Ranbir & Rahman’s Rockstar and Imtiaz Ali’s cinema template

Posted: November 12, 2011 by moifightclub in bollywood, cinema, film, film review, movie reviews, reviews
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Rockstar is Imtiaz Ali’s fourth film after Socha Na Tha, Jab We Met and Love Aaj Kal. Thanks to some good friends, I had some idea about the story of the film long before it was announced because Imtiaz has been trying to make the film since last few years. But after SNT, JWM and LAK, what i was more curious to know was that if Imtiaz will follow the same template of his previous three films. And the template is…

Cool and confused lovers will travel a (physical) distance to realise their true love.

Now try SNT, JWM and LAK. Cool boy will meet cool girl. They will be easy to like and good fun to hang out with. They will become friends. They fall in love but are not sure about it. They will be confused and take a wrong step which will lead to some kind of travel and they will finally meet.

Add marriage to it and you are done. With marriage, Ali takes one step at a time. SNT – the marriage talk is on. JWM – She is about to get married. Almost. LAK – She gets married. SPOILER Rockstar – She gets married and makes love with the boyfriend. SPOILER Ends. Next is what? Extra-marital affair? Let’s wait and watch.

In Rockstar, Imtiaz Ali follows the same template. But as the name suggests, it’s also about music. So what works and what doesn’t? Opting for the easy route by writing it in points.

– The film entirely belongs to Ranbir Kapoor. Hand him all the awards for the Best Actor this year. It has been terrible year anyway. And nobody comes close to him. He is such a delight on screen, makes everything look so natural.

– And it would have been a different game without Rahman. After Ranbir, the film belongs to him. It’s easily the best album of the year and i wanted to see more of songs in the film.

– When it comes to rom-com, writer Imtiaz knows his stuff really well. The scenes, the dialogues, the moments – he knows how to write and handle them. How about a rom-com masterclass, Mr Ali?

– Nargis Fakhri. Great screen presence, gorgeous to look at but as soon as she opens her mouth, it’s all over. Terrible casting. Was it just a silent audition for her? If it was someone else, the film could have gone to another level.

– The film suffers from the same curse which most desi films have : the curse of 2nd half. It seems Imtiaz had no clue what to do in the second half. Is there a way we can edit out “interval” from our films? That seems to be the main culprit.


–  Going by conventional mainstream rule book, the film has a sad ending. But looks like we have become so scared of the box office monster that even when the story is going in that direction, we are finding it difficult to endorse it on screen.


– Kun faaya fun gave me goose flesh. It’s not the way it’s shot, it’s the moment it captures.

– Shammi saab, such a graceful presence. Wish the ‘dichotomy of fame’ track had only him and Ranbir without jumping over to other scenes. Even when he is playing the shehnai, you can see that he is making the efforts to make it look real. He is just not faking it.

– They really blurred the “Tibet” part in the “Free Tibet” banner. That’s disgusting. What is an artist without his/her politics? And this is such a far fetched endorsement. Weird because they shot the song in Dharmshala with Tibetans who are waving their flags and banners and are on stage with Ranbir.

– The narrative style is not linear. Almost every second sequence moves between past, present and future. Am not sure if it helped the narrative in anyway. Need to watch it again. Also, was it done in the edit? Or Imtiaz thought about it while writing the script? Any inputs will be helpful.

Muazzam Beg has an opening story credit along with Imtiaz Ali.

– Was damn disappointed with Kumud Mishra in That Girl In Yellow Boots. He has compensated for everything in the film. Also, can we see more of Aditi Rao Hydari?

– What else? Aha, Rumi saab gets proper credit in the film.

Go, watch it and do share your thoughts. Am sure this film is going to divide the house completely.

  1. Vallabh says:

    I understand the need of acronyms for long movie titles in some cases but the posts here at moifightclub show a compulsion and in a way an obsession to use them beyond need. I shouldn’t speak for everyone but I think It doesn’t save any time for readers since they have to literally stop and re-think the whole title in their mind whenever they encounter the acronym (ppl are not used to these acronyms unlike to FBI, OMG, ASAP etc). On the other hand, if the title is spelled out completely, readers can just glance at it and comprehend it even without reading each letter in much less time. You might have heard of this:
    Arocdnicg to rsceearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pcale. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit pobelrm. Tihs is buseace the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

  2. ladynimue says:

    my complaints are mostly with Nargis ! some one else sure would have added more to this movie.. Movie belongs to music , ranbir and the way stage shows are done ! i enjoyed it for sure 🙂

  3. Tyler Durden says:

    When Misbah ul haq bats dreadfully slowly in a one-day match and screws up the asking rate,the captain sometimes comes under severe pressure & is forced to send out a pinch hitter at the best possible opportunity.In Rockstar,Nargis is the Misbah! And Aditi Rao is the Umar Akmal sent up to do damage control.I don’t think Aditi’s character was there in the original script but had to be written in last minute after seeing Nargis’ wretched progress at acting! 🙂

    Ranbir is solid in this outing but I thought the most complex character of the movie was that of Heer which (unfortunately) required someone with similar visible spark but superior acting skill to pull off.Notwithstanding the narrative glitches,this alone would have changed the impact of the movie.
    Directors/Writers of bollywood, please do invest more thought & time into characterization/casting of female leads too!

    Somewhere I read this hilarious comment – The title of “Rockstar” should have been “Devdas learns to rock”!! Very true.

    Okay.Enough bashing.There were some absolutely brilliant scenes with Ranbir in it.(I can’t wait to see them clips on youtube)

    – Kashmir ki kali (I felt like jumping up & dancing at this!)
    – first heartbreak & samosa/chutney
    – Slap scene at home for stealing 5 lacs
    – Contract paper shredding
    – desi daru

    Also piyush mishra’s massage!!

    I enjoyed most parts of the movie,but not entirely.That’s fine,I’m not going to lose my sleep over it!(OOps!)

  4. I always find your review very engaging but it seems to me you always hang your personal baggage of expectations on others shoulders 🙂 Liked this review but didn’t liked the template part. it was a bit cruel to summarize an artist in such way. and if wish to do so he can do it with almost every director of the world.

    @ Vallabh

    very nice comments. it was known to me that some researchers thinks that way about words ! but you made me realize that they are correct up to to good extent 🙂

    • moifightclub says:

      @what to do, could not control. He has just one story to tell. he decorates it other stuff every time. Naah, try it with other directors. You cant put all their film in one line. may be few – films and directors but there is no template like Ali template 😉

  5. Subrat says:

    I liked it. Breakout performance by Ranbir Kapoor. Imtiaz Ali might seem to have a template but he mines it differently everytime. Raju Hirani does the same with his template – get Boman Irani to the right path while reforming Parikshit Shahani on the way. They rehash these themes well.

    Nargis Fakhri? I think a mannequin instead would’ve taken the film into a different level. Ranbir falling for a mannequin who breaks his heart and he sublimates that grief to become a rockstar. At the end, Jordan dies and the mannequin comes to life. The mannequin kills herself because she can’t emote. So, she can’t grieve over Jordan. Neo magic realism meets Heer Ranjha meets Sati Savitri meets Murakami. What’s more Nargis would have nailed the mannequin part.

    • moifightclub says:

      Subrat – i thought Ali almost became Hirani in the second half when Rockstar got the magical touch to increase blood count 😉

      • Ashish Shukla says:

        I cudnt hold myself and suddenly laughed in silent theater at Shernaz Patel doing the same wot she was doing for her daughter in ‘Black’…”Woh bolne ke koshish kar rahi hai Mr. Mcnally”

  6. poosha says:

    hahahahaha @ Subrat!

  7. was desperately hoping that dichotomy of fate would be shown with only Ranbir and Shammi. they killed it on the edit table. i feel most of the film was killed on the edit table. aditi’s character was lost after a point. she ended up looking like a glorified extra.

  8. jhonmoy says:

    अगर इम्तिआज़ एक प्रेम कहानी बनाने चला था तो भाईसाब प्रेम कहानी तो बहुतै बुम्माट बनी है.

    बाकी उठ रहे सवाल, —

    जैसे के जोर्डन के विद्रोह के स्वरों के पीछे प्रेम के सिवा और क्या है ? प्रेम के इतर और क्या जाना उसने जेल के भीतर और बाहर. प्राग से लौटने और बकैती के शीर्ष पर पहुँचने के दरमियाँ उसने और क्या क्या किया? इत्यादि इत्यादि …

    इनका उठाना शायद उन् दर्शकों की जिज्ञासा है जो इस फिल्म के शीर्षक से कुछ और ही अपेख्षा कर बैठे थे. कुछ लोग जिन्हें मैं जानता हूँ, चाह रहे थे के फिल्म जोर्डन पर जनार्दन से अधिक केंद्रित होती.

    फिल्म के कुछ हिस्से [खासकर इंटरवल के पश्चात] बहुत फीके और बाकी के माल के बनिस्पत उथले लगे पर इम्तिआज़ ने कहीं भी जनार्दन और हीर के बीच जो हो रहा था, उसे कहीं भी छिछला महसूस नहीं होने दिया.

    इसके लिए उनकी फिल्म एक बार ज़रूर देखनी चाहिए.

    और मियाँ moifightclub, फोर्मुले खूब खोजते हैं आप. पर ये तो कोई इम्तिआज़ से ही पूछे के उनकी कोई grand scheme है के नहीं!

  9. felinei says:

    Jim morrison n bollywood….lol…doesnt go together.

  10. Deependra Solanky says:

    ‘Free Tibet’ banner was blurred after Censor Board objection recently. You can see the banner in trailers playing on TV. News Reading?

  11. John Galt says:

    Ranbir’s breakout performance?! Give me a break! What was he doing in Wake up Sid, Rocket Singh, Ajab Prem Ki… hila raha tha? He kicked serious ass in all three. Abhi Imtiaz ki film hai to breakout performance!

    • Subrat says:

      John Galt: this is a breakout performance because people are saying it is one. They didn’t say it for Rocket Singh. There is no objective measure of it. It is one when most people say it is.

      Also, Rocket Singh is a kind of role done by all major actors in Bollywood in different hues. From Raj Kapoor in Shri 420, Dev Anand in Kala Bazaar to Shah Rukh in Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman. Ranbir did well there but no one called it breakout because they didn’t think it was. Wake Up Sid? A confused, aimless kid who finds his calling – that’s a standard role. Ajab Prem?? Really!!

  12. Eric Paul says:


    The concept of Rockstar exist as an interaction between three overarching elements. grief,anguish and music.while grief and anguish was immaculately portrayed by Ranbir, Rahman created a music that captured emotions in a way which is arguably impossible through imagery.
    But, I believe it was Imtiaz Ali’s directorial vision and dexterity that established a symbiotic relationship between the three disparate elements, one enriching the other. The inane simplicity of the protagonist, the acquired vile as a result of lost love, the recurring reference to a meeting place without shackles, sickness,tragedy etc have been placed in an environment that is believable and entertaining at the same time.
    A food loving Janardhan after turning into Jordan negative does not find himself with food again; Heer lean on to Jordan with a sense eternal tranquility;the jumbled screenplay that takes us back and forth into the grief of the characters; a wedding sequence with just a lit up bungalow and not showing the ceremony or even the groom, interspersed moments of silence, etc are some of the riveting high points that authenticates the spirit of the film.
    So, while Ranbir and Rahman form the bones and sinews of Rockstar, it is Imtiaz who breathes life into it.One of a film.

    P.S Leela Samson.. This is what you airbrushed from the film..so be it

    Free Tibet

  13. BK says:

    Contemporary Gunahon ka Devta and an extremely energetic tale of life. Loved it

  14. vinjk says:

    it was more of a biopic of Jordan the rockstar. brilliant film.
    that moment of revelation/realization during Kun Faya Kun and also at the end of naadan parindey was superb…spiritual i must say.

    Ranbir rocked, Nargis croaked (Man! she was a disaster. I just wish they didnt take lot of close shot while she was talking)

  15. Neelabh says:

    When you make a movie and call it Rockstar, people like me want to see something close to what a rockstar is. Drugs, stage violence, inner conflicts, conflicts with band members, orgies, pukes(it was there in the movie) and so on.

    I was deceived by the songs(well they are not what they call rock) and felt kinda cheated after watching the movie.

    I believe this should have been made by Anurag Kashyap or Dibakar Bannerji.

  16. Neelabh says:

    I forgot to mention – Imtiaz should not have taken material from Curt Kobain’s suicide note where he says that he hates the fame and all that

  17. Shray gupta says:

    i guess What Imtiaz wanted to say by some disjointed visuals, Between Jordan’s journey in Prague, back and forth, Jail and all, is the life of Rockstar as we all see as individuals. What is reported in media. It was not a biopic but more of a views of spectator or fan.

  18. Vivek says:

    Jab We Met is a simple film, but everything comes together so well there, its a delight to watch. So when AK tweeted that Rockstar was Imtiaz’s best, I was a bit sceptical. Having watched it today, well, if Imtiaz is ever going to read this, he should know that he has another fanboy now.
    A great writer can work up a clever tight script with good sharp dialogue; makes an excellent film, no doubt. But the second half here – this is all emotion, all texture. While people are generally deriding this half, I feel this is where the films stands out. This is what sticks, pinches and pricks, long after you leave the theater.This is the work of a man who has really lived the movie in his head – you can’t express this in regular screenplay format. A hint of this in the audio CD – the accompanying booklet has excerpts from the ‘first draft’ of the script – descriptions of Jordan’s state of mind that can generally only be written in if the writer is also the director. Hope that draft comes up for reading some day.
    And right from the start, when we catch snatches of Jo Bhi Main, I knew we were in for some fantastic editing.
    And. Ranbir Kapoor. What can I say. Lucky us to be welcoming a new superstar superactor.
    Hope the G-ones, bodyguards and Singhams watch this rockstar.

    • fan_of_Rockstar says:

      Something I totally agree with – the second half is the more impactful, but you must not just stare at the screen, you must feel it.

  19. Amit says:

    Agree with your review almost entirely.

    I liked the non-linearity of the film. As I had heard from Gulzar saab, flashbacks are the most natural way of telling stories. And the camera work & editing was superb.

    Ranbir looked the part through & through. Yes.

    Nargis with her mouth shut looks nice. Yes.

    Aditi Rao Hydari’s role was miniscule. Yes.

    Kumud Mishra is great here. Yes.

    Piyush Mishra has, as expected, excelled in the role, but I think his character was a bit too stereotyped (Gulshan Kumar hangover?).

    The romance part of the story was a bit too much – inspired by Heer Ranjha – but unbelievable in parts. How can she get well when Jordan is around her, and collapse the *moment* they are separated – *every* time?

  20. Roushan says:

    A good film… few misses here n there… i liked the narrative.. having present, past n future explained in a mix match way….Music is outstanding as we all knew before the movie release but, the background score is even better… only turn offs were relatively weak script (or may be character were not easy connectable) n Nargis Fakri…. It was a right choice to cast a fresh face for the role but it had been real nice if he would have selected someone with better acting skills…

  21. a says:

    why is imtiaz ali moving towards non-actresses lie deepika padukone and now nargis fakhri..who only look beautiful.is he trying to experiment with his near perfect story,screenplay, dialogue etc. to be like a r rahman who makes a perfect composition but experiments with raw voices.just an observation.

  22. a says:

    one more thing..any idea why sardar, Tibetans, kashmiris are shown in saadda haq towards the end of the song?? isn’t it symbolic?

  23. DAK says:

    “one more thing..any idea why sardar, Tibetans, kashmiris are shown in saadda haq towards the end of the song?? isn’t it symbolic?”

    Just to get the spirit of the nation a la Rang De… But it fell flat for not build-up was shown.

  24. […] Ranbir & Rahman’s Rockstar and Imtiaz Ali’s cinema template […]

  25. Suraj Sukrit Prakash says:

    at a time when bollywood is going all out making masala flicks and “brainless entertainers” (bodyguard and Ra.one)….. rockstar makes an interesting statement…..Im not saying that the movie would/should be liked by everyone but all I’m saying is that it is a movie that works only if you connect with Ranbir which to me seems to be a brave attempt by Imtiaz ali…..To believe in a character so much that he goes out to simply narrate his protagonist’s story without trying hard to add another ‘so called HIT’ to his tally……

  26. Sujata says:

    Rockstar is a classic. Its a kind of movie that people will talk about after many years.

  27. Md.anish says:

    Mujhe storys ke baare me jyada kuch maloom nahi.par me imtiyaz sir ko ek simple si story dena chahta hoon(AATMAHATYA) jo ek middle class student par base hai.lekin ye suside case kuch diffirent hai.

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