Monday, September 1, 2008
Prachi Desai, Farhan Akhtar, Nicolette Bird, Purab Kohli, Luke Kenny, Arjun Rampal, Shahana Goswami, Koel Purie
Rock On!! is the story of 4 friends who put together the greatest band this country has ever seen, but never make it. Years later, fate conspires to bring them together again and set them on a journey back to where they left off… a soul-searching pilgrimage into their past.
The best thing about Rock On is that it's not about the music. So even if you've never ever been to a concert or harbored fantasies of being a rock star, you are immediately swept into this story of four friends and their rock band called Magic.
Rock On is about their relationships, their unfulfilled dreams and their gnawing grief that life has passed them by. The music is a metaphor.
Follow your bliss, writer-director Abhishek Kapoor tells us in a film that is sometimes derivative and often predictable but also so engaging and exhilarating that by the climactic concert you are blinking back tears and pumping your fist in the air.
What connects here are the details. Abhishek sets up his characters with a few deft strokes. So, Farhan Akhtar is Adi, former lead singer and current investment banker who mouths lines like: Your wealth is in safe hands, Jai Shri Krishna.
Arjun Rampal is Jo, former lead guitarist, now mostly unemployed and so haunted by his past that he seems hollow.
Purab Kholi is KD, once a kick-ass drummer and now sober Gujarati boy in pinstripes, selling jewelry. And Luke Kenny is Rob, the keyboard player, who now grits his teeth and creates music with Anu Mallik. Each one seethes with a quiet frustration, desperately aware that he has compromised with life.
Adi's wife, hoping to bring some cheer into her husband's mechanical existence, brings the friends together again.
Rock On suffers from a Dil Chahta Hai hangover - here too friends are driven apart and then reunited.
At times the pacing is slow. But these are minor quibbles. The film works because the performances enhance the fine writing.
Farhan Akhtar who has sung four songs, fills out his role nicely. As do Kholi and Kenny. But the real surprise is Arjun Rampal who is bent over with sadness and longing.
Shankar Ehsan and Loy's music is skillfully interwoven so it doesn't impede the narrative but advances it.
The high-octane concert sequences are especially infectious. Rock On is feel-good in the best sense of the word. I enjoyed it immensely and I strongly recommend that you see it too.
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