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s inner coterie! ;p
    And oh my one sentence review – even chewing gum is more interesting and less strechy than Rockstar’s story line….

  35. In one of the reviews I had read …. “Nargis can become the next Katrina if she works on her acting skills” …… just about sums up the ‘ACTING’ talents of both ladies i guess 🙂

  36. It is strange to note that a self-professed disgruntled movie fanatic’s expectations got built up by the “promos and adulatory reviews” and so he wanted an “original” story. I think GreatBong’s huge disappointment is because of the false expectations he had while entering the movie hall (assuming he didnt download it illegally).
    Sure, the story is similar to the tear-jerker “dil ka kya kasoor”. Not going into the quality aspects, “dil ka..” was from the heroine’s angle, “rockstar” from the hero’s point of view. its that simple. there are actually very few “original” stories around. the difference is always in terms of treatment and screenplay.
    Don’t go to see “rockstar” looking for a madhur bhandarkar-style story of drugs, sex, rebellion, angst, etc. this is not what u call a “rock movie”. this is a love story of a musician. i think the movie title is misleading. it did bring in the crowds eager to see how ranbir acts like a rockstar but ended up disappointing them. “rockstar” is about rebellion, angst, pain – but not against the society. it is about how all these inspire a musician at a deeply intensely personal level. the world might see a hot-tempered star, or an unprofessional artiste, or a crusader-against-establishment. but what is being translated in public is what the artiste is going through in his personal life. when he is singing about birds that have flown away, he is not just talking about man taking over nature, he is also talking about loss of innocence, loss of pleasure in being close to the thing/person he loves. u only see a montage where ranbir seems happy playing his guitar with kids, in dargah, on streets, etc. but later when each shot of the montage is fleshed out, u get to see the pain and suffering he has gone thru to reach that shot.
    And there is no redemption. As audiences, we will always be more comfortable with endings that complete the circle – be it the heroine regaining her respect and fame, or the boy band coming back together, or the lead pair dying but meeting in the heaven. there should be a feeling of completion. And thats why “rockstar”‘s ending seems incomplete. There is no redemption. The heroine will remain both a source of inspiration and a source of guilt for the hero. There is no end to it till he is alive. Thats what happens in real life.
    It is always easy to be cynical and then review. The writeup turns out to be hilarious and, since it is just a movie, u can always punch holes. I am not saying that Rockstar is an awesome movie. No it isnt. Neither does it have a fantastic screenplay (the ending is forced and hurried). And neither is Fakhri a good actress (she is however far better than the Pintos and Chopras). True, the greatest Hindi movie about an international rockstar in peril in Europe still remains Himesh-bhai’s “Aap Ka Surooorr”. But is isnt at the end of the day such a bad movie.

  37. Rockstar ?? Yeah rite. More Shitstar i say 😀 😛

  38. Greatly disappointing review. Usually I agree with thee.
    When you say you have “seen” such a movie, oh well we have somehow seen all these movies subplots, music etc being plagiarized from here and there in tit-bits. What makes me boil is one lifts one work and sells it as his own without even a mention of the original work “Black” “Murder2” case in point.
    Coming back to RockStar, havent seen such a love story for a long time. In the age of two min noodles and even shorter attn span of general audience, its hard to even perceive such kind of love. None of Imtiaz’s works are original if you see it that way. The way he presents it has got him his bronze.
    And frankly, if you want to see how great musicians made nothing better than this movie which portrays every emotion he goes through. And the real bummer is how Rehman has captured it in heart and soul and portrayed it in his music. Frankly I was tired of his music before this album. This album is legendary my friend. And Ranbir has got into the skin of the role. Simply a great great movie.

  39. Only in a film culture as unevolved as ours can a simple premise be enough for a movie to be made. Authenticity, character development and acting can all go take a hike, as long as the movie can be promoted as the very thing the coolest witch doctor ordered for the youth in this country…..

  40. “Janardhan Jakhar starts looking for pain He finds it. So does the audience”

    You are ‘God of small one liners’..Courtesy-Your Fav wirter. Ha..Ha

  41. Collective comment from family – if only we had read the GB post before buying the tickets!
    The first half was bad, but it had promises. I have no idea what was happening in the second half. Maybe a little more time with the dialogues would have helped the movie a bit – but I can understand the reticence of Imtiaz Ali to add more dialogues for his leading lady.

    And…Bone cancer getting cured because she was with her lover? Really?

  42. Nobody here is talking about the “free Tibet ” flags in the movie..I for once thought Bollywood has overnight grown balls and is making a political statement.The censor board decided to blur out the “Tibet” part of the sign fearing a backlash from our chini brothers..just imagine someone in China watching a “Rockstar” and taking offence at the flag and then he decides to launce one of their missiles with 12000 kms range..naheeeeee (in Nirupa Roy style)

  43. Priyanka Chaurasiya November 16, 2011 — 6:38 pm

    You are a fool

  44. tHIS GUY IS A LOSER…dIDNT GET THE ESSENCE IN THE MOVIE…. Superb movie on how being lost in love can cause self destruction!!

  45. I dont want to talk about the movie , but thinking to write a review on the review of rockstar by u..

  46. Pooja Miss November 18, 2011 — 5:59 am
    Now that Big B has tweeted and given us the ‘perm’..what are you waiting for..
    go go go.

  47. did u guys saw the chatrak video yet !? Its really hot and erotic.

  48. GB – It’s fine you didn’t like the movie…its your opinion and I totally respect that but what I do not understand is you expecting to see something ‘original’…Looking at the promos, I was crystal clear what the story is all about…and that it’s about heart break, rebellion, etc…at least they didn’t create huge hype like RA-One about India’s very own super-crappy-hero who’s there to not the World…but some arbit family…and did you say you liked it..

  49. This movie review seems to have been written and posted in a hurry, with some random references to Mithun and 80’s Bollywood cinema, which seem to fit into a template developed by Arnab. This is a movie which has got rave reviews as well as scathing reviews. While I absolutely loved the movie, I can understand the sentiments of those who did not. They went to watch the movie with different expectations, which did not get fulfilled.

    This is not a movie about the making of a rockstar or the life of a rockstar. It is more of a love story, in which the protagonist happens to be a rockstar. While he thinks he wants fame as a musician, when he gets fame it leaves him cold inside. He does not care for money, fame or adulation. He cares only for the intense, searing love that he feels for Nargis Fakhri. I guess love stories are not a genre which you really care about or even understand.

  50. GB… may have seen it many times…..but this time its different and better

  51. Arnab
    Similar view just with some toons for visualization

  52. its a lovely love story…enjoyed it …but then i guess i am a sucker for loveeee…the scene where they kiss is really sizzling…nice movie maan
    just take it as a modern mills n boons thats it

  53. It was a fun movie. Last 20 minutes were a bit bugging but the movie was total paisa vasool and can be watched multiple times. Nargis actually acted really well for a debut and ofcourse Ranbir took the cake. I can see that GB has a lot of hard core rock references (sarcastically used) which leads me to believe he expected an “Across the Universe” or a “Doors style rockumentary” which is why he was dissapointed. As a review this is lame, as a rant its a fun read. For the other easily influenced readers, go watch it, its a lughter riot int he beginning and an acting extravaganza by Ranbir.

    –Arun R.

  54. Hello,

    You are yet to observe many things about this movie..for just an example..

    did you understand the scene when the guru visits Ranbir and asks him where he has been ..he explains he has been working and playing video games..did u observe that he he added “Video games ke andar bhi ek duniya hai” and were you keen enough to observe that this was exactly when he came back from kashmir..

    there is lots of dept missing in your the movie again..

  55. @Dips (India Shoes)>>>And……Bone cancer getting cured because she was with her lover? Really?

    Yes indeed! Bone cancer cured by the Boner. 😉

  56. Pata hai yahan se bahut door galat aur sahi ke paar, ek maidan hai.. main wahan milunga tujhe…..

    I saw this movie and loved it… I am not one for the mushy love stories with the song n dance affairs… Im going for it again this week… After a few (or more) pegs…

  57. Dude a sincere advise… pls reseve your prowess for Gunda and Aap ka Suroor kinda movies.. else its like Johnny lever trying to play Devdas

  58. Very funny review – as usual.

    But despite Fakhri’s horrendous acting skills I really enjoyed the movie. The story is run-of-the-mill, but the treatment is not. And kudos to Ali for fully utilizing ARR’s breathtaking soundtrack – almost all of the 14 tracks. The way Bebasi ka Bayaan was picturized alone makes me want to go to the cinema hall again.

  59. I remember a time when you used to be fun to read.

  60. LOVE. Salman.Revathy. The maggie movie

  61. Ah I had missed this one earlier. Got to it from your tweet. I share your views on this one. Spot-on. Recently saw Dil ka kya kasoor once again. Way better than this dud.

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