Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Rock On: A band’s story of love and friendship
So, basing an entire film in a milieu not many Indians would recognise is a risk in itself.
Then to cast a first time actor in the lead role, a television “bahu” in a crucial part and two former VJs to boot — you certainly have to credit director Abhishek “Gattu” Kapoor with a lot of nerve.
By the time the credits roll, you can praise him for a lot more.
“Rock On” revolves around a band named Magik. Friendship, love and marriage are all essential elements in the film and Kapoor renders them beautifully.
There is hardly a moment when your mind wanders and all the pieces fit beautifully at the end. In a lot of ways, “Rock On” is like “Dil Chahta Hai” and in a lot of ways, it isn’t.
Aditya Shroff (Farhan Akhtar) is a high-flying investment banker who lives and breathes his job and hardly has any time for wife Sakshi (Prachi Desai). She discovers by chance that he was once part of a band called Magik and attempts to set up a reunion.
We are then introduced to the four members of the band — KD (Purab Kohli), Rob (Luke Kenny), Joe Mascarenhas (Arjun Rampal) and Aditya himself. It’s obvious the band had broken up and there is still some acrimony among its members. The past is revealed through flashbacks but that doesn’t mean the film is stuck in a time warp.
Kapoor also deals with problems in Joe’s and Aditya’s marriages (for totally different reasons), the music industry in India (in a brief but powerful scene) and the development the characters go through in the space of ten years.
The climax is somewhat unique, mainly because it leaves a lot unsaid. Very well shot too with the camera effectively capturing the energy of the band.
There is not much humour in the film, but whatever little there is, is subtle and brings a smile to your face. Kapoor’s direction is taut and doesn’t falter in most places.
For a film that has music as its central theme, the songs fit in very well, and lend to the energy of the film as whole.
But what will stay with you are the performances. Farhan Akhtar is a revelation — the man can act, direct, write and sing too. He’s almost a one-man army.
Prachi Desai is luminous on screen as his wife, playing the part of the bewildered, hurt spouse to a T.
The rest of the cast is brilliant too. Special mention to Arjun Rampal and Shahana Goswami for their performances.
On the whole, “Rock On” is an above average film, one that will surely appeal to urban audiences, because it chronicles their problems and issues.