An evening with Rockstar

Posted: November 17, 2011 by moifightclub in bollywood, cinema, pics, Special
Tags: , , , , ,

It started as a twitter discussion. As always, we were accusing Anurag Kashyap of following the mantra “It’s All About Loving Your Friends (and their films)”. Later on, we found out that AK had told Imtiaz Ali, yeh film aapse kahin zyada mujhe samajh me aaye hai. Or something like that. Well, now how do you react.  Since i don’t have a memory chip inside me, the quotes here are not verbatim. Have tried to present the essence of the thought.

Back to AK. As AK was continuously defending Rockstar, and even claimed that there have been more than 10 Rockstar-converts so far. Those who didn’t like it the first time or had problems with it, went again, and they liked it much more the second time. AK told Jahan to go and watch it again, the second time, and he will pay for the ticket. I asked for one extra. AK offered 8 extra tickets so that 10 more people who had issues with it, or hated it when they saw it the first time, can go and watch it again. It was FCFS and all the tickets were gone in seconds. Well, i think i was the only one who liked it a lot when i saw it the first time. I could understand all the criticism for the film but it was Ranbir and Rahman who made me buy it completely.

Kashyap sent the tickets in next one hour and offered more – Imtiaz Ali will also be there after the film to take on every kind of question/criticism. Word spread fast and more people wanted to join in for the post-screening discussion. I was skeptical. It’s 9:30pm show. By the time it will get over and we will come out of the screening, it will be 1pm. Raat ke 1 baje? Yaar dost toh theek hai, anjan logon ka kya? If Imtiaz doesn’t turn up, am not going to offer my ass to them. I blamed it all on Kashyap. Yes, AK has promised that Imtiaz will be there.

Film got over. I came running out because the show was running late. Imtiaz Ali was there. As promised, Kashyap delivered. And what’s more, got some rolls and biryani too. I thought there will be 10-15 of us. We sat down on the stairs outside Cinemax. And soon there were about 30-40 cinema lovers who sat there for the next three hours discussing Rockstar, its structure, music, dubbing, casting, love, guilt, and life in general.

So 3hour long discussion in one post? And we didn’t record anything. Let me try. Will just go on typing as it comes to my mind. Try if you can make out any sense from this rambling.

AK started the discussion by saying that we will discuss Nargis Fakhri for the first 20mins. We can discuss everything else later on. Priority.

IA : It was difficult to find a girl who could look the part and do the talking too. Also, whatever you do with Ranbir, it’s difficult to play him down. So it became more difficult to find someone who could match upto him. When Nargis joined the set, one of my ADs felt the same that you guys are talking about it. But slowly it worked out. I feel that it will happen the same with Nargis.

AK – Do you know how was Waheeda Rahman described in her debut film? Believe it or not, as a maid.

But, really? A new face who could deliver the lines?

IA – It’s difficult to explain here, not sure how to do it but in a romantic film you are always looking for that soul connect. For that magic to happen and come out on screen. I felt it did happen with Nargis.

Navjot pointed out about her voice which is dubbed and other female actors who played the role of Nargis’ relatives.

IA – We tried it with three dubbing artists. It just wasn’t working. Mona dubs for most heroines and i wanted to try someone new. But nothing worked and when Mona did, i thought it was working. So went back to her.

About casting of other female characters, he just smiled and ran his fingers through his hair locks.

i was dying to ask him about his cinema template of ‘Cool and confused lovers will travel a (physical) distance to realise their true love’ which i wrote about it here. Does he realise it when he is writing?

He smiled and said, it’s my shortcoming. I just don’t realise it at all. Never do. May be it happens sub-consciously but it ends up like that.

So how did Rockstar started?

IA: Muazzam, who was with Whistling Woods, i was trying to help him for his film. And he had a story where the character feels that dil tootene pe hi sangeet banegi, i really liked it. Asked him i can take it forward and write it. He said, since nothing is happening, i can go ahead. Then he came back and said he is making it. So i abandoned it. Then again it went to and fro for few years and nothing happened till i decided to make it. The earlier version was quite bad and different from this one. ( IA wanted John Abraham for the film then).

And the narrative structure? why so?

IA : It was written  like it. Two reasons. I felt this character is a star, so it would be good to have some kind of mystery around him, take him away from others, what happens to him, when it happens, how it happens, the narrative style gave me that choice to play around him, take him away, add mystery, distance to him. So you will say that it’s used more in the portions when he is becoming or has become Rockstar. Also, i tried reading it straight. It was becoming boring, monotonous. I thought let’s go with it. So all the scenes were written like it. And at many places it was economical thing to do. Like the sequence where Heer is introduced, boys are talking about her, following her, she is still performing on stage. The sequence is inter-cut with scenes where they are falling for her.

Her death? It seems very simplistic solution to do it.

IA : (thinks for sometime) It was always written like that. Always. Not sure how. Also because it was Heer-Ranja story in a way. So it went in the same flow.

Prague? What’s this fascination to go out and get the firangis to dance on desi music?

IA : i travel a lot and lot for musical stuff. In many of the European countries that i have been to, i have met many musicians who have very distinct Indian roots. That gypsie musicians who have roots here. Also, when he goes there, he is making music with them. Its their music also, their vocals too, he is picking up the music and creating his own sound. It never seemed out of place to me.

Through out the discussion, it was difficult to control Kashyap and Ali’s fanboy Navjot who were too eager to share their versions of all the answers. Kashyap explained how he has been to so many concerts outside India where he was the only member in the audience who was sleeping through out and there were foreigners who were completely into it. With music it happens. I nodded my head, been to one such Himesh Reshammiya concert in London. Oh, occupational hazard. But those were mostly NRIs.

But it’s easily one of Rahman’s best album.

IA – You guys can’t believe how embarrassed I was doing the recording. It was only Rahman in the studio and I was sitting behind him and Mohit Chauhan was in the booth. I suddenly get up, put the mic on and tell Mohit that saar, aap note ko hit nahi kar rahe ho. Yeh ho nahi raha and blah blah. And then as I come back to my seat, I realise that Rahman saab was sitting there, but he just doesn’t say anything. He asks, Mohit, ready? And we record again. Just like an operator. And i was so embarrassed, i could not believe what i was doing. It’s Rahman. And i am telling the singer what to do. And i did it again, i just could not believe. Rahman is in a different space. It’s always ‘inclusive music’ for him. He will take everyone together and move ahead. Unko chor diya toh dham se giroge, kahan giroge iska koi bharosa nahi. But if it happens with you and you know what you want, he is just magcial.

Kashyap also spoke a lot about his experience of working with Rahman. The absolutely no fuss guy and blah blah.

IA : i was just playing the 40min long version of Kun Faaya Kun and other songs where Rahman is just jamming, it takes you to a different state of trance. i was playing it at home and everyone was so into it.

WAIT! What? 40min version of Kun Faaya Kun? Please please please, is it possible to release it somewhere.

Imtiaz said he will talk to Rahman about it and will try his best to release it. Rahman fans, spread the good word and let’s try to get it out.

One issue lot of people had was with the character – the Rockstar. He doesn’t smoke, no drinks, no drugs, all clean. That’s not what Rockstars do, right? I am sure you must have thought about it and it’s the easiest thing to do.

IA : Many musicians whom i have seen from close quarters over the years, i have realised that the daaru-drug is not the reason. The intoxication part is not the substance, it’s the music, it’s the mood, it’s the state of being. That just becomes a good and easy way. So it was deliberate attempt to avoid it. To look at it from a different angle.

So love is his drug.

And everything else. That’s the only thing he has.

As beautifully written in this piece on Rockstar. May be the best piece. Not very long ago when the first trailer of Rockstar came out and as always, we, the ever curious souls were debating what to expect from the film, Kashyap sent a direct message on twitter saying that it’s this generation’s Pyaasa. As always, i took Kashyap’s words with a pinch  bowl of salt. But when i saw the film i realised what he meant. It’s mere samne se hata lo yeh duniyatumhari hai tum hi sambhalo yeh duniya….yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye toh kya hai. But then, its already too late, you can do too little. As Jordan says in one of the scenes, mujhe nahi banna bada. aur kuch nahi hai mere paas. He doesn’t fit into the family, in their space or their profession. His friends don’t fit into his space anymore. He is just a label for them, a brand, a photograph to show off. Aha, lets get back to Imtiaz.

And his rage. Media? No issues. No politics.

He is a singer from Pitampura. He has no politics. He has no issues. Ganwar hai woh character. Music hi hai jo hai. But slowly he is losing it all. No emotional support. Family gone. Girl gone. Music not happening. He is breaking down. Sukoon nahi hai ab. Keeda hai andar. Woh kuch nahi samjhta hai jo uske aas-paas kya ho raha hai. Woh sab incidental hai.

And Tibet. ( Pls note i don’t remember the exact words. Whatever i can remember, trying to put it together. So kripya in quotes ki baal ki khaal na nikale.)

IA said that like many of us, he also belong to Mcleodganj Lovers Club. He is aware about the Tibet issue, the different viewpoints within the group, who is asking for what, their student politics, how it is related to Delhi politics.

IA : But when i went to Censor Board, i got to know the exact official stand of the Indian Government. So when they told me, i thought if we blur it, i had no clue that it will become such an issue. Because people didn’t notice there are bigger issues in that montage. There are Kashmiris there and some more people. I wanted to make it a bigger montage with others too as if the sadda haq song becomes an anthem for every kind of right that people are asking for. Also, there are Tibetan flags all over, people in the song. And i felt that it’s not related to the character directly, he is not endorsing anything, its the song that’s been used by everyone. Never realised it will turn into such. May be, if i hadn’t blurred it, nothing would have happened. But i have been getting so many messages from Tibet associations that they are happy to see it there. It conveys what’s there.

The other call which i was skeptical about was of bastardizing Shammi Kapoor’s memories. I was feeling very odd about it. Because when we started our promotions, during that time he died. I was so worried that we would be accused of using him. But thankfully that didn’t happen.

And the end. Not to endorse the sad ending, commercial compulsion.

IA : It was never any commercial compulsion, not at all. I felt that when she is gone, for him, he would like to have those memories.

But it would have been great if there was no happy montage when the credit roll starts. We could have come out of the theatre with that feeling of “incompleteness”, as described by Kashyap.

IA : May be, but that’s the way i felt. It’s their field now. Away from anything.

But i love those visuals when they are dancing madly with those bright back lights.

And what else?

Aha, there was more. Have put everything i could remember. Those of you who were there, please keep on adding in the comments section.

So after watching it twice, i feel that Rockstar’s biggest problem is it’s title. Because that sets up expectations of a different kind. In one of the script labs that i attended, remember Sriram Raghavan talking about the title of the film. That’s the first pitch where you sell the film to the audience. Creativity is a different beast but when the film is going to the audience, every small step matters. So this Rockstar is unlike others. Forget drinking and drugs, he doesn’t even go for sex when offered on a platter. Remember the scene with Aditi Rao. This Rockstar knows only love.

After watching the film, a friend wrote on his FB wall, Imtiaz bhai, aur bhi gham hai zamane me mohabbat ke siwa. But, i guess, Imtiaz would say, par us aashiq ka gham toh sirf mohabbat hi tha.

(PS – Those of you who are thinking that Kashyap could bribe us with movie tickets, discussion session with Imtiaz, rolls and biryani, well, don’t make us and our cinema look so cheap. You can try with us next time. And who better than a movie buff like Kashyap to understand it. Plus, this is not the first time that Kashyap has done something like this. He has done bigger and better things, and not only for us, just for one reason – cinema. We just don’t shout out from rooftop every time. And am sure this will not be the last time even though we love or hate his films 😉 For some of you, it might be a completely impossible thing to understand. But then, as someone said, the only difference between life and cinema is that in cinema everything has to make sense, and in life, it doesn’t. )

(PS1 : This post is not to justify anything. Not to try to convert you. It either works for you or it doesn’t. And every stand is fine. We wanted a dialogue, an open discussion to hear the filmmaker and there are hardly few filmmakers who are open to criticism. And even lesser number of those whom we would love to hear. So, thanks to Imtiaz Ali and Anurag Kashyap.)

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Pics : Sumit Purohit.

  1. thank you so much for sharing this with us ! I had some questions in my head abt this movie … which is addressed here… rest I am going for a second run ! 🙂 This is epic 😀

  2. Suraj Sukrit Prakash says:

    answered a lot of questions and provided a very interesting insight of Imtiaz Ali’s psyche.

  3. Thanks a lot for sharing this. I loved it the first time – I had this strange trepidation that I wouldn’t like it and I so didn’t want to be disappointed. But I loved it… BUT had quite a few questions on the screenplay. So I went a second time. The second time I found I appreciated the way the screenplay had been structured – small things I had missed out in the first viewing. But I too thought Heer’s death was unnecessary. Surely he could have experienced terrible pain without her having to die…Also the Prague interlude…I personally feel these international locations trivialise the substance of the story by giving us a pretty backdrop.

  4. First Things first…. Thanx a ton, Sir for Going through the tedious job of writing this much for the sake of people like me….. Its Indeed “EPIC”…. How i wish i cud hav been there too in the company of so many cinema lovers !! When i saw the movie, i became a RK Fan, after reading this post am a IA fan too{nt mentioning AK, coz am already a die-hard fan}…… Then 40 min. version of ‘Kun Faaya’.. Oh Gosh Now that’s something to crave for !! Plz sir do share that version, if U get hold of it….. 😀
    Thanku so very much Mr. snob… !! 🙂

  5. Arvind says:

    Thank you so much for this. One question I always wanted to ask Imtiaz Ali. He himself looks like this brooding Rockstar. Did it never cross his mind to play the role himself 😉 ?

  6. Pooja says:

    Hey, I subscribe to your blog and think you’re doing a great job! In fact through this post you answered many of the lingering doubts I had about the film. We NEED a forum where the audience interested in knowing about the processes behind the film get to know that directly from the filmmaker. So great post. Also, is there a way for people like me to attend these special screenings? How does one get to know?

  7. Vi Jay says:

    I wish I was there

  8. ‎”yaar mujhe pata nahi Love kya hota hai. that’s why i use ‘i love you’ very cheaply in my films” – Imtiaz Ali. this line he said stayed in my head. this is why his love stories feels so real because kisiko nahi pata pyar hota hai.

  9. Woww.. great post to read !!

    40 mins of kun faaya kun.. oh god i could kill for it.

  10. arunprakash says:

    Thanks for this….wish I was there ! Tell AK and IA to do something like this in Delhi….

  11. Interactive session with Anurag Kashyap & Imtiaz Ali on #Rockstar. Recommended reading for film lovers. Full of interestingness.

  12. Brother, thanks a lot for uploading the minutes of the session. It was a first of its kind meet for me, must tell you it was a great learning experience. Thanks a lot for making me part of the session. Hope it will be wonderful if we can have more of such initiatives. Keep doing great stuff. Tnx. Vijay.

  13. Sarma Veturi says:

    one question i had was why was RK wearing a black band on his shirt sleeve for the whole of the movie…now i saw this in cricket when some important person dies on a day or something disastrous happens….was that the intention

  14. BK says:

    Wow!! Lucky Bastards 🙂
    Did IA happen to say anything about inspiration from hindi novels of 60-70s, especially Gunahon ka Devta by the legendary Dharam Veer Bharti. Could see lot of references to the same.

  15. I still dont get it … Is Imtiaz defending Nargis’ casting ?

    Why does the character have to match up to Ranbir ?

    Soul connect in a black and white silent movie … maybe … surely not here !!!

  16. Sriram says:

    You love or hate a film but not both. Rockstar is one special exception for this rule. We loved and hated it equally for various reasons. Imtiaz you are class apart. True Rockstar Director 😉

  17. Rushabh says:

    thank you! thank you! thank you! thank you! 🙂

  18. m says:

    Utna nahi pata mujhe…par last k aadhe ghante me main fultoo pak chuka tha.aisa lag raha tha k mujhe pata hai ab kya hoga…bahut zyada kheench diya hai end me.

  19. roshnidevi says:

    40 mins of Kun Faaya Kun 0_O
    Oh, mother of god, i waaant!

  20. roshnidevi says:

    And i wish more filmmakers/actors were open for talks of this sort after their film releases.
    It’s only when their next movie is up that they meekly acknowledge that something *might* have been wrong/misconstrued about their film.

  21. “So this Rockstar is unlike others. Forget drinking and drugs, he doesn’t even go for sex when offered on a platter. Remember the scene with Aditi Rao. This Rockstar knows only love.”
    yeh india hain aur yehaan log (the common class) aise hi kuch rahthe .and janardhan jakhar is kind of nerd.

  22. बढिया … बहुत बढिया।

  23. Sheraz says:

    I loved the movie when I watched it for first time. So mesmerizing, so soulful, and such a musical journey that create a deep mystic feeling. U feel binded to it. For me all the characters were perfect n I like Narghis, Her character, her introvert nature, She wz alright guys….

    Yeah felt empty at end,. I was glued to my seat till all the credit roll was over n all tht….. N yeah, I wished at that time, there should be something more………

    But indeed amazing job by u guys, And yeah ur blog is really well written and cant wait 4 saturday now, to watch this movie again. N Plzzzzzzzzz, do something abt 40 min Kun faya kun n do let us know abt the release thing as well.

  24. anandsindhu says:

    Bhai ek Ticket idhar bhi dilwao ..2 bar dekh chuka hu.

  25. adityapranav says:

    A very enlightening discussion indeed. I wish I were a part of it. I had keyed in my thoughts on the movie after I watched the very first show on Friday (11.11.11). However, to be honest, I enjoyed it even more when I watched it for the second time on Wednesday. In fact, it was heartening to see such a huge crowd on a Wednesday afternoon.

    But I did loved it in the first viewing too. The feeling that it leaves you with remains unchanged even the second time. I was emotionally drenched and it had done something inside me.

    I could not write anything immediately after the movie for I kept thinking about it. I let the feeling sink in and keyed in some thoughts in the night. Please do check them out at the following link:

    I am also a great admirer of the Rockstar Soundtrack. Please check out my analysis at:

    Rockstar Rocks!! You miss something, if you do not watch it.

    Aditya Pranav

  26. Harneet says:

    About the Rumi quote… Imtiaz said that Rumi entered the film after he started writing and then became a crutch throughout the writing process… The story as it followed just led to Rumi…

    Also, when I asked him about Heer’s insistence to stay married even after she knew she was dying so then why didn’t she just snap all ties and go to Jordan, what made her stick to the marriage, Imtiaz said, “She didn’t know she was dying till the time she fainted in Delhi after she came back… Also in a marriage, its not so easy… even if its love… you can’t suddenly decide ki aaj mein isko 55% pyaar karti hoon aur isko 42%… its not so clear cut and easy… But waise bhi yaar mujhe pata nahin pyaar kya hota hai.”


    Just remembered these few bits…

    • This comment might have a very small spoiler. Though if you have seen the trailer you can guess it anyways. Still putting a Spoiler Alert.

      Couple of interesting points I remember –

      AK told interesting fact about Imtiaz that how he use to spend lot of his time during college days at Nizamuddin dargah. (No surprise then that’s the first place JJ decides to go once he is thrown out of his house)
      And the trivia that Imtiaz shared – the place in the dargah where everyone is sitting and singing Kun faya kun is the exact same place where Amir Khusrow (regarded as father of qawwali) use to sit and sing for group of people.

      And if I remember correctly he also said that some of Rumi’s lines were also used in the lyrics of some other song in the film. Anyone remembers the lines he was referring too?

      • Vikas says:

        proabably where he says…ki jab kabr pe aaye toh sab kuch kha lena mere sharir ka …khayio na tu naina mere, piya aas mein baithe hai

        • Zico Ghosh says:

          That “Khaiyyo na tu naina more…” part is Amir Khusrao’s. Though Rumi and Khusrao are said to have been close to each other, that line is by the latter. I had visited Nizamuddin Dargah recently and one of the qawwalis the Fakirs performed had the exact same lines. I came to know it’s Khusrao’s(who’s tomb resides beside Hazrat Nizamuddin’s).

          I guess, it helped me connecting the dots, given how deeply embedded the film is in Sufi philosophies. Rumi, Hazrat Nizamuddin and Khusrao. 🙂

      • farey says:

        its in nadaan parinday. (my closest guess)
        Poem by rumi:

        Sometimes you hear a voice through the door

        calling you, as fish out of water

        hear the waves, or a hunting falcon

        hears the drum’s Come back.

        Come back.

        This turning toward what you deeply love

        saves you. Read the book of your life,

        which has been given you.

        A voice comes to your soul saying,

        Lift your foot. Cross over.

        Move into emptiness

        of question and answer

        and question.

      • rahulandrd says:

        Its lines from “Meeting Place” in soundtrack-

  27. Very good effort mFC! Obvious questions were ably answered. Evidently, it gives rise to more questions, about the narrowing down to the music pieces used, the BG score, The color palette during different sections of the film, but I guess a few of the questions shall remain for IA’s memoirs, when they happen!!

    AK needs to be complimented too, to make all this happen…am sharing!!

  28. Smita says:

    I appreciate the director coming forth and interacting on a film that’s already doing well commercially and this is very special of Imtiaz Ali know casting someone who is so unable to play the part still seems rather inexplicable, especially when he’s so successful. It still seems so post all the postmortem. Not having any effect on audience and making audience cringe are totally different no? No matter how strong the connect is, you don’t want the audience giggling when you have sloughed and strove to imagine, write and film that scene..

    But beyond that the principle character’s graph seemed confusing at times. He may have become angrier and more disgruntled with the world around him- with the rejection from those closest to him and the wild acceptance by this completely alien and hungry mass, but when did he become so …’rockstarry’ for lack of a better phrase? I mean he owned that look, that ‘attitude’ – so when did that transformation happen? Is there some subtext we missed?

    He is also very careless about performances, showing up and all but then we see him fight people off, jump buses and busy streets and break open gates to perform- I can read into why he turns to his music with a vengeance, but i could also have completely missed the point the director was trying to make.

    So unfair- I am studying screenplay writing and if i wrote this film, I’d be fired. And still, am only writing here because I did care for him (the character and his story).

  29. Kumar Gautam says:

    Interesting…I thought just 10 of you were there…oo and the pics, explain a lot about the discussions and exchange of ideas. This initiative should not be limited to one director…involve others too…cheers 🙂

  30. @Smita: You’re observations are quite right. The same questions came to my mind after watching the movie. But the way people are appreciating the movie, I thought I really had a bad taste of movies. Even Moifightclub also tried to put such questions in his first blog, but don’t know what happened later, and came this latest post, which entirely seems to me a publicity stunt. Or may be I really have a bad taste:-)

    • Smita says:

      @ Afzal, like poosha writes below, films and our reactions to them stem from such different individual responses and engagement with life as well as art. As for suspecting your taste buds, I have held on to a dislike for Dil Chahta Hai and a resilient affection for Lajja long enough to piss off a number of friends and fellow film lovers quite consistently! As for Rockstar, with prague, the heroine, the entire focus on larger than life, all encompassing physical beauty took away from the organic feel of gut wrenching soul churning love story that was the premise of the film. I get the idea, i just didn’t get the feel.

  31. Ajay Mohanta says:

    grt post man……. thanx

  32. assman says:

    I found these lines quite intriguing.

    aur bhi gham hai zamane me mohabbat ke siwa
    par us aashiq ka gham toh sirf mohabbat hi tha

  33. Rahul says:

    Well i am surprised to know that nargis is dead in this movie .i thought she was in coma.

  34. Roushan says:

    Great post… loved the film.. though i still believe that casting Nargis Fakri was a bad choice.. loved the ending though… probably one of the best part of the film (except music) and A 40 MIN KUN-FAYA-KUN… Imtiyaaz.. Rehmaan.. PLEASE….. please…please…. please release.. we will be ever..ever greatful fo that….

  35. Shray Gupta says:

    Thanks MFC for taking out time and jot down the conversation for us. Thanks a ton.. 🙂

  36. hardik mehta says:

    Thanks MFC. This is neat work done for a hell lot of us…!!

  37. poosha says:

    Well, I don’t have the benefit of a second viewing, but since the first one was fairly torturous to begin with, especially towards the end, I’m going to let it pass.
    I’m not sure I can claim to know what the biggest problem with rockstar is. Filmviewing is as personal an experience as filmmaking, informed by past experiences, current state of mind as also a host of other factors like taste and inclination, level of film literacy and more. And at the risk of stating the obvious, I shall say what others have likely said before: everyone takes away different things from it. Therefore, at best this comment can be personal observations/ response/ critique of the film. Having issued the disclaimer, let me move on.
    I think the biggest problem with the film as far as I’m concerned, is the high expectations Imtiaz has set up with his previous films. Even without expectations there would’ve been disappointment, with them, they’re compounded.
    Let me start with Nargis Fakhri, as IA and AK themselves chose to do (admitting to one of his biggest mistakes in the film?) It would have been hard work for even a good actor to have played that part, in her hands it’s a joke. If his choice was between someone who ‘looked’ the part (really, what look was that? Permanent expressionless pout?) and could act, his decision speaks volumes about where his prorities lay.
    But a more serious error was the lack of a story. The writers seem to have decided that they can pull off an entire film on the basis of a powerful idea, and forgot to work out the details. God however, as they say, is in the details. They seem to have decided that the central character should be someone who hasn’t seen real hardship and must go through deep pain and a life altering transformation, to become the angst ridden rockstar (from what I understood.) There is a basic problem with this premise. In our scriptures there’s a story about a master sending out a boy grieving about a dear one’s death, to get some rice from any house in the village, but there’s a condition: that house should not have seen any death. Of couse no such house exists. The lesson can be extended to pain. Its such a presumption to imagine a person who has known no pain. Or is it just laziness, to write a character with such little depth, so single dimensional and with such little engagement with the world.
    Then again, the whole premise of heartbreak hinges on a deepfelt, ireplacable, higher love. To believe in a love like that, you would need to create some serious magic on screen. As things stand, there might have been more chemistry between Ranbir and a scarecrow. In fact Fakhri is such a put off, one wonders why he would fall in love with her in the first place. A completely personal reaction, but if I can’t feel the magic, the chemistry, the love, how in God’s name am I to believe in the heartbreak!
    On top of that, there is the complete departure from logic. A family throws their son out for attending a wedding? For absconding for a few days? Clearly that can’t be enough, so an equally arbitrary reason of stealing money is thrown in. The relationship with the family is so ill worked out, it makes you cringe. The friends too abandon him for some reason. Its not like he’s a loner to begin with, but inexplicably the friends fall by the wayside. Its not like he’s really a rebel, he just follows his heart and the actions happen to be rebellious. So where are words like ‘Sadda Haque’ coming from? Hang on, what haque is he talking about anyway. Even if we don’t dwell on the complete lack of sensitive handling of a highly complex situation of Heer openly being in a relationship with another man while choosing to stay married to her husband, there seem little logic to it. In fact there’s little logic to anything that happens on screen.
    There is little concentration or explanation for anything other than the pain, the pain, oh the heartfelt pain from which art emerges. Unfortunately I as audience felt a very different kind of pain. I didn’t feel at all for the character. I felt for myself for having to endure him. And her and their so-called-love.
    (As an aside, by the same logic Rehman must’ve had a reeeally difficult life for having made the kind of music he’s made over the years. Just saying.)

  38. tinu nebhani says:

    they should have kept the name of the film as Heer-Ranjha…!!!!! it would have made a different impact all over.

  39. […] Imtiaz Ali will keep churning out films based on his single template of romance. He knows it but doesn’t  know what to do about it. […]

  40. […] with its director Imtiaz Ali for next three hours. If you haven’t read the post, it’s here. The idea is to create space and platform for discussion with filmmakers after we have seen the […]

  41. […] time when we met Imtiaz Ali to discuss Rockstar, there were many conspiracies and accusations. But since some of you appreciated our effort, we […]

  42. audience says:

    Brilliant review by Namrata Joshi (Outlook). Her last line sort of summed it up for me – “And however much you may quote Rumi, you may still not be able to reach the viewer’s soul.” Comparing this to Pyaasa is as risible as the reviewer who dubbed this director an auteur.

  43. […] same track like his last film Rockstar – completely divided between lovers and haters. And like last time, Ali was quite open and candid to discuss the strength and every weakness of the film, and took it […]

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