Here’s why I think Rockstar is gaining so much momentum, raking in the moolah and most importantly generating conversations. Both the title of the film and the director is trending on Twitter since the date of its release.
But here’s why:
1. Junglee Jawani: there is a subtle narrative around the entire plot of a young, chauffer driven Kashmiri girl wanting to see a Hindi porn film in the porn-fested gullies of Delhi. It speaks of freedom. It speaks of challenging the status quo. And that really in more ways than one ignites and triggers her relationship with the hero.
So what’s new you may ask? Well, showing that today’s Indian woman has the freedom to opt for a sexual fantasy is bold and fearless. She might be the coy dulhan later on but even then, during the build up to her marriage and later on in ‘Parag’ (read Prague) she embraces the slightest chance of freedom. They even threw in a Harley Davidson – a tool of freedom.
2. The rockstar that never was: India never really produced any ‘rockstar’ in the conventional sense of the term. This is bewildering considering that this country has had a wonderful history of producing music maestros – some have even become living legends (case in point AR Rahman). The rockstar narrative feeds off a country’s dormant desire to produce a ‘desi’ rockstar. And to know if this works, listen in on any of the college canteens – the youth love it!
3. Rebel: RK is a rebel without a cause. His intensity gets you, his madness is nauseating at times but you cannot turn away from him. He is the guy next door who has made it big. The film opens with his merchandise being sold like jalebis in Old Delhi – he is a rebel that we want to be, not particularly for any cause, but just angry at the state of the nation, at the state of being, at the state of everything around us!
Very early in the film, RK sits in the canteen and wonders why he got slapped by cops for singing at a bus stop. He never retaliates then, but perhaps does later with what he becomes, what he stands for and that really is the underlying reason for his popularity with the crowds.
4. Love is changing: the idea of Love is no longer the territory that Yash Chopra had so firmly etched during his days. Today it is perfectly alright to fall in love and then be at it, even if the woman has been claimed by another guy. The essence however remains unchanged – poignantly captured by Ali when Nargis innocently demans a hug. And love really makes her miraculously improve when she is bed ridden for 3 weeks. That kind of idealization goes down well with us – for we are all creatures of love, wanting love in the ‘time of cholera’.
5. Religion works, communalism doesn’t: Kun Faya Kun arguably is one of the best Sufi songs of the decade. Nizammudin dargah has been captured beautifully, and if you believe in God, those scenes, intricately woven with the music, is bound to leave you mesmerized – at one with Him. Ali also smartly weaves in the power of the Unknown in the film. The dargah really is the place where RK finds himself – it is his moment of truth. The song reverberates the same: when there was nothingness all around, You were there, That which is in me, That which is in You. (God and devotee become One).
Also, Ali beautifully showcases how a Jaat boy can find himself in a Dargah (an Islamic site of worship) – this is India in the way it was dreamt, where religions coexist in beautiful tranquility. Take this as a slap on the communal elements who try to disrupt the peace of this country.
These are some of the reasons why I believe the film is generating conversations – some are lauding the efforts, some are ripping it apart, some are tripping on AR’s magical numbers, some have found their anthem (Sadaa Haq)…at a time when this country is grappling to deal with corruption and coming to terms with some of the biggest scandals India has ever seen, Imityaz Ali has gone ahead and created a love story of a rebel without a cause – an endearing love story…