I'm having a Farhan Aktar overload!

First of all, I am fighting a major cold/seasonal allergies which really sucks because not only can I not breath, but I can't taste anything either. My head seems to be in a constant fog so who knows how long it will take me to get this post up. Maybe I'll get inspired and the words will just roll.

This weekend I was going to try picking a movie alphabetically, but instead reached for 'Rock On' thinking my musician husband would enjoy watching it with me. Instead, he fell asleep (as usual) and I was left watching by myself (big surprise).

Abhishek Kapoor has helmed, with enormous sensitivity, this story of five artistic souls. The plot, though not without it's flaws, was simple enough and was delivered very powerfully. I believe it's the first to take on the rock industry as a subject (though correct me if I'm wrong). The two parallel plotlines that distinguish the past and the present are woven together beautifully, which lends the film its much-praised nostalgic quality.

The best thing about this movie were the performances. No ham acting, no glitzy deviations, just an honest and down to earth approach. Characters instantly clicked and became real people. This was Farhan Akhtar's first film in front of the camera, and a damn good debutante performance. He finely portrays Aditya as a multi-faceted character, uptight and withdrawn as the high-powered executive and charming and spirited as the younger lead singer of Magik. It was an especially nice treat to watch Farhan actually singing his own songs, making his portrayal much more real. That being said, I believe the success in this film is due to the rich combination of characters.

Arjun Rampal's Joe is a bravura piece of acting; he goes from reckless rocker to a man increasingly beaten down by life, with nothing left but his integrity. His performance was indeed heartfelt. Luke Kenny as Rob and Purab Kohli as KD are similarly first-rate. KD's karaoke scene where he croons Gloria Gaynor's "I will survive" gives the movie its biggest (and much needed) laugh. The women play supporting parts with grace and dignity. Shahana Goswami is impressive as Debbie, whose prickly exterior conceals her vulnerability and disappointment. She remains a fighter despite knowing failure, and is both fiercely protective of and infuriated by her impractical spouse. Prachi Desai does well also as Adi's wife Sakshi, who becomes the catalyst for the band's reunion.

*spoilers ahead*
All that being said, I did find the film slow in some spots, so much so that I found myself drifting off every once in a while (though that could be attributed to the absorbent amounts of medication that I'm taking). Also, the reasons for Magik breaking up seemed specious and irrelevant. The build up to the fight implied that something huge had happened. We were dropped hints of Farhan betraying friends, egos clashing, and some mystery that was so sinister that it changed everyone's lives immediately. Admittedly things were starting to turn sour, Farhan was starting to build an ego (although he did try to get Joe's song and Debbie in there as part of the deal), but it was just starting. One punch and Adi's out of there faster than the speed of sound. It seemed so out of character, so out of place. The situation had NOT developed into such a state as to not only demand a ten year hiatus, but a complete alienation of friendship altogether.

I know this movie has been hailed as groundbreaking, and while the music was completely original and non-traditional, it was also somewhat forgettable for me (as one of the biggest draws for me to Hindi film is music with a strong Indian flavor). I do, however, think that Farhan has done an admirable job vocally on his songs and I have Socha Hai on my Ipod.

Even with it's drawbacks, Rock On is a film made with a tremendous amount of conviction and love. It is a movie that has many memorable moments that move you – at times to smiles, and at times to tears - and not only leaves you to feel nostalgic about when you were young and carefree, but ends in a feel-good note, to follow your dreams. If you have ever had a dream and have watched it fall apart like a tower of sand, if you have ever bonded with friends over a song or a beat, if you have ever shed a tear over a bitter compromise, you will identify with this film.

6 Response to "I'm having a Farhan Aktar overload!"

  1. bollywooddeewana says:
    May 12, 2009 at 8:04 AM

    I Still haven't seen this one for some reason,I GUESS I'M LOVING THE OLD MOVIES WAY TOO MUCH. i read your comment on how you needed help to view all the movies, best thing is to watch all ones you have before buying others, unless theres a massive dvd sale or something, thats what i'm doing now, No more shopping till i watch all i've got

  2. shell says:
    May 12, 2009 at 12:08 PM

    I guess I'm more the progressive contemporary viewer (though new doesn't always mean good). I needed help more in the way that I've got a problem I should probably be attending some sort of meeting for! I don't think I'll be getting to the city where I buy stuff from for a little while, so I may be able to catch up.

    Also, I wanted to just say thanks Bollywooddeeewana for being my first real follower and loyal commentor (aside from you sis!). I enjoy visiting your blog a lot!

  3. bollywooddeewana says:
    May 16, 2009 at 2:54 AM

    Thanks Shell, i love your passion for bollywood and your eagerness to know more about bollywood and your write ups, keep it up

  4. Anonymous Says:
    May 16, 2009 at 9:50 AM

    Haven't seen the movie... maybe I should check it out.

    Re: the album... I'm not a big fan. Liked Socha Hai, but other than that, it's a huge miss for me. Not quite sure why... it just didn't hit the right note, I guess.

  5. Daddy's Girl says:
    May 16, 2009 at 10:35 AM

    Great review, captured what I loved about Rock On

  6. shell says:
    May 16, 2009 at 3:53 PM

    @Bwood-fan - i totally agree about the music. As for the movie, I'm totally glad I watched it, maybe it would help reiterate the music for you. Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog.

    @Daddy's Girl - Welcome and thanks for your kind words!