‘Rock on’ is a demonstration of how westernised director Farhan Akhtar is. Yet he has managed to keep in touch with the Indianness within- a perfect blend of east and west .
He plays a brooding ex-rock singer who has given it up after something bad that happened in the past, something that normal people would not allow to change their lives. But he is a sensitive soul who cannot forget it and that is real enough at least to me-for creative people have the license to be sensitive souls. His wife (Prachi Desai) lives in Mumbai trying to keep the relationship alive because they have son together, but Farhan has left Mumbai for the far away state of Meghalaya in the north east of India. He builds a business in Meghalaya, but typically like creative people he fails to be practical and does not sell his produce to the powers-that-be in this part of India where people are not exactly fully respectful of the law. And those people burn up his holdings and destroy the lives of those who work under him. His own life is saved by Shraddha Kapoor .
Left with no choice, Farhan comes back to Mumbai to reunite with his old rock band buddies Purab Kohli and Arjun Rampal. Rampal is now the owner of a nightclub and is most successful financially. But their lives are set on a rebound course when they are again confronted with Shraddha Kapoor in Mumbai and they discover that she is deeply connected with the tragic happenings of the past; happenings that had veered Farhan off course away from Rock music and away from Mumbai to Meghalaya.
However, Purab Kohli sees this as an opportunity to reignite their life’s passion- Rock music, what else. With Arjun Rampal willing to not only co operate but also to pour money into the enterprise, they are on course to have a rock concert in Meghalaya whose proceedings will financially help those people whose lives were destroyed by goons in the fire there. But the youth that is required to put life into this old rock band is Shraddha and will she be able to get rid of the ghosts of the past to become a rock star? More importantly, will the lawless powers-that-be of Meghalaya allow this rock concert to happen?
The movie has some good photography of Meghalaya to obviously promote it as a tourist destination—wide lakes and green forests and tall mountains and deep valleys. It looks all nice during the day but I have experience of living in remote areas and believe me it is scary to live in such remote outposts at night. And while the tranquillity of streams of crystal clear water and the idea of being alone with lush greenery all around is enticing, the north east of India also has rebels in these isolated parts.
Amazingly however, the capital city of Meghalaya (Shillong) is also the capital of Rock music in India. And it is rock music that is the heart of the film and also obviously it is in the heart of director cum lead actor Farhan Akhtar. The movie does do justice to it’s title by belting out some decent foot tapping numbers. The songs are like Farhan himself—a blend of east and west.
Acting is okay by everyone without being special. The movie meanders for quite some time in the middle but it does give an emotionally uplifting and rousing climax—a climax that ends with the high of Rock music what else.
Two and a half stars