Director: Imtiaz Ali

Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Nargis Fakhri, Kumud Mishra

Indian Express rating:**

Here it is, the new film of the new Bollywood boy wonder. And true to type, the actor is better than the film. 'Rockstar' disappoints; Ranbir doesn't.

Brash Jat fellow Janardan (Kapoor), who's dubbed Jordan by his flirty-but-not-quite girl-friend Heer (Fakhri) , wants to be like his idol, Jim Morrison. To which end, he is to be found sitting in various Delhi University campus spots, strumming a guitar. Humming ballads, and stalking girls with an exaggerated drop of the jaw, is not exactly a rockstar's thing. But let's not get picky, okay? A 'rockstar' is what you call a person who is aces in his field, okay?

Only when he's experienced true love, the pain and the pleasure of it, will he be able to sing with feeling, says a middle-aged gent (Mishra) with blinding originality, with whom Janardan/ Jordan hangs out a lot. Therefore, J goes off to H, and 'proposes her' in good, if laboured Jatboy style, having of course decided to fall in love with her at first glance. Till about here, say twenty minutes in, 'Rockstar' looks as if there may be something in it, despite the familiar post-teen love tropes that Ali sets up. We're still trying on new girl Fakhri for size, just as her hero is, and keeping an open mind.

But shortly after, the film nosedives. The second half is a mess, as it travels picturesquely but cluelessly from Kashmir to Prague in search of ideas. And it goes on for much too long, as we wait for something better to happen. Nothing of the sort does. Whatever happened to Imtiaz's sure-footedness which made 'Jab We Met' such a breeze ? Shakiness was evident in his next 'Love Aaj Kal'. Here, he seems to have very little idea of how to get his lovers to smoulder despite the liplocks : most of the romance feels constructed, and contrived.

... contd.

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