Friday, August 29, 2008

Rock On: A story with a condom around its heart

Years, no ages, ago a movie got released and went back into the cans with a pace that would make Usain Bolt jealous. This movie was Uff..Yeh Mohabbat. The movie remained loyal to at least the earlier part of the title. It had Twinkle Khanna and who-the-hell-is-he Abhishek Kapoor. After fading into oblivion, thankfully, he came back to direct his debut film Aryan, whose claim to fame was the interminable delay in its release and a product, which alluded to its namesake civilisation. And now, with his sophomore venture, Rock On, he tries to 'be really different'.

Ever since I heard of the movie, I was glad that the one upside of the multiplex culture is that it spawned an entire new genre of movies. Is this genre the answer to the neo-realism or French Wave that we Indians were craving for? I don’t know. All I know is that a movie like ‘Rock on’ could be made expecting profits.

I salivated at the prospect that something, which is remotely similar to Almost Famous or This Is Spinal Tap, might entertain the Indian audience this week. After coming out of the theatre, all I would say that this is a bastard love child of Dil Chahta Hai (no reference to Farhan Akhtar) and a sophomore college band’s trials and tribulations commensurate with their age. Arjun Rampal looks like a cross-breed of James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine, who wields a guitar as a dildo, Luke Kenny started with a promise when he started mentioning D Major but then keeping the Indian sensibilities in view he ends with a, literally, whimper (you will understand after watching movie) and the fact that Farhan Akhtar has to improve his vocal exploits is as obvious as saying that Roddick has to improve his play at net or Mc Cain needs stronger Iraq policy.

Purab Kohli is the one actor in the entire film who looked his part and that élan in his acting makes me borrow Taran Adarsh’s term to describe a half-cooked portrayal- natural. Maybe I should partly blame my near gluttony appetite for movies that I was completely underwhelmed by the time I walked out after that ‘paid preview’. I don’t have problem with clichés but just make them watchable (read add a spin). In Casablanca, when Ingrid Bergman walks into Bogart’s bar, he says that, “In all the bars that are there in the world, she had to walk into mine.” Anyway, Rock On is that movie, which takes pride for having treaded the ‘uncharted territory’. No wonder then that apart from odd strokes, this painting is pure pedestrian.

One brilliant moment in the film is, however, clichéd but there was a spin (360 degrees wala). Prachi Desai sings the inimitable number from ‘Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi' and that was one scene where music actually transcended language. Otherwise, this is a mish-mash of riffs, which would play hard on your ears and eyes too. The band is called ‘Magik’, I would rather have it rechristened ‘Tragik’. I know it sounds too lame a joke, but trust me this movie is also lame.

Some recommendations:

Ballad of Chasey Lain: I am ready to forego the left ball of mine, if I get to see ‘The Bloodhound Gang’ performing this track, live. How I love that line ‘Now show them the titties’.

Cherry Blossoms: This is one movie that made me believe that German cinema does not start and end with Fassbinder’s oeuvre. The Butoh dance was the best one I have seen since the solo performance of Pina Bausch in ‘Bad Education’.

A Friend of Mine: Sam Peckinpah would be impressed with the portrayal of male bonding in the film. Period.