September 28, 2008

Rock On!! - Pleasant Surprise

I feel a little weary whenever I go to watch a movie that deals with music, musicians or sound engineering. The same way I guess Doctors feel about any movie that has medicine as a topic or Cops with policework on screen.

Way too often you get actors that bearly manage to hold a guitar the right way (KKHH anyone?) Watching a recording session usually makes me cringe the way any medical staff does when encountering the ominous lonesome blood-bottle indicating a serious medical condition on the screen (actually for that matter - again KKHH anyone?).

Hats off to the makers of Rock On. They - almost - got it right. Whats even more. I don´t think anyone who never had any dealings with garage bands and the decisions everyone connected in whatever way to a band faces when its on the verge of success can appreciate that movie the way I did.

I had so many deja vu moments there. I know, met and worked with a lot of Joes, Aditiyas and KDs. Hell, I am married to one for that matter. So please don´t expect me to write an unbiased review. Still I´d like to give you some of my thoughts on it.

Rock On!! tells the story of the band Magik. Ten years ago the band with its members Joseph (Arjun Rampal) the lead guitarist, Aditiya (Farhan Akhtar) the lead singer, Rob (Luke Kenny) the keyboarder and Killer KD Drummer (Purab Kohli) almost made it. They had great songs, a great chemistry, great girlfriends and a record deal. And then everything fell apart.
Now ten years later they lost any contact to each other. Aditya is as far away from music as a successful stockbroker can be. KD works in his dads jewelry business, Rob is a rather unhappy session musician for Anu Malik (poor guy!) and Joe has to live on the money his wife makes with her fish shop because his music makes him none. When one day a chance meeting offers an opportunity to meet again.

I read quite a few interviews with the cast before I watched Rock On!! I had to smirk when I saw that they made Arjun play the Steve Vai Evo Guitar. Thats a tough act to follow. But they were very clever. Arjun copes pretty well when he is playing slow songs on his Acoustic. On stage and during the solos the either shot him from the back or did a wideshot or the hands of the audience blocks the view. That´s what I call clever filmmaking. Same goes for the other bandmembers. And Farhan´s voice rocks. Literally.

What I really liked about the characters where that the screenplay avoided most of the obvious stereotypes and clichés. The decisions they have to take are very real. (At least to me) And pretty grown up.
I love the way they did the concert scenes. The dynamic is infectious.
It´s a pity that I had to watch the film without subtitles. I got most of what was going on but the finer points in the dialogues were lost to me. But hey, I wanted to buy the DVD anyway. It is the kind of movie to watch more than once. So Excel Entertainment, hurry up and don´t you dare going the Aamir Khan way to release it.

[fangirl mode] One more word about the guys. Boy, does Farhan look yummi under the shower. It makes up more than enough for the little insecurities that still can be found in his acting. And Arjuns long rocker mane is very much to my liking. He is one of the few actors who can carry of a moustache and look genuinely sexy with it. [/fangirl mode]

So what´s left to say is a big recommendation for Rock On!! from the filmifan and the sound engineer/drummers-wife in me.

All pictures copyright

EDIT: since I was asked by mail: The "almost" in "they - almost - got it right" refers to some goofs equipment-wise. The drums KD plays in the 10-years-earlier scenes are Basix drums that were not available back then. Same goes for the Line6 Amp in the rehearsal room. But apart from that I did not stumble upon any obvious errors. And in fact I don´t mind those that I did.

Oh and I can finally live in peace again. For days I wrecked my brain where SEL had earlier used the Guitar-Riff that opens the "Rock On" song. Half an hour it finally clicked. It´s from the Lakshya Background score. Phew!

And one final thing. Watch the crowd at the final concert closely. There might be Cameos.

Back. And for now in Chennai.

The Filmi world has me back again. It has been very still here the past few months. Mainly due to the lack in films I wanted to watch. There just was not much that made me want to spend about 20USD for a DVD.

But now I finally made it to Chennai and today I finally made it to the cinema. YAY!

I started watching again on the flight to India (Jet Airways has a great selection of films from all over India). That way I finally got to see Taare Zameen Par. Which left me underwelmed. It is a good film but growing up in Austria we has tons of "TV movies of the week" that dealt with the same subject or a similar one. They were not executed so nice, I must admit. I guess I am just not the target audience for it. And maybe I was only feeling less then enthusiastic for it due to the big expectations I had. Well still, count me to the very surprised people if TZP makes the Oscar shortlist.

Anyway. I´m back. For good. Watched Rock On!! today at Satyam Cinemas. Plan to catch Drona and Kidnap on next Thursday and Sunday. (I dont have much time to do anything outside work unless it´s sunday or an office holiday)

PS: for those able to read German. I started a Blog about my adventures in India. It´s mainly for friends and family to stay in touch. But you´re very welcome take a look too (got some cool Auto-Riksha vids there) You´ll find it at