A Rock Concert!!
Showcasing Farhaan Akhtar’s brilliant debut as actor-n-singer and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s chart-burning music, writer-director Abhishek Kapoor’s new film Rock On!! indeed turns auditorium into rock concert. It tells story of four friends, their lives, rock band, passion for music. In that sense, Rock On!! is maverick in its theme as rock music and feels like a companion to Dil Chahata Hai.
Opens with a bang on streets with “Socha hai” track. Then switches to present day where we meet four members of the band living adult life of compromise and disappointments though some are successful. Lead vocalist now investment banker Aditya Shroff’s (Farhaan Akhatar) life is on auto-pilot with a beautiful loving wife Saakshi (adorable Prachi Desai). Lead guitarist Joe (Arjun Rampal) still struggling to find sure foot in music industry married to college sweetheart Debbie (Shahana Goswami) who had aspiration of stylist. KD (Purab Kohli) joined his father’s jewelry business goes alone to discs while keyboard artist Rob is working with Anu Malik studio having other issues. Their loneliness, mechanical lives, austerity is captured and conveyed with precision. Movie cuts back and forth with brilliantly done flashbacks serves perfect foil to their present day lives. One day Saakshi discovers husband’s buried past in archives and a reunion is in sight to recreate the magic one more time.
Reason why Rock on!! works so well is, it embraces music and characters equally neither upstages other. And does that with no shred of pretentiousness or sensationalism giving movie its sincere and earnest tone. Characters instantly click and become real people. Surprisingly debutant Farhaan delivers film’s key performance. In his husky baritone he finely portrays Aditya as multi-faceted character. Watch callous Aditya replying his friends about smoking. Or in that outrageous scene with wife Sakhshi which catches fire but slowly, started with a glass of scotch and a bit of contemplation.
Praising Farhaan let’s not belittle other actors. Arjun Rampal’s heartfelt performance as failed artist, and Debbie plays her bittersweet wife are deep ones. Watch Purab Kohli stuttering with eyes fixated on Koyal Puri with dork smile – followed by a karaoke scene where he croons Gloria Gaynor’s “I will survive” gives movie its biggest laugh. Thought second half follows somewhat traditional path with some weak sequences, it’s music and performances you care so much for.
Film wouldn’t have been this good without its exuberant soulful music. I was steeped into each stage performance choreographed in the film, as each and every artist in the band physically evoke the musician’s styles so authentic it feels like inside a live concert. Evident in ballad “pichale saat dino me” or melodic “Tum ho to” to exhilarating “Sindbaad – the sailor”. Watch earliest in a jam packed hall with your own band. It’s a finely composed rock album.
* Bad **Average *** Good ****Very Good ***** Outstanding