Movie Review: Rock On

Guess what, I’m going to watch this movie again. And maybe, a third time, too! Excel Entertainment excels yet again. With Rock On, the team of Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani are spot on.

The movie has a Hollywood feel; the casting is just perfect, every character is given due importance, the music is way above brilliant, and the lyrics are something you will rarely hear in a rock ballad. I guess, it will soon be a trend; simple, inquiring questions that are actually everyday happenings. Hats off to Javed Akhtar!

The styling of clothes by Niharika Khan and the sets are given minute detailing. The background score captures the mood of the film. Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonca have teamed with the makers to come out with melodies that will easily knock off the frequency of Kabhi Kabhi Aditi and Pappu Can’t Dance from the film Jaane Tu… on radio stations, to the background.

In short, this film is a lesson in filmmaking; on how to scout for the right actors for the part; of how to blend lyrics with the mood and how to add music to the flavour. Director Abhishek Kapoor who made his acting debut ages ago alongside Twinkle Khanna has shown immense talent behind the camera getting the best out of each and every character.

And what about Farhan Akhtar? Yes, what about him? I mean, how do you describe his performance? It’s easy to go overboard when a performance just blows you away. And this here is not just one good performance from one actor, but the product as a whole, which leaves you shaking your head in disbelief. Farhan proved himself as a director of repute with Dil Chahta Hai and then Don. As an actor, he is simply honest to his craft. You don’t get the feeling that this here is his first outing on screen in front of the camera. Agreed he began shooting for The Fakir three years ago, but what he comes out with is stuff of what seasoned actors are made of. His singing is awesome. His unique voice texture lends that freshness to the rock ballads and his miming to his own songs on stage is what legendary rock stars are made of. You rock dude.

Prachi Desai has vowed viewers as the bahu on television; she takes her performance a step further making her Bollywood debut with confidence. She adds a touch of freshness to a very complex role for a newcomer. Shahana Goswami, who too makes her debut, is a talent to watch out for. As first the bubbly girlfriend of Arjun Rampal, and then the nagging wife who has to bear the burden of taking care of the household, she is impressive, almost addictive. Arjun Rampal is slowly coming into his own. After playing a character with a negative shade in Om Shanti Om, he returns with another powerful performance as Joe Mascarenhas the lead guitarist of the band. Vibrant at first, and then subdued he walks the act with a rock star gait. Purab Kohli’s cute act as the Killer Drummer, and ‘life’ of the group enchants you. Catch his ‘I Will Surive Act’ and you will know what I mean. As for Luke Kenny, he has got a role that suits his personality and he does full justice to it. Did I forget to mention about the editing? Take a bow, Deepa Bhatia. A word of mention for Jason West too, the film’s cinematographer. The filming of the concerts are almost real!

Rock On is about four friends in their twenties for who music is a passion they dedicatedly pursue. Music binds them; rehearsals make sure they are always together. They have a band called ‘Magik’. The movie is interestingly sewn in flashbacks. Abhiskek gives the flow a seamless look even though he has to travel a few years back and forth every now and then. As a band, Adi (Farhan), Rob (Luke Kenny), KD (Purab Kohli) and Joe (Arjun) were a treat. They brought the house down whenever they performed. But somewhere down the line, something went wrong and each go their separate ways. For 10 years, they do not meet each other. What was it that blew their friendship away? The simple narration keeps you on edge while the music builds up the suspense, if you may call it that. Because you want to know what it was that made these four thick pals, who stood up for each other, go their own way. And what it is that brings them back together for that one last gig?

This movie, I’m sure will inspire a generation of youngsters to pick up the guitar and also dabble with lyrics.

I could go on and on, but I’ll end with this: This movie is pure Magic. Don’t miss it.

Rating: 4.5/5

Martin D’Souza

This first appeared on on August 30, 2008

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