Movie Review – Rockstar (2011)

Year of Release: 2011

Stars: Ranbir Kapoor, Nargis Fakhri

Verdict: 3/5

Star, Yes; Rock, Not so much!

This, in a nutshell, is what Rockstar actually is. It is an out and out Ranbir Kapoor’s movie; his finest yet. The movie isn’t that much about the journey of a rock sensation than about his tragic love story.

The first half starts with our awkwardly cute Jaat, Janardhan Jaakhad (JJ). His typical antics and accented dialogues will surely elicit a good laugh out of you and make you adore him. Janardhan is fascinated with music and dreams of becoming a huge Rock icon on the lines of Jim Morrison. The only issue being that he doesn’t have the right ‘attitude’ one needs to become that kind of a star. Steps in our friendly college canteen owner. Talk about a better guy suited to teach the right attitude to a wannabe rock star. He tells him that in order to become what he wants to become he needs to undergo pain, a common thread that binds all the great artists. So JJ comes up with the idea of pursuing a Stephens hottie who is sure to reject him thus giving him ample pain and suffering to become a successful artist.

Enter Nargis Fakhri a.k.a. Heer. After initially ‘burger-ing’ JJ off, she finally decides to see Junglee Jawani with him. Rockstar has thus given hope to tons of Jaats and roadside romeos that if a guy as uncouth and uncool as JJ can score a ‘hot & cool’ Heer, then even they can try; and it can be safely assumed that they will.

Thus unfolds the same story about a girl wanting to unleash her inner demons and live her life fully before she gets married to some perfectly handsome and decent guy. The only thing that sets this oft-repeated story apart from others is its treatment, dialogues, breathtaking locales  and of course Ranbir’s portrayal of JJ. Leaving Nargis‘ “brilliant” acting aside for a moment, all this makes the first half really enjoyable and engrossing.

So armed with popcorns et al, we return with high expectations for the 2nd half. And our expectations fall to the ground with a thud! Or more appropriately fall in slow motion towards the ground with a thuuuddd…because the 2nd half just drags and drags and drags a little more.

In the latter part of the movie we are treated with our lead pair reuniting, rekindling their romance and finally the tragedy that ensues.

The movie spoils in the 2nd half what it set up to deliver in the 1st half. It could’ve been much better had it been a little more short and crisp and with a little more of rock than tragic romantic drama. Ranbir has shown his acting prowess which is evident even when he’s lip synching to the melodious voice of Mohit Chauhan. AR Rahman’s music as always is a class apart. JJ’s boss’ comic timing is good. Aditi Rao is wasted in the movie, seems like she is content being the ‘forever kissing’  lass.

The only thing that really really spoils the movie is Nargis Fakhri. She cannot act for nuts and is forever shouting in the movie and personally, she literally irritated the hell out of me. She seems awkward with her dialogue delivery as well as with her enactment of Heer. Katrina Kaif has given hope to all the ‘gori mems’ but then you need a little bit of inner talent to go with that outer beauty. Thankfully Ranbir has carried the movie through.

It goes without saying that Imtiaz Ali has not been able to repeat the magic he created with Jab We Met. Well there’s always next time. But despite all the loopholes, it is a good movie that has come in a really long time and seems like a masterpiece when compared to some of the recent movies like Bodyguard,, Rascals, Singham…well you get my drift there…

A pleasant watch after quite a while.


  • IMDB Rating – 7.6/10
  • When Imtiaz Ali was putting together the script for his film Rockstar, he knew that the music will be an integral part of the film. He wanted a rock music score which was not  copy of Western Rock but stuck to the basic principles of rock and originated from our land. Imtiaz wanted the music to be organic to the character and yet have a universal appeal that could go beyond the boundaries of our land. Hence, the only name that came to Imtiaz’s mind to score the music was none other than A. R. Rahman.
  • When A. R. Rahman met Imtiaz Ali for the first time, he had not seen any of Imtaiz’s earlier films. Later Rahman watched Love Aaj Kal and really liked the film.
  • Nargis Fakhri was put under house arrest by director Imtiaz Ali to retain the mystery surrounding her as a part of the film’s promotion.
  • The song ‘Faya kun’ was shot in the Nizamuddin Dargah, New Delhi over 4 days and the shooting used to take place between 11pm to 10am, to not cause any inconvenience to visitors.
  • Director Imtiaz Ali, who loved Kareena Kapoor’s performance in his Jab We Met wanted to cast her in Rockstar. However, the script in Rockstar required some romantic scenes between the romantic leads. As Ranbir and Kareena happened to be cousins, this would have been a problem. She was replaced by Nargis Fakhri.
  • When Imtiaz Ali decided to get A. R. Rahman on board for the music, a lot of people warned him that he does not give the tracks on time. But Imtiaz Ali was very surprised when he got all the tracks much before time. Imtaiz wanted 9 songs for the film and eventually he got 14 tracks which are on the audio CD and around 6 extra pieces which are in the film.
  • Ranbir Kapoor plays Janardhan, a Jat boy in ‘Rockstar’ and to get into the skin of the character, Ranbir along with Imtiaz Ali actually went down to Punjab  and stayed with a Jat family to learn their mannerisms, gestures and how they interacted with their families.
  • For the song, ‘Sheher mein’, AR Rahman was asked to compose a mediocre number, probably a first for him as this track is an average music video, that Ranbir is forced to sing in the movie. The music maestro, Rahman took longer than an average song to come up with this ‘mediocre’ number.
  • For the song ‘Naadan Parinde’ , Ranbir tried different looks and almost 2 dozen wigs.
  • The film was shot in reverse as the crew didn’t want to break the continuity of Ranbir Kapoor‘s hairstyle. So the climax with long hair was shot first.
  • In the film Rockstar, Ranbir Kapoor who plays the character of Jordon, had to learn to play guitar. Ranbir spent several nights at A. R. Rahman’s studio learning how to play the guitar so that he could enact the role of Jordan playing the guitar convincingly and had better ownership of the music while shooting on stage for the film and didn’t had to pretend to play the music.
  • Ranbir Kapoor shared the screen with his grand-uncle Shammi Kapoor for the first and last time in the movie, which will also be Shammi Kapoor’s last appearance on the silver screen.
  • The film was to be launched in 2006 with John Abraham, and was to be produced by UTV. Rockstar was meant to be Imtiaz’s second venture after his directorial debut Socha Na Tha. However, logistics failed to work and the project was immediately shelved. In the interim Jab We Met happened, and after multiple attempts, Imtiaz decided to revive Rockstar with Ashtavinayak. Before signing on Ranbir, Saif was in consideration for the movie owing to his known talent of playing the guitar and performing live with his band ‘Parikrama’.
  • To make his character look more convincing, Ranbir Kapoor, who plays a ‘Rockstar’ in the film, took  guitar classes two month before the film started. He  made sure that he was present at the recording of all the eight tracks of the film and also used to focus on the guitar and the chords that A.R Rahman would play.

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