Rock On: Natural, yet contrived

Rock OnAs I watched Farhan Akhtar’s acting debut Rock On, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons with Tom Hanks’ That Thing You Do. The plot is pretty similar, the situations too. The good thing is that they are localized well.

Without questioning the authenticity of the situations (for example, if one assumes the group was together 10 years before the current time frame, that would be in 1998… when were there open air concerts at VT station in Mumbai?), one has to look at the story its telling. Which is one of friendship. But the suddenness of the break in friendship is jarring. As is the unquestionable nature of the reunion.

All fine, and I am willing to overlook all these minor issues, but what I don’t like for sure is the way the movie answers every question. In a movie like this, there are some thing best left unsaid.


1. Why did Aditya’s (Farhan Akhtar) ex-girlfriend Tanya have to get married to the lead singer of the band ‘Chakravyuh’ especially after he had been beaten up and antagonised by Joe (Arjun Rampal)?

2. Was it necessary for Rob (Luke Kenny) to die? Very Anand-esque. Very contrived indeed.

3. Why are these guys of 30 years of age singing nursery rhymes and passing them off as Rock? (Sinbad the Sailor? Seriously?)

4. Joe and Rob are poor and more ‘into’ their music. KD (Purab Kohli) and Aditya are able to move away (albeit grudgingly) and get on with life. What is that supposed to mean?

These are some issues I have with the movie. On the whole, though, the movie is enjoyable. Farhan Akhtar can act, but he should be careful of characters he chooses. He doesn’t look particularly versatile. The standout actors from this are Arjun Rampal and Prachi Desai.

Arjun RampalRampal is simply outstanding and the climax song where he walks while playing the guitar is spellbinding. Desai, for a debutante film actress, can hold a screen and plays her part with great aplomb. I would like to see how she evolves as she matures (she’s just 19 right now!).

One issue the movie has overtly attempted to address is that rockers may look like badasses, but they need not necessarily talk the talk. Point in case is the Chakravyuh chap who goes on to become the head at Channel V when Magik come for their second chance. And he’s changed. One argument could be that he’s grown up. Which raises the point whether rockers per se are immature. Are they?

I just wish they hadn’t answered all questions raised through the script. Especially Q1 above.

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