Whadda Faq Aithe Rakh : Rockstar Review

Rockstar Title

I’ll try to keep this pretty straight forward. Rockstar is a mess of a plot, about a messed up character, and an equally messed up ensemble which tries to make sense throughout the length of the movie, but fails miserably. It is supposed to be a tale of a Jatt-boy who turns into this creative legend because of the pain and anguish that he’s been through. And his angst, pain, misery, and sheer bad luck in love gets channelled out in form of his lyrical lines and his heavy melodies. How grunge, rock n roll, metal..whatever <insert favourite sub-genre of rock>. The only catch here is that the chronology of the events in which all this happens is all wrong. Either that, or Janardhan Jakhar has access to a time machine, which allows him to suffer all these stuff which I mentioned, and then go back in time, to use that to write his songs. And even after I try to overlook this “minor” flaw that seems to have escaped the eye of most reviewers *cough Rediff cough*, I am hit by the wooden wall of the new Deepika Padukone on the block (as in a no-can-do-acting) –  Fakhri, Nargis Fakhri.

Hit the jump, as I discuss The 4 things I did like about Rockstar,

And also the 4 major “baal-nochne waali” (hair-tearing) moments of Rockstar, that made my hair go – Born to be Wild.

*First up: 4 things I liked about Rockstar*

1. Junglee Jawani:

I like it when there is a direct hat-tip to the sleazy youth of North India (or any part of India really). Especially, when its the girl who initiates it. Also, JJ’s confession of faking being sloshed by dapping his face with alcohol like cologne. Clever anecdote that! Credit where credit’s due – Imtiaz Ali does have a way to create a gooey fondness for his characters. And here, we find that in the boyish JJ, who has a naive approach to everything – whether it’s in dealing heartbreak with samosas, or drinking Desi Daru with a “Jai Bajrang Bali”.

2. Shammi Kapoor:

Shammi Kapoor - Rockstar

Now, I know there was a very small screen time given to Shammi jee. But considering, this was the last of him that we’d see, it had to be on this list. And one of the film’s finest lines comes from the legend himself, who impersonates a Shehnai maestro – “Ye bada jaanwar hai, Ye chhote pinjre mein nahi samayega” [ Literal translation: He’s a big animal. And he will not fit in a small cage] – a simple and quite straight forward analogy of the “Rock” spirit. Every single time he made a brief appearance, it was a moment of awe.

3. Ye Chaand Sa Roshan Chehra:

Although it all ends up being a contrived plot idea (making Heer a Kashmiri, so that we can get Ranbir’s ass back to the Dal Lake, and have some nudge nudge reference), it is all actually worth it. To see young Ranbir and Nargis recreate the immortal picturisation of Kashmir Ki Kali’s “Ye Chand Sa Roshan Chehra” was one of the very few moments in the movie, when I was glued to the screen. And needless to say, I had the widest grin from ear to ear. I’ll leave you with that image for a while 😛

4. Sadda Haq:

This is the track that does it for me. It sums it all up, more than even the movie can do. If this movie was made as a concert, with 10 of such tracks, and just an intermediate filler of the artistes story (like they do in MTV Behind the Music), Rockstar would have been a much better movie. The lyrics reflect the “rock spirit” of non-cooperation, unwillingness to conform to straitjacketed standards of the society. \m/. Absolutely on the money! And Mohit Chauhan’s vocals paired with Rahman’s crazy arrangement filled with Iron-Maiden-ish guitar solos make it an instant Desi Rock Anthem.

Now for the ugly list:

* 4 Things That I Didn’t Like About Rockstar*

1. The Ensemble:

Ok, agreed that Kumud Mishra’s Khatana Bhai is good. His talcum-layered neck, and greasy combed down hairstyle perfectly portrays every canteen owner who’s hosted a “Mata Ki Chowki” night. But apart from that, every other ensemble member in this tale falls flat. The wig-haired music producer of Platinum Records who has a thing for tel-maalish, JJ’s family members – the domestically violent brother and the tactile *ahem Savita ahem* Bhabhi, Heer’s bipolar parents, and Heer’s most annoying sister. Do you remember an old NES game called Duck Hunt? That’s the sort of game I’d like to play with this cast, where I get to shoot them like ducks, and good ol’ Kumud Mishra picking them up. Especially the sister who decides to yell out loud when she discovers that Heer is preggy, and curse JJ, like she was some kinda Durvasha Muni or somethin’. Calm yo tits girl! And not to forget, the omnipresent journalist (Aditi Rao Hydari), who is there to report the antics of Jordan, as well as fill in as a groupie.

2. Back to the summer of 89:

The core theme around Rockstar gave me a flashback feeling of where I have seen all of this done before. And I could rewind it back to the VHS days of 1989 -y’ know, the good ol’ fun days of making a movie experience fun, by watching it backwards. If only Rockstar was half as fun as those legendary ones. Like the one with Kakaji belting out a guitar solo with one hand, as he does a percussion showdown on his congo in Disco Dancer. Or even Tariq with his hair raising Guitar strumming in Yaadon Ki Baarat. All those movies had one thing in common – for great music talent, all you need is bad hair, I mean pain and anguish..like a tragic heartbreak..or something like that. So please, stop all this pretense of making Rockstar sound and look like a new age “Bollywood rising”. Coz its not.

3. Jordan, the Rocker:

Ranbir Kapoor - Rockstar

One of the most flawed points in the movie comes under limelight, when we get to see JJ transform into Jordan, the Rocker. What we see is a man, driven by angst and negative energy (whatever that is). Everything works well for me, when JJ was the Jatt dude from Pitampura, who wants to be as great as Jim Morrison. But when he seeks inspiration in the form of a heartbreak, that’s when it turns into guano. I just cannot get my head around as to what causes Jordan to become the way he is. He plays mates with Heer, painting Old Delhi red. And then, goes to Kashmir to her wedding, decorating the lights. And then gets back to Delhi, gets kicked out of his house, and with help from his rehab/refuge experience at Hazrat Nizammudin, gets reformed into a music-extraordinairé. Did I miss something? All’s well till then, or is it – the chronology of the editing just fucked my mind over and over again. He’s acting all weird at times, beating up police men, showing middle fingers to his own concert’s organising authorities. And he gets a chance to go to Prague, and jam with street musicians and also perform to audiences in a fucking Opera House. Ok, still plausible. But then, as soon Heer says “N O”, he goes mental, and acts like a jerk, under seizure. Apparently, all the “enlightening” words he’s been receiving from master Katana, has been around building his infectious stage presence after all, and had nothing to do with his music or lyrics. And for a concert artist, there’s nothing shown of his rehearsals with the band. All we get is that he’s juts so badass that he belts out perfect jams on the fly.

And apparently, even before his first album releases, a national news channel is covering all of this, and the youth of India is totally into his badass attitude. Not only that, they’re buying all his shit, rather than downloading it from piratebay.  Nevertheless, if it was the intention of the director to show that Jordan is a mental sociopath, and that’s what makes him so close to the likes of rock legends like Jim Morrison, then this is what Anthony Gonsalves has to say about Jordan.

Anthony Gonsalves - Bitch Please

4. Nargis Fakhri:

And this is the mother of all my complaints with this movie. Nargis is supposed to play the focal point of Jordan’s life. She’s Heer to JJ’s Ranjha, the force of love and the reason of his pain. Instead, what we get is a “thanda thanda cool cool” girl, with the range of just two expressions – “hilarious smile”, and “dead pan look sans makeup”. The chemistry between the lead pair shines a little in the initial Delhi University scenes, but when it switches over to Prague, the characters evaporate into the beauty of the backdrop, where it should’ve been the other way around. Not even sex, drugs and rock n roll could help erase the torture of watching Nargis Fakhri attempt at delivering a line.  No wonder Jordan went mental.

OKS Rating: 2 Middle Fingers out of 5.

Footnote: Watch Rockstar if  –

A) You’re a Ranbir fan, to see how far he has come from his anti-towel days.

B) For A.R. Rahman’s wicked soundtrack which has a ballad, a qawwali, and this generation’s Rock Anthem.

C) Shammi Kapoor.

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15 thoughts to “Whadda Faq Aithe Rakh : Rockstar Review”

  1. Here you go mate!! An alternate to your disastrous whaada faq review!! I dont mind my language coz you dont mind keeping yours as well!! and as in your disclaimer you say that I credit the article then here you go!! Thanks to Baradwajrangan!!
    Read the chronology!! I guess you were pitch drunk when you saw the movie mate!! Take care!!


    Sujoy Reply:

    Thanks for the link. As for the chronology, I think I got it right. Ranbir had already started composing his songs and singing in DU canteen, but only got dejected coz he had a Pitampura boy look, and not the “don’t give a fuck” rockstar look. Was it all about the look then?

    Where did he get his angst from? From being thrown out of his house? Seriously? Is that what makes him so badass. Please!

    And yes, I was drunk, coz that’s how badass I am.


  2. His angst comes from his inability to be a free bird with various sources being responsible!!
    1)A family that has always found his ways and ideas unacceptable (Possibly a bad childhood.. clearly seen from the domination, he suffers from his brothers, with the exception of his bhabhi/sister to support him) [No family support]
    2) If you can read his eyes in the initial scenes with Heer, when he realises that, he is actually fallen for her and is being constantly rejected, and is unable to convince himself to come to terms with the reality that he cant have her (he says this in the latter part of the movie when he retorts that it is all too late) [Rejection]
    As far as his being so badass is driven purely by the above.. could be more..
    As far as his composing the songs, go, he is never shown to compose either of Naadan Parindey, Saada Haq or Bebasi in the canteen.. the songs that represent his angst!!
    His transformation into a musical extraordinaire –
    1) As you said, he was always, composing, when even in the canteen.. and had learnt the guitar from an early age.. so the base is already in place
    2) He is away for close to a period of 2 years (6 months in dargah) and the time with Katana Bhai!!

    I agree with some of your dislikes in the movie!!
    But your perception that angst cant come out from being thrown out of the house is not plausible, then you are mistaken. Getting thrown out of the house, when, you cant earn a decent living out out your own pocket can spell disaster for many individuals or even having a bad childhood. Maybe neither me nor you had one dude!! So we cannot feel angst and comment on how angst can come about on people!! Its individual to each one!!

    Read the review page I posted once more with care!!
    Anyways I dont care if you dont bother to change your view!! I am just here to give you a perspective!!


    Sujoy Reply:

    I seriously have an issue with your tone man. You want to give me a perspective. Seriously!! Why don’t you get some perspective that I have an opinion, and have reasoning behind it, and just move on? Why are you so persistent on shoving down your opinion down my throat, like some fundamentalist?

    You have your reasons to like the movie, and I have mine to dislike (and like some part of it). This is my article, and I stated my reasons why I disliked it. End of. I don’t need to read an article to change my mind about a movie. I watched the movie to make my mind how I feel about it. It is THAT obvious. Jeez, take a break.


  3. Dude!! Chill!! If you have a tone on which you like to write in about anything, I have every right to have a tone on the same!! I dont mean to put you down by any means!!
    Also, be always ready and open to deal with comments on your blog, since you choose to have a comments section!!
    And like you give a perspective, which I said earlier, I am not here to change it, but to just give you another perspective!! Dont take it of you dont want to!!
    I am not against your right of opinion!!
    So chill once again on your FUNDA(Mental) shit!!
    And once again Chill bro!!


    Sujoy Reply:

    Just chilling now 🙂
    Yes, you have the right to have a tone, I agree. And since I have the comments section open, I should be able to deal with it.
    You know it’s been a while since we had any action on this blog man. LOL.

    Gone are the days when I used to get 40 odd comments on a single post. Some of them fighting against each other. Now, its just everyone tweeting and retweeting and expressing in 140 chars. Pfft!

    Still chillin’ 😛


  4. Cool!! Anyways I need to apologies to you if you felt that I was offending you!! Not my intention!!
    Anyways.. I have been reading your blog for sometime!! Just that I disagreed with you on this one 🙂 LOL!!
    You do have a good skill on reviews, I must admit!! Some of them infact hilarious!!
    I am gonna be watching Rockstar a second time.. I will try and see it from your perspective!! I warn that I may still end up liking it more 🙂 Anyways.. I have many things to like about the movie than I dont!!
    And Sujoy!! sorry I did not identify myself (I totally forgot).. Naam hai Sailesh(Not Shenhanshah!!)


    Sujoy Reply:

    No worries mate. Add me up on twitter if you’re there. My handle is @9e3k
    I might watch Rockstar in a few months when the DVD gets released, in a more “chilled” environment lol.


  5. Well, I have tears in my eyes while watching this after-drama of Sujoy and shailesh. Quite bollywood like.. 😉
    My opinons go with Sujoy, minus the slang of course. Jordan’s life doesn’t justify his music.

    @Sujoy- I have been following your blog for a long time. And I must say, I Superlike your reviews. Being a child of 80s, I can easily relate to most of your write-ups. It’s just pure leisure that prevents me from typing a comment. And I’m sure there are many more like me. 😉

    Don’t be disheartened. (I know, you won’t. It’s Just a custom to write something like that at the end.)


    Sujoy Reply:

    Haha. Thanks mate. Support pe hi to Sarkaar kaayam hai. 😛

    Thanks for following this blog, and “superliking” the reviews. I hope you get beyond the laziness once in a while, and drop some daana of encouragement. 😛
    Or even better, help me by spreading the word about the existence of this veeraan blog.

    Cheers mate!


  6. I always had a problem everytime Indian TV reality music contest judges ( say Himesh) used to compliment a contestant who’s just sung a sissy-ass song as ‘Mind-Blowing, you are a Rockstar!!!’…I just knew it that Indian media was gonna ruin this ACTUALLY cool term and my anticipation wasnt just for nothing…Rockstar, the movie!!! Next thing we know, Sonu Nigam will be called a Rockstar! (Oh wait, he actually thinks he is & acts so hard like one too!)

    Lastly, I bet Imtiaz Ali had the ‘Indian’ interpretation of the term in mind & not the actual while making this movie!!!


    PS. No points for guessing that I am a Pakistani. Besides, my comment had nothing to do with Indo-Pak thingie. More on that later I guess! 😉


    Sujoy Reply:

    I agree. Over the last few years, Indian media and so-called celebs have ruined this word. From dopping lines such as “You Rock” to your favourite Himmesss complimenting someone as Rockstar.. completely facepalm worthy. If James Hetfield was to come face-to-face with these so-called rockstars, they’d pee in their pants.

    What makes someone a Rockstar? I think, if someone was trying to be one, he had already lost it. You either are, or you aren’t. And being anti-social, flashing middle fingers, or fight with journalists does not translate into “Rockstar”. Unless, you are Axl Rose.. but then, there’s only one Axl Rose. 🙂

    Thanks for the comment bro!


  7. I know I’m late but at last a review which is almost exactly as what I thought about this movie. At least you got the chronology right; i actually missed the start and end of the sequences. Strangely the movie got an award for best editing at one of the award functions.

    Only disagreement – Ranbir Kapoor should not have tried to imitate Shammi Kapoor’s Chand sa Roshan Chehra.

    BTW why are you and “Alternate Review” so adamant to prove your points to each other which does not look possible at all. 🙂


    Sujoy Reply:

    I believe, it wasn’t an imitation. It was a heartfelt tribute to the charm of Kashmir, and Kashmir Ki Kali. How many such nods do we ever see in our movies? I for one, loved it.

    About the tussle betn me and Alt.Review, both of us seem to have agreed to disagree, and then called it a day hehe. That’s how stubborn most bloggers are.


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