Film Review: Rockstar

Directed by: Imtiaz Ali

Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Nargis Fakhri, Aditi Rao, Kumud Mishra, Piyush Mishra, Shernaz Patel and Shammi Kapoor

All images courtesy of:

Following my worrying  indifference to the release of Ra.One, it was with relief that I welcomed the excitement I felt over seeing Rockstar – the moment I realised I wanted to see this film was after explaining one of the songs from the awesome soundtrack to someone who had never seen a Hindi film before. Of course, I was secretly hoping to add Rockstar to the canon of films that I show to newcomers and cynics alike but Ra.One taught me not to expect too much – especially if I factored in how much I loved Love Aaj Kal and Jab We Met (both directed by Imtiaz) – instead, I imposed a blackout, not allowing myself to watch any promos or listen to any of the soundtrack (ok, just listen to it once a day then!) before seeing the film. Soon enough, it was Saturday morning and straight down to the multiplex, with an air of nonchalance masking excitement…

But very soon, that nonchalance fell by the wayside – I could not have predicted that I would fall in head over heels in love with Rockstar in what must be the biggest curveball of the century, as this film was nothing like I had expected it to be and in a strange instance of verisimilitude, arrived at a time that I needed a film to distract me from my woes, allow me to obsess over it and to restore my faith in Hindi cinema once more following a loss of filmi libido.

I usually try to write my review for a film as soon as I can, only delaying a write up over if I can’t decide how I felt about the film or if it simply didn’t capture my imagination but for the first time, I am not sure where to start with Rockstar. Whether it was the technical brilliance, the beautiful cinematography, the understated script, Ranbir Kapoor’s powerhouse performance or A R Rehman’s mesmerising soundtrack, every element of the film pummeled any objectivity I had into a black hole and wowed me so that after a while, I stopped analysing and just went with the flow, expecting to be let down at some point but thankfully, the dip never happened.

I am sure this film does have some flaws which I can’t see right now (for instance Nargis Fakhri) and therein lies the magic of Rockstar – we have a rich tapestry woven with lots of detail and nuance that will emerge triumphantly upon repeated viewings not to mention allowing us to learn more about Ali’s now very distinctive style of film making. It is also something that people will either love or hate but won’t remain indifferent to.

I cannot recommend Rockstar highly enough – even those who don’t like it will have to admit the film has gumption for speaking to its audience with such confidence and intelligence delivered with a healthy dash of bohemia. Without doubt one of the top five films of 2011, a career high for Ali, Kapoor, Rehman and Chauhan and a welcome oasis of smart filmmaking in a sea of one time masala films (and it doesn’t star Ryan Gosling who seems to have a monopoly on the best of 2011 in my opinion)  Rockstar rocks – definitely worth a watch.


2 thoughts on “Film Review: Rockstar

  1. Alright. So I will admit to anticipating Rockstar. And not knowing any of the songs, except Rahman’s amazing Kun Faya Kun. And I deliberately did not read the reviews because I did not want to add to my anticipation, and then only have my hopes dashed. (BTW, I really, really liked Jab We Met, but was not so hot for Love Aaj Kal.)

    Rockstar leaves me with mixed emotions. I agree to the beautiful cinematography. Some lovely moments. The way the story unfolded was also wonderful — the foreshadowing of the various songs, then mirroring Jordan’s journey.

    But I have to agree with Shubhra Gupta’s review in Indian Express. There were giant potholes in this ride. Why exactly is Jordan so angry? In the end, it seems as if all the angst just serves to fulfill the purpose set out by Khatana bhai in the beginning — the guy needed a painful muse.

    The coming and going of Jordan’s jat-ness was also annoying, which is too bad. If Ranbir would have stuck to it, it could have a been another interesting layer to his character development.

    And the less said about Nargis, the better.

    Just some random thoughts. At the end of the movie, I was left with a big Huh?

    Like someone said in Twitter-verse. Lots of problems with the film, but it does leave you ‘Rumi’nating…


    1. Hi Aparita

      Thanks for your comment, it is interesting that your reaction was similar to a few people I know, I actually quite liked the ambiguity in the movie and the fact that not everything is explained. If anything, your comment interestingly raises more questions and makes the film even more interesting for me – what indeed are Jordan’s motivations? Similarly, losing his jat-ness – does that mean he has to lose himself to find himself? Is Jordan a likeable person?

      If anything, we need more films that challenge us to think about what we have seen – if this had been a film where everything had been explained, I don’t think it would have been so amazing for me, and I suspect, that maybe a few repeat viewings may throw up some answers (or even more questions!).

      Thanks again for commenting, please do visit again! 🙂




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