Saturday, September 06, 2008

Notes on Rock On!!

The only thing that redeemed the movie was the music. It made me want to get up and jump (like the audience in the concerts in the movie), and I did sing along much of the time (I hope the loud music drowned my voice for the benefit of the rest of the audience). Okay, one other “thing” that wasn’t so bad was Farhan Akhtar. How can that guy have so much talent? He looked hot, he acted well, and he sings like a dream… And to top that he directs and writes as well.

Warning: major spoilers ahead. Do NOT read if you’re planning to watch it.

It was one of the most stereotypical-filmy movies I have seen recently. At every twist you could predict how it’s going to pan out. And the film’s treatment of female characters was horrible: it made me wonder if any of the director and writers have ever had any kind of normal relationship with any woman. All the women were caricatures, totally one-dimensional.

Aditya(played by Farhan Akhtar)’s wife Sakshi seems to have really nothing to do with her time. So after cribbing that her husband is too busy making money, and spending a lot of time sitting on her designer furniture in their awesome flat in her designer clothes, she accidentally meets KD(Purab) who used to be Aditya’s friend before she knew him(Aditya, of course). She finds her husband’s old photographs, which reveals to her that he was a romantic poet and cool rocker before he became a boring investment banker who earns pots of money (and she realises she knows little about her husband of four years). Oh, and he also had a girlfriend who was wrapped all over him in the video Sakshi found. (By the way, the cassette looked to me like an audio cassette, yet she watched the video in it… Did anyone else notice?)

Aditya, by the way, didn’t seem to talk to his wife much. I can’t blame him, seeing as she questioned him loudly and insistently about the apparent friend of his she accidently met while Aditya was taking a shower after a hard day. No wonder he’s not keen to divulge more details of his life to her, given her keen bloodhound instincts. But then she finds the photos and video, and her bloodhound instincts take over.

She goes to KD to find out more about her husband, and persuades him to find the other two band members and bring them along to the “surprise” birthday party she’s planning for her husband. Yeah, her idea of a surprise was getting a bunch of people her husband is obviously not keen on knowing any more, and springing them on him – along with a large horde of assorted extras – at the end of a hard working day (his, not hers). And she doesn’t get it when he doesn’t look pleased.

She has to follow it up by nagging him after the party on how he didn’t look comfortable with his old “friends” (two of them – the third, Joe played by Arjun Rampal, was too sensible to come). And she chooses that moment to tell him that she’s pregnant. And she chides him that his life is incomplete and he isn’t happy any more. But she doesn’t ask about the old girlfriend. Does it not occur to her that maybe his life is “incomplete” because she’s not around? Would she go fetch her too, in order to make Aditya happy?

So Aditya sleeps on the couch to escape her nagging, and gets up in the morning to find her gone “to her mom’s place to think”. And the first thing Aditya does is go meet her friend, the same one Sakshi discussed her marital troubles with. Why didn’t one of them marry Deepika instead, if she was so much easier to talk to? And of course, on Deepika’s counseling, Aditya realises where he was wrong and goes to hunt up his old friends. He calls Sakshi and leaves a voice message admitting she was right and asking her to come back.

And she comes back, that very day, while the band is practising in her and Aditya’s house. How’s that for fast? But I guess she had done all the thinking she could manage by that time. For the rest of the movie, she looks adoringly at Aditya with a sweet smile on her face. (I wonder why Aditya married her instead of say, adopting a pup.)

Not only is there no attempt to explain why Aditya and Sakshi got married, there’s no explanation of why Adi got together with his previous girlfriend, or why she married the weird-looking jerk from a competing band. There’s no explanation of why the four band members are friends. They only seem to be interested in making music together: and if it’s just that, why weren’t they more professional about it?

I think the movie would have made much more sense to me if they had given it a gay twist. Aditya and Joe were apparently the greatest friends among the four. Joe beats up aforesaid weird-looking rival band member when he "insults" Aditya. The band breaks up because of a fight between Aditya and Joe. Aditya is so shaken he goes off to Delhi and never talks to his girlfriend again. And Aditya is stuck in what seems to be a loveless marriage. While Joe feels suffocated in his home and spends most of his time strumming his guitar in his room while his wife runs a fish business to make ends meet (and of course, does all the cooking as well).

Then the band gets back together, and all four dudes seem happy. But at the Jhankar Beats type climax, Joe is on his way to join a job on the cruise, while the others are waiting for him at a rock competition – their big chance after they blew the first one ten years ago. KD insists the three of them get on stage, and they do, and as for some reason the VTV concert also airs on the radio in their taxi, Joe and his wife and son get to hear everything. And Aditya sings – in the rock competition, mind – the soft romantic number that Joe had written, all those years ago. He dedicates the song to Joe, and croons, “Tum ho to gata hai dil… tum ko hi mangti yeh zindagi”(My heart sings when you are here… my life asks for you).

Joe is obviously overcome with feeling, while his wife holds on tightly to his hand to prevent him from escaping. But before the song ends, he gets off the cab (where they are stuck in a convenient traffic jam – and why don’t movie characters ever leave for the airport or port safely on time, like the rest of us seem to do?), lifts his guitar case from the baggage rack, and walks off.

Meanwhile, on stage, the song ends, and KD follows it up with a solo on his drums, evidently feeling that he won’t let Aditya outfox him with his soft romantic number. And just as KD ends, in typical dramatic style, there is a guitar strumming, and the actors on stage look around to see where the sound is from, and Arjun Rampal walks on stage, guitar in hand, long hair flowing, looking extremely handsome.

And then they play Sindbad the Sailor, which I had been hoping would be a song they record for an animated movie, because I couldn’t imagine how else it would make any sense. Anyway, Adi and Joe sing together, faces close to each other’s, and I was hoping – hopelessly, of course – that they would kiss and make an end to it.

But after they were done with Sindbad the Sailor (how many songs did the competition folks allow them to sing, anyway?), Adi hands the mike to Joe because his wife and son have arrived backstage and Joe wins her over by singing a couple of lines of “Tum ho to…” (Do they really imagine women can be won over – and these were wives who were struggling with serious issues like not knowing what the husband was really like or thinking he’s withdrawn from and lying to her – by a mushy voicemail or song? Or are there women like that? Well, I’m sure there are, but it seemed to be more of a general statement – there was little attempt to define why they would be so amenable to being won over.)

As if all this wasn't enough drama, Rob has a brain tumour (which you suspect as soon as he says casually at mealtime that he has a headache) that he doesn’t tell his friends about, and even though he’s in hospital he leaves to go for the rock concert – and while he seems wobbly on his legs he seems to play alright. But then he didn’t have a girlfriend, and isn’t that an old Bollywood edict that any character who is single at the end should be killed off? Though I wonder how the band made any music later, seeing as he was the composer… But of course such details are irrelevant when you look at the three good-looking couples at the end of the movie, with an assorted bunch of cute kids that have popped up in addition to the ones that belong to Joe and Adi, engaged in a Dil Chahta Hai style picnic.


Indian Home Maker said...

LOL yes I felt the's a movie made for the music. Loved Adi and Sakshi's house:) And I prefer Arjun Rampal any day to Farhan Akhtar. Loved how he could carry off his lovely long locks.
Hindi movies often show men obsessed with male friends and they ofen choose these friends over their wives...I think there was some movie called Yarana/Dostana where Amzad Khan leaves his wife for his closest friends...Gay angle it looks doubt.

Unmana said...

Oh I loved the house too! And yes, Arjun Rampal. I wanted to mention how cool and real he looks, instead of just looking like a model as he used to do in earlier movies. And even in the movie, he's the only one whose looks dont change drastically between the "before" and "after" parts.