Thursday, December 3, 2015

Rock Star (2015)

Director: V K Prakash
Writers:   Rajashree Balram, Vivek Ranjit
Cast:       Siddgarth Menon, Eva Pavithran, Anumol, Mukundan
Language: Malayalam

Siddharth Menon plays the role of a lead singer of the band 'On the Rocks' and Eva Pavithran plays the role of an independent woman/feminist. Both of them are not fans of commitment and relationships. They have a one-night-stand which leads to an unintended pregnancy and the film basically follows what happens after that.

Writer of the film, Rajashree Balram, is known for her association with Femina magazine and there is really a feminist angle to the film. The leading lady does not look like a film star, which is really a welcome change, and the issue of having children outside marriage is dealt with in a middle-ground progressive manner. I was reminded very much of last year's 'Obvious Child' (IMDB) which also had a similar plot-line. Both these films have an unexpected pregnancy from a one night stand as the central theme and the basic difference between the two is the nature in which the fate of the child is decided. In USA, the word abortion is a taboo subject and is rarely dealt with in films or TV because of the hue and cry associated with it from the Republicans. Obvious Child broke the mould by addressing it in a matter of fact fashion. In Rock Star, they address the pregnancy in a typical Indian fashion with the male lead being uncomfortable with not taking responsibility for it while the leading lady is weary of him starting to influence her life.

So, while the plot and the intention of those behind the camera is well worth applauding, same cannot be said about execution. Script is clunky and the inexperience of the two leads do get in the way many times during the film. Siddharth Menon (lead singer of the band  'Thaikkudam Bridge') is making his debut as an actor and it is supposedly a comeback role for Eva Pavithran, having acted in some films. It is decent enough effort from both of them but they are not very consistent in terms of their performance. It is partly to do with script and also, it seems, the film was completed in a very fast fashion by VKP. He is a director who churns out plenty of films which can go either way in terms of quality. The only two films of his that I have watched completely are 'Trivandrum Lodge', which was very good and 'Beautiful', which was a decent film. Come to think of it, he also did Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla and that was also quite good. He came to feature films with an advertising background and is someone who is closely associated with the so-called 'New-Generation' movement of Malayalam cinema, which can also basically mean films that you will be uncomfortable to watch with your family. Rock Star is a film that could have been very good if made in a more ambitious manner with an established cast but I am not sure whether he could have attracted them to the project in the first place. As it stands, it is a watchable film that looks amateurish in many places but one should certainly applaud them for dealing with such a subject matter. Films does look much better when more established actors share the screen with the leads. I don't know whether there was a conscious effort from the makers to do it in a gender-neutral manner, but it was a let-down to see a gay character being used in a stereotypical manner for comedy relief. It just proved to be utterly cringe-worthy and totally out of place and not in sync with the rest of the film.    

To sum up, it is a decent enough watch if you are willing to forgive a lot of things that arise out of inexperience of its leads. It is a small-budget film anyway. Choice of Siddharth Menon could be due to his marketing potential as his band is quite popular here (I am not a fan). The film does start in a rather terrible manner but improves during its running time with it reaching its high-point exactly at the interval point. There are plenty of laughs just before the interval and it does meander after that. The ending can be easily predicted from half-way through. Couple of songs in it sounded good while others were forgettable. Another film that I was reminded of was 'Knocked Up'. 

Rating: 2/5

PS: National Anthem Status- I went to a Carnival owned screen where they play national anthem prior to the screening. There were about 20 people in total and around half of them stood up for it. I didn't.

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