Rock On – Movie Review

Some old photographs in a box – forgotten friends and dreams – a compromised life – success without happiness – a chance meeting with an old friend and nothing to talk – picking up the pieces of an unfinished story – that’s Rock on.

Many of us have gone through such feelings, when we have lost our most dear friends because of reasons beyond our understanding. When we pick up old photographs of those lost friends and find them meaningless and meaningful at the same time. What a time it was!! Did all that happened in this birth? Somehow, that is where this movie connects. Infact, that is why movies like Jaane tu and Dil Chahta Hai connected. All of us saw ourselves right there on the screen.

Rock On is a story of four friends who create a rock band called Magik. Aditya Shroff is the lead vocalist (played by Farhan Akhtar) who pens down unconventional poetry and give the band a unique voice. Joe is the lead guitarist (played by Arjun Rampal) who is very idealistic and does not believe in compromising with his principles or music. He is talented but does not know how to do the lobbying. Kedar Zaveri or K.D. is the drummer (played by Purab Kohli) who is the sole successor of a family of jewelers but prefers his drums to the suffocating family business. He is the joker of the gang and the most lively character in the movie. Rob is the keyboard player (played by Luke Kenny) who is the most level headed member of the band, someone you can rely upon to resolve the problems in minutes.

Everything was going fine and the band won the Channel V contract for an Album when the Band disintegrated and the success story died before its inception. The four of them went their own ways forgetting each other and leading a life which they never wanted to lead till Aditya’s wife (played by Prachi Desai) meets Kedar by chance ten years later and then comes across some long forgotten photographs of her husband’s life about which she was completely unaware. And thus starts the uphill task of the band’s reunion.

Rock on does not have the flamboyance of Dil Chahta Hai but is more grounded in reality. It does not reaches the standards set by DCH but is very believable in its own way. Yes, you can draw parallels but then you can do that with 99% of the movies in Bollywood. The movie works at many levels. The strings of your heart will be stirred.

The movie does not belong to a single actor. All the four lead actors never leave the skin of their roles. Arjun Rampal shows a maturity which was unexpected while Farhan is able to bring out the subtle difference in his character during the ten year span even though this is his first movie as an actor. Although he is the most successful of the four members of his band after the split, he is still angry about the way his life has turned up and it shows in his strained relationship with his wife. Prachi is the surprise package of the movie. She acts like a seasoned actress and it does not look at all that this is her first film. The scene in which she tells Aditya that she is pregnant is her best. Shabana Goswami Koel Purie as Joe’s wife is also perfect in her role of a frustrated woman who has to give up her dreams to run the business of her failed husband.

On the negative side, the movie picks up pace in the second half and does not have much of a comic dose which seems to be quite essential for the Indian audience(specially since they are lapping up crude movies with 15 over the top comic sequences). Also the movie trudges too close to the abyss of a typical Bollywood movie towards the end and it is on the verge of loosing its unique identity.

The music composed by Shankar Ehsaan Loy is very apt and suits the mood of the movie like a glove. And the concert at the end of the movie will want you to get up and dance. A good story, crazy music, well etched roles and good acting. What else do we want?

Directed by – Abhishek Kapoor

RatingΒ  – 3.5/5

51 comments on “Rock On – Movie Review

  1. The story reminds me of a band from bangalore called Phenom. They were amazing. They gave their last performance during our school fest and have been out since then. Two of them went to USA to pursue higher education and one of them got married and all that.

    Summer of ’69 !!

    I want to watch this movie so badly!! 😦 😦
    I love the song “Socha Hai” !!

    I heard someone dies?!!!

    Who?? Spill the beans!!

  2. While I appreciate the review, I would like to correct on you on one point. It was not Koel Purie who played the role of Joe’s wife and it was in fact Shahana Goswami. Koel Purie played the role of devika, Sakshi’s wife.

  3. Rock On was good, yes. I thought everyone was good in the roles they played. I was actually surprised that Farhan Akhtar could act. I thought he’d overdo it but he didn’t. The guitar playing and singing also was fairly convincing. All in all, it was worth the money. The music, I feel, is absolutely brilliant. Right from Socha Hai to Tum Ho Toh. I loved the way they handled the aspect of the lead singer getting all the publicity. That always happens in bands. Funny how everybody wants to be the lead singer in their own hypothetical bands. I loved Purab Kohli. I loved him in the first avatar. He looked every bit a rockstar and he played the drums in a very very convincing fashion. He must’ve worked on that a lot. Anyway, do you remember the song he sings in that Channel V party where Farhan Akhtar meets his ex again? What’s the name of that song?

    The only thing I didn’t like was the way they handled a couple of songs, especially Yeh Tumhari Meri Baatein. They showed the band having fun but I would have preferred that part with the dialogues instead of the song playing in the background.

  4. @Reema : No. I won’t say its similar to that movie. The only similarity is that both the movies are about Rock bands. The similarity ends there. Yes, you can give it a shot. It’s at least a one time watch.

    @Priya : Yup. So many bands vanish like that. Yes, someone dies and I won’t tell. πŸ˜› Go and watch the movie for that. πŸ˜›

    @Tara : Thank you so much for correcting the mistake. πŸ™‚ And welcome to the blog. πŸ™‚

    @Ish : Haan. Even I was surprised by Farhan. He was good. He reminds me so much of one of my old friend with whom I am not in touch from a long time…Anyways, I really loved the way Arjun and Purab played their instruments. Very convincing.
    And that song, I don’t think it is in the album. Even I can’t remember it. 😦 Know what, I listened to the songs for the first time in the movie. Personally, I liked the soft songs better. And the concert at the end was amazing too.

  5. Man… because of ur reviews, I am keeping lot of movies in my Must watch list but not able to see even one because of the working hours. Not even able to touch my laptop atleast for 4 days in a week 😦 When ever time is there, I am prefering to sleep rather than to do any other activity.

  6. Shabana or Sahana Goswami? I keep reading different names. Did not bother to check on that anywhere… Anyways what I heard from few friends who saw it already that she was awesome. I am catching this late night show today. I am quite keen of it now though I feel Farhan would be a good actor than a singer. He can certainly act but cannot create the hysteria few newcomers (Imran, Neil, Ranbir et al) have created in recent past. But he is without any doubt a good director ( I wonder why he did not direct this himself)

  7. This does sound interesting and apart from all the other drab that bollywood churns up! I think I’m almost convinced… I should watch this movie today! πŸ˜€

  8. Rock on is one of the best movies I have seen this year. Guess I am a huge fan of rock music. This is all Hard Rock, which people of my generation grew up listening. There was no indian pop or indian rock during our time.
    I am in fact in the midst of writing a review but probably won’t get time to finish it today. 😦 but will try by tonight.

    Nice review amit.

  9. @Priya : No No No No!!!! It would be unfair to give spoilers here. πŸ˜›

    @Vijaya Bharat : Leave the project if you want a normal life. You are wasting your life.

    @Smallstar : So go ahead!!! πŸ˜€ Same to you. *hug* πŸ™‚

    @Oxy : Its Sahana. πŸ™‚ Yes, Farhan acts well. There were no over the top theatrics. And I don’t think he is interested in creating any sort of hysteria. He has already done that as a director. But do tell us how it was. πŸ™‚

    @Nikhil : Yeah its different. Do watch it. πŸ™‚

    @Nita : Yes, it is one of the best movies this year. And I saw it on the IMAX wide screen. πŸ™‚ Loved it. Music was good. There was a sort of madness in it. Although I relate Rock music to screaming, but I liked what I heard. πŸ™‚ And Thanks. πŸ™‚

  10. Saw the movie yesterday and I fully agree with your review. 1st was a bit slow but the 2nd half makes it up.

    Though I have always liked Prachi Desai, I wasn’t expecting much from her and she did surprise. In fact each and every performance is worth a word of appreciation.

    Farhan Akhtar looks good πŸ˜€

    And yes I did love the Rock concert in the end πŸ™‚ it was so well shot na….

    The movie deserves applauds for being different & giving us a new premise to look at. A complete urban movie for sure πŸ™‚

  11. Rock On is a movie worth watching ..the amzing cinematography would really want you to bring out a rockstar in you.. its just about doing wht you really wanna do in life & not to give up on it come wht may..if at all u try something else other than tht always wnna keep comin back to it… live ur dream has been conveyed without a doubt… Keep Rocking. Even after reading this u still sitting thr.. c’mon move ur bum ..go watch it on the big screen.. ROCK ON!!

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  13. ROCK ON!! is the story of four friends [Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal, Purab Kohli, Luke Kenny] who put together the greatest band this country has ever seen, Magic, but never make it. Years later, fate conspires to bring them together again and set them on a journey back to where they left off… a soul-searching pilgrimage into their past.

    ROCK ON!! is not just about music. It’s about relationships & FRIENDSHIPS.


  14. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music is perfect. It’s completely in sync with the mood of the film. Connoisseurs of music have already showered the music with rave reviews and rightly so! Jason West’s cinematography is fantastic.

    so ROCK ON DUDE !!

  15. Rock on really rocks!!! The movie and the incidents around the characters have been craftly woven. And the two newcomers Prachi And Farhan have acted like a seasoned one. The rock band and the concerts really made my mind go back to college days when we used to enjoy Bands like Parikrama, Zero, Big Bang in Ahmedabad. and ya i must say something about Arjun Rampal. Guys and especially Gals he looks like a Rockstar in the Movie. The last song which he sings really sets the stage on fire.And the viewers can feel the heat. Music is perfect and while writing this Blog am listening to Meri Laundry ka ek bill.Lol!!

  16. @Smita : If this movie works, which seems quite possible, then it would add a new color to the Indian Cinema. Yes, the concert at the end was very good.

    @Hussain : Welcome and thanks for that enthusiastic comment. Yes, its worth watching on the big screen.

    @Red Soul : Thanks and Welcome!!! I will visit your blog too. Just give me some time.

    @Smallstar : Oh! I hope all is fine now.

    @Dinesh : Yes its about a Rock Band but there is no other similarity. Its definitely worth a watch.

    @Sandeep : Yes Indeed!!

    @Parag : The music sets the mood of the movie. It would have been an incomplete movie without this kind of a music.

    @Arvind : 😐 You know, its still playing in theatres.

    @Liju : Please refer to my reply to Arvind. πŸ˜›

    @Asim : Welcome to my blog. Such movies are always derived from a part of our own lives. That is why we can identify with them.

    @Mayur : Thanks and Welcome. Yes it was an emotional movie at one level.

    @Pr3rna : Thank you.

    @Ravi Sagar : Thanks. Do watch it.

  17. i saw this movie last sunday,n im jus mesmerized by the characters and the acting.this movie tells how the realities of life,a bit of ego mixed with anger ruins the dreams,n how u repent those unfulfilled dreams dont ever let ur mind be in peace.such a practical movie.gosh!now i can say bollwood is practical.i loved it.can u people help me,plz let me know the song purab kohli KD jigs in channel v party.plz.

  18. I watched Rock On yesterday (August 31st) and did not like the movie so much. I would rate it 6 out of 10, marginally above average at the best given that recent releases such as Ugly and Pagli, Bachna Ae Haseeno, Singh is Kinng and God Tussi Great Ho set such a low bar.

    New age directors are following a new formula – which is make a pseudo real looking movie with so called everyday characters – but the heart of such movies still remains hollow. For Rock On, the director has fallen into such a trap. I found the movie very predictable and at times over the top with too much philosophy to digest. I guess not every movie can be a la Tare Zameen Par which was simple, straight and hard hitting.

    So that’s my 2 cents. My overall recommendation is to wait for the DVD to come out and use the ticket movie for something more worthwhile.


  19. Saw it yesterday and it just rocks!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ awesome movie and the music is even better! The last concert music was sooooo good that i had to hold myself back so that i don’t get up and dance!!! A must watch! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ and that too in a theater

  20. @Param : Hi and Welcome! Even I don’t know which song was that. 😦 Good that you liked the movie. πŸ™‚

    @Boston NRI : Thanks for you comment. πŸ™‚ To each his own. I am very sure there will be many people who won’t like the movie. πŸ™‚

    @Smallstar : Great. πŸ™‚

    @Liju : Oops! Got it. Wise decision. πŸ™‚

    @Sakhi : Glad that you liked it. πŸ™‚

    @Bikash : Thanks. πŸ™‚ Go ahead. πŸ™‚

    @Gaurav Surgavanshi : Yes, flaws are there. I agree. But it was way above the trash we are served nowadays. πŸ™‚

  21. WELL DONE magic,

    it’s ia a really nice movie, in this tye of movie presentation is so important and Abhishek do his awesome job. In this movie all charater do his good job. and director focus on every one too.

    Movie looks like a real story nothing is forced that is the good part of the movie.

    in this movie we can find the intelligent cinema which is the specialty of this decade, a story comes from real life and the way of presentation is very good that’s why people like it.


  22. After reading your review i took the brave decision of trying to endure this one, and i can say that i was moved to tears….of relief…when it was over!
    First of all …the concept itself ..four rockers getting together for one last concert because they owe it to themselves……could you get any more cliched

    the so called great music, lyrics like “laundry ka ticket”…it was an assault on the senses and proves that indian film makers today think can get away with anything. and correct me if i am wrong but did the last number have some thing to do with “sindbad the sailor”, for heavens sake…

    dialogue…cliched cliched cliched

    acting…. i dont understand why these so called “actors” who get paid so much cannot spend some money to get acting classes i mean …atleast make an effort. the performances of the entire cast are so wooden that its makes want to wish that i was a termite. the only one of the cast who could emote was Joe’s wife. Farhan Akhter needs a voice over as his voice sounds croaky.

    over all ;a two hour forty minute ordeal.

  23. @Atipriya : Hain???? Ok. Now go and watch it. πŸ™‚

    @Poonam : Thanks. πŸ™‚ And good that you liked it. πŸ™‚

    @Raveesh : Welcome! I am glad that you liked the movie. πŸ™‚

    @Mindbenz : Well…I don’t think so. “Standards” is a very vague word. We all have our different definitions of standards. πŸ™‚

    @Aditya : To each his own. πŸ™‚ I am never surprised when someone does not like a movie. We have different brains and we perceive different things differently. πŸ™‚

  24. @Amit : Quoting from my comment in response to your comment (on my website).

    True (about the timing & no other big releases). It’s just a little bit better than the other films that we’ve seen recently.

    I also feel that over the years we, as audience, have lowered our standards and so have a lot of film makers. At the same time, we have seen some β€˜really good’ movies off late. Taare Zameen Par, Jaane Tu & Mumbai Meri Jaan to name a few. BUT, I see a widening gap here. A lot of really bad movies and a few really good movies.

    However, one thing we MUST acknowledge and that is, β€˜good enough’ is not enough!

  25. Rock on is an amazing piece of cinema and has the probabilties of achieving cult status..head and shoulders above the trashy stuff which is being shown these days.

  26. @Gaurav : I agree with you that Bollywood is not giving its best but we also cannot throw away the fact that now filmmakers are experimenting much more.
    And there are some movies which are not liked by some people. That’s why I said that we all have different definitions of “good”. You will find people who don’t like Hum Aapke hain kaun and DDLJ.

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