Our mainstream cinemas always stayed good. Make us feel good. Asking us to follow a path that this society rates to be good.
But you know what? All the shining idealism showcased on the screen is just the distant dream that many secretly desire for. The characters go from rags to riches, falling in love to the so-called ‘Happily ever after’ before the end credits start rolling. ‘Aal izz well’, That is what must be fitted to the climax. And it is, Always.
All-in-all, any script or character stays adhered to the norms set by this society, a place where you would be rewarded for staying in its order and punished for a regress of the set line. They say we had turned more civilized and the society is developing, or in other words, it is only that we mend ourselves to stay in the line and turn complacent.
When you talk about such complexities on the screen, it is easy to identify these with love stories. They had highly deviated from a story where the man had given up his dream girl as in ‘Devdas’ to a pursuit of generating a parental consent as in DDLJ. Million more tales of Love, and the audience never care to get bored with them. I always feel amazed at this phenomenon what drives them to spare few hours, and if possible, few tears, for these love stories.
A scene where protagonists sees each other to fall head over heels with each other in love, Love-at-first-sight, few friends and riveting circumstances that drive the story through a twisted path, a heroic effort to set everything perfect and few savior moments to the couple’s rescue and stay ‘Happily-ever-after’. Voila! There you have, a ‘Wanted’ Love story.
Walk out of the screen, and you’ll meet the ever raging ‘Realism’. There are no super heroes. No ‘Universe-to-conspire’ moments. A reality that you are used to, where you struggle against to meet the standards of society which instill a ‘Respect’ with your name.
It takes a great deal of expertise to execute a script that will ditch this idealistic shows, yet make the audience settle in a convincing fashion and Imtiaz Ali pulled it out perfectly. And he named it ‘Rockstar’, a film that Indian cinema screen definitely missed in ages.
Janardhan. The name might sound boring, so does he feel. He’s comfortably cocooned in the nest of his family until he thinks something was wrong with himself as there was nothing that went wrong with him! He was just a ‘Halka aadmi’ as his mentor calls him. ‘Pain’ was a stranger entity to him.
Jordan, as rechristened by his lady-love Heer, is inarticulate in expressing himself with anything but only through music. He joins Heer, who wants to have her last blast of merry life before she gets her knot tied, flying down to Prague and gives up his audition he is in due with Platinum records and here he was in Kashmir. With the girl with whom liked to spend his time with.
He’s in Kashmir when he is supposed chase his dreams of turning to a ‘Rockstar’. He’s in Prague reviving the old happy moments the couple shared as friends when he is actually there for the recordings. And he was at her house breaching all the security, just to bid her a goodbye when he is due to fly back to India that night. It’s about being where he isn’t supposed to be, doing what he isn’t supposed to. The forbidden.
He never had his intentions settled and that’s how the screenplay of the movie. The scenes oscillated on critical random points after unveiling as a jigsaw puzzle until Heer surrenders to him at Prague, The flow simply complemented the mind-set of the protagonist. Wonderfully done.
The beauty of Jordan is his free-flowing thought. He wasn’t able to jam into someone else’s composition (Sheher). He candidly admits he couldn’t understand the sense of Shehnai or classical music with an iconic veteran. He felt that was rigid and structured. Perhaps, that’s how an artist can put up his case of why he had chosen his art.
He never wanted the system or the rules to mess with his pursuit to get his woman. The moment when he breaks into her house and that’s where he set his motive against the rules he is supposed to adhere with. A point where his muse for music turns into the passion as a ‘Rockstar’.
Yes, ‘Rockstar’ was always about the freedom. About the choice. It wasn’t about the clichés like drugs, booze or sex as most of them perceive it. The rock music was a rage against the system, the society. His angst grew day by day. He was just standing there and singing to escape from his pain. Sadly, his emotions no longer private. He screamed through his art. Music. He had earned all the fame in the world, yet drenched in loneliness. Only to remain craving for one woman who he wished was there with him. That only meant he was searching for something that’s long-lost and there’s nothing more ironic in this world than a man chasing something that was long gone.
“Mein galath hoon toh phir kaun sahi?”
There were no savior moments for him. There was a chance when he was with Heer when she was back at home for her treatment from her mysterious illness. The cause wasn’t a mystery. She was infected by Jordan’s presence in her life. Being with him seemed to be cure, at least we were made to believe that. But I’m glad Imtiaz Ali decided to pull the plug here. The cure was beyond the touches. She had to depart out of this world ultimately, leaving Jordan in solitude. He was left with nothing but his music.
The most interesting thing is how story had been woven to make us feel that Jordan arrives at the position which he desired to be at according to his revelations in the beginning of the story without seeming to take his steps intentionally because he wanted to be there. He just make us feel that he was there when he had lost. Lost in god when he was at the Nizamuddin dargah. Lost in love when he was told by Heer that she doesn’t want to see him anymore in her life.
He felt amused while sharing the fact with his friends that Jim Morrison was able to show up the finger. He too did it later. But not because he dreamed to do it. He was pushed into the circumstances that had ultimately landed him at what he had aspired. What he had dreamed. But the only inspiration stood to be his pain and separation set by the society. His transformation had been complete, only being aware of why he is there, but not how he made it there.
Ranbir Kapoor’s lifetime performance, Imtiaz Ali’s masterful story-teller abilities, Mohit Chauhan’s powerful vocals, Irshad Kamil’s sagacious lyrics, Anil Mehta’s wonderful cinematography and many other talents worked behind the screen to churn out this compelling soulful rock opera.
You only get chances to judge the actor by what award he received. Not the other way. On an exceptional note, Ranbir enabled you to do that not just for this time, but again through ‘Barfee’. Go, judge them.
Yes, I’m totally aware that I missed out the legendary music composer’s name in that list. Who could be a better choice for a film which is screaming for the best of music right in its title, other than Rahman? I can’t praise him enough to justify the fact that this album is on my top-played songs list till date. It will remain forever. Atleast ‘Kun Faaya Kun’, for I do not know what does even a single word mean but had got that element of divinity instilled on me just through music. Religions never count when you start to appreciate art.
Rarely do you come across a film where the songs form an indispensable part of the story. When every lyric makes sense. Why did we lose this habit of listening to the lyric and soaking in the meaning when they can explain how the characters felt and the rationale behind them? And the placements of the songs were as meaningful as the placement of words in the lyrics. They can make a film to purely seem to be a poetry in motion.
On other note, I just can’t give up appreciating the kind of pattern Imtiaz Ali had displayed over his last 3 movies. It was about the point where the lead couple realizes the love for each other. It strikes just before when the girl is about to get married in ‘Jab We Met’. Right after she gets married in ‘Love Aaj Kal’. And here, it happens about two years after she had been married. Not sure if he had deliberately followed this outline throughout his movies, but that’s just brilliant!
In the end, It all sums up to merely to just one ordinary line that had been told post two third of the movie, “Main Sirf Tere Saath Hi Set Hoon, Yaar.” This is how Imtiaz Ali can swiftly trickle down a million emotions in a compelling fashion.
Thank you for making this film and I’m glad someone had the guts to showcase the ambiguity that prevailed for a fim-maker. In other words, he did show his finger to this system.
Mann bole ke ras mein jeenay ka harjaana duniya dushman
Sab begaana inhe aag lagaana
Mann bole mann bole, mann se jeena ya marr jaana..