Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rockstar - a Love Story Made for Me

There are movies that punch you in the lungs and leave you breathless.
Rockstar is not that movie.
There are movies that leave you mellow and lazy as if you had just woken up on a Sunday morning.
Rockstar is not that movie.
Most movies just leave you unmoved, and some, too few, leave you thinking.
Those are not Rockstar either.

But then there are movies that you just feel in your gut, even when your mind can't explain them. Rockstar is like leaving a dry white sheet out in the rain. Every drop that falls on it is a new emotion, a new song, a new moment. At the end the sheet is heavy with rain, but even if you tried wringing it, the drops would not come out individually, as they came in. Rather they'd all flush down in a rush to sink back in the ground. So you don't wring it. You just let it sit there, heavy with all its meanings, until time slowly dries it and it's safe to offer it to the rain again.

I refuse to deconstruct Rockstar into its characters, its songs, its narrative, its dialogues, its first and second half, how it's Ranbir's career best, how Imtiaz Ali always speaks straight to my soul, how Rahman's music is immortal. It would be like trying to get each drop of rain back out of that sheet. Even if I managed to, it would leave it wrinkled, devoid of its meaning. I'd rather hold on to that heaviness it left in my stomach with its last images, its last flashback dialogue, with Rumi's poem. Over Mohit Chauhan's smooth voice.

"I couldn't live outside again", says Jordan to Heer. For anyone who wants to see it, that is the key to his character and to his thorny story. But that outside world doesn't know that. They only see the rebellion, and feed on it without understanding it. The more he tries to push them away, the more they are attracted to this darkness as if to a black hole. And while being drawn to it, they, in turn, exacerbate it. It's funny how the same society who constrains us to live and die in a certain "suitable" way, falls for the ones who won't conform, wants to posses them in a badly veiled attempt to hide the envy that they got away. When in fact... they never did get away. They're just as trapped as everyone else.

If you forget all that, it's easy to look at a song like Saadda Haq and call it a youth anthem, an inflammatory slogan, a middle finger raised to rules, war, and corruption. Because it's brilliant enough to also mean all these things. How easy it is to forget that it is, at the core, just a song about being allowed to cut your own path, to live after your own heart, whether it leads you to the right place or the wrong one.

It's also easy to look at Rockstar and rip its metaphors into little pieces of trivialities. After all, don't all painters use the same colours? But it's the big picture that makes an artist. Then again, all artists are often misunderstood.

Wait... Didn't I say I wasn't going to break it into pieces? Yes, I do believe I did.

Do I stop here saying it's my favourite love story of the year? Yes, I think I should.

"Main galat hoon, toh phir kaun sahi?" (If I am wrong, then who is right?)


Swati Sapna said...

Hmmm... I liked Rockstar, but didnt quite love it :( Very good first half, followed by a patchy second half is what I thought. And at one point people in the theatre started yawning aloud and even laughing every time Nargis came on screen! I guess you had the advantage of not having to see how badly mismatched her expressions were with her lines! It was atrocious frankly... she killed the film for me in the 2nd half. every time there was a good scene between her and ranbir and ur just beginning to feel the pain, there is a close up of Nargis and we wanted to just kill ourselves!! Ranbir was awesome though... and the music just beautifully woven into the narrative...

Mette said...

You've spoken your mind, and I love that - can't wait to see it (for the 100th time ;)),

me said...

I am very happy that so you obviously loved this movie. Although the idea of the movie still leaves me completely cold and uninterested, thanks largely to the central plot device, you have persuaded me to check out the soundtrack, so thanks.

Dolce and Namak said...

Hey Swati, you know, I heard that from so many people and it always confuses me. I purposely kept an eye on it the second time around and it's actually the first half that is non-linear. The second half, from Prague onwards is all one straight line. So really not sure why it gets everyone so confused, I was following it quite well even the first time. If anything I was glad to see a director (since you know all my beef with RaOne) who gives credit to his audience to have a brain older than 10 years old. ;) So I was quite happy with the structure. Always puzzled at how many people didn't quite get on board with it.

But that said, yes, Ranbir was so amazing, especially in the second half where he's more intense. I can see myself getting bored of his schtick in the first half after the first few runs of the DVD but the second half I could watch an infinite amount of times. :)

And the second time I saw it, I did pick up on some of Nargis' OTT-ness. I hope it doesn't end up killing it for me on further rewatches.

Either way, glad you liked parts of it, and hoping you'll like even more if you watch it again. :)

Dolce and Namak said...

@ Mette: I think you will be one of the people who like it. It seems to really polarize people, but that's my gut feeling knowing your tastes. I don't want to build it up for you, it's better if you don't have sky high expectations, but let me know when you do see it. Very curious if my prediction is right. :D

@ Maxqnz: As I said before, I really don't think it's your type of movie, but that said, it would be a sin against yourself to not listen to the soundtrack. Especially when you're so fond of qawalis, Kun Faya Kun is a masterpiece in its own right. Though really, the whole thing is worthy of the repeat button, granted some more than others. :) I hope you get to love it as much as I do, by far my favourite soundtrack of the year!

Reminii said...

I kept my expectations low because I'm not such an Imtiaz fan as you (and I've read some negative things too) but I ended up liking it a LOT. If it weren't for Nargis, I would have ended up LOVING it. Cheers to Imtiaz for hiring a foreign model (who imho isn't all that pretty) and trying to make her act :-/ But I loved all the little things about this movie, the structure, the music, RANBIR - I can say that this movie made me his fan :)

Dolce and Namak said...

Haha! Yaaaay!!!!! So glad you liked it Remini!! Yes, I know, quite a few people have objected to Nargis, for some reason she didn't bother me as much as she bothered others. But it's entirely possible my attention was completely consumed by Ranbir in this one. ;)
And oh, how I agree with you on all the little things in it! Truly a well-made film, one that expects the audience to use both their brains and their hearts while watching. I hope Imtiaz Ali stays in this business forever, we can never have too many intelligent directors around! :)

(I have to say this again: YAAAY!!! You liked it!!!! :))

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