Friday, December 11, 2009

Rocket Singh review

This Rocket scales some heights

Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Gauhar Khan, Shazahn Padamsee, Navin Kaushik, D Santosh and Prem Chopra
Director: Shimit Amin
Rating: ***

In the age of multiplex films, where all kinds of subjects are being attempted, it's a surprise that not too many have really explored an office scenerio in any great detail. On that count, Yash Raj's latest, Rocket Singh feels instantly fresh. Also, much like he did with Chak De! India and his debut Ab Tak Chappan, Shimit Amin introduces several new actors. In fact, except Ranbir Kapoor and Prem Chopra who plays his grandfather, almost everyone in the film is a fresh face. This lends believability to the setting, and also takes away the staleness that could have easily crept in with a familiar looking star cast.

Harpreet Singh Bedi (Ranbir Kapoor), after scraping through his graduation, applies for a sales job. He joins a company that sells computers. Harpreet is struck by the chaotic, ultra competitive nature of the organisation. His immediate boss, Nitin (Navin Kaushik), is high handed, arrogant and unscrupulous. Equally condescending is the company's owner, Puri. Harpreet is considered naïve to the point of being an absolute duffer when he reports about one of their clients taking bribe. He is insulted by his bosses, but allowed to finish his training period. The rest of the film is about how Harpreet secretly runs an alternative company staying within his office, along with five other colleagues.

The film's basic premise is very similar to Jaideep Sahni's earlier Dibankar Banerjee directed film Khosla Ka Ghosla - a delightful satire on Delhi inhabitants. The good people con the bad ones, beating them at their own game. Khosla..., with its ironic wit and distinct flavour, was more colourful and sharper. It was also funnier and shorter. Rocket Singh has darker undertones and is more serious. Even gets a little preachy at points.

Also it is unusually long-winding for a film of this kind. It attempts a Munnabhai of sorts, in presenting the cut-throat world of customer sales and related fraudulent practices. And how human empathy is lost. Someone in the film nicely puts it, “Customer ko toh marna hi hai. Customer word mein hi 'mar' hai”. Harpreet rejects all that is disingenuous, dishonest and mechanical about the profession of selling, and attracts customers with his genuine desire to give them the best possible service. His vision is simplistic, but Shimit Amin goes along with it for a long time, believing for most part that goodness stands above all. This gets tedious after a point. Also , Amin is especially conscious of not making any character appear wholly negative, so some justification goes into every action.

There are some other problem areas as well. Since the company that Ranbir works for is into computer sales, there's a lot of technical stuff that gets spoken about in the film. This could be a slight drawback for someone who doesn't know a great deal about it. Also in the course of Ranbir building his secret team, there's a point where he accepts his boss, Nitin into the fold. This seems somewhat forced from the plot's point of view, because the audience always imagines him to be the central cause of Ranbir's distress. Also, a happy ending is eked out from the climax - not altogether convincing.

But there are plenty of plusses too. Much like Jaideep's other works, Chak De! India and Aaja Nachle , Rocket Singh's biggest strength lies in the way the characters have been written. From the supercilious bosses, to the saucy and highly competent receptionist (a superb Gauhar Khan), to their unkempt colleague, fixated on porn, the supporting cast really enlivens proceedings . In contrast, Ranbir's character - being the goody-goody one - comes across as a little too bland. It could be Shimit Amin's way of establishing his pure intentions and as a foil to the other characters, but it could just give you the feeling of seeing a one note performance. Nothing to fault Ranbir though, his act is effortless as always.

Like Ranbir's character, the film's heart is in the right place. The tone, like Amin's earlier films, is realisitic with subtle snatches of humour. Not a wholly original or path-breaking story, but a charming, greatly watchable film nevertheless.

-Sandhya Iyer


Anonymous Debojit said...

Found the film highly boring.And repetitive like most Bollywood cliches

December 12, 2009 at 10:04 AM  
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