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I feel guilty for not posting this earlier given how badly the film needed publicity, good at that. But as Meera would say, “Batter letter than nah were”. I saw Rocket Singh a fortnight ago, and most of this review is from what I can recollect.
The absolute first point : much much thanks to Shimit Amin for bringing back D. Santosh from oblivion. D. Santosh, the actor who played Rajguru in the marvelous The Legend of Bhagat Singh, was the thing for me in this movie. When I saw him in TLOBS, I thought he was Marathi in real-life. I saw this movie, and I can swear he is a South Indian. The guy is bloody brilliant, especially in comic roles. Forget the cliched comic timings and delivery, the guy can elicit laughs with just facial expressions. More power to him.
Now the movie.
Bollywood and restrain have never gone together, so movies like Rocket Singh are noteworthy, coming from the Yashraj camp. From the writing stage to the execution, restrain is maintained. Two scenes are representative of this maturity : first, when Harpreet Bedi (Ranbir Kapoor) checks his results and reacts to it — it is not frustration, he doesn’t seek pity, no strong background music; it is just matter-of-factly done. The second, in the climax scene where he is working in a retail outlet and has the final confrontation with his ex-boss. He wins back pretty much everything, but at the end of the scene, there is no celebration. He continues with his work and the scene ends with a slow fade out. This isn’t out-of-the-world writing; this is just one of the basics of writing — consistency of character. But I can see so many writers who would mess such simple things so easily in the flow.
And that is Rocket Singh’s strength. The simplicity of the lead character drives the entire movie, the dialogues and execution — all the while keeping things consistent.
Well, almost. The climax is a debatable topic. I thought about the climax and couldn’t think of a better way to end the story, that would also provide closure to the audience. I was even tempted to think the climax was alright, because the rest of the movie was well made. But if I’m honest to myself, I should say the climax is a let down.
That doesn’t affect the quality of Rocket Singh as a whole. It is a delightful watch, and Yashraj must be commended for backing the story. Shimit Amin and Jaideep Sahni are proven talents, and with every passing movie, Shimit Amin continues to hold his script in the highest esteem : a great sign for mainstream cinema.
The acting : I covered D. Santosh, it is always nice to see good actors getting appropriate roles. Gauhar Khan, Prem Chopra, Naveen Kaushik and Manish Chaudhari are all apt, something we can expect of Shimit Amin’s casting. Shazahn Padamsee does pretty well in her role for her first movie.
Then — of course — there is Ranbir Kapoor. The guy evidently can do no wrong. Give him any role, and he’ll dish out a wonderful performance. Here the role was superb, and he takes it that much higher. I get a feeling that I’ve said the same things about Ranbir in past reviews, but I can’t help it. He just doesn’t give any reason to complain !
I have high hopes from Ranbir — a mainstream actor with good brains can do so much more for Hindi cinema than independent filmmakers with their niche audience. The other hopefuls are the Akhtar siblings — Zoya and Farhan — but they are just different in the same format. In a way, Ranbir Kapoor is the counterpart to Abhay Deol — on the mainstream side.
If you haven’t seen Rocket Singh yet, please do.