Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Abhishek Kapoor|
|Produced by||Farhan Akhtar
|Editing by||Deepa Bhatia|
|Distributed by||Excel Entertainment
Reliance Big Pictures
|Release dates||August 29, 2008|
|Running time||145 minutes|
|Box office||38 crore|
Rock On !! is a 2008 Indian rock musical film written and directed by Abhishek Kapoor, produced by Farhan Akhtar, and with music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. The film marks the successful Bollywood debut of Farhan Akhtar and Prachi Desai.
Arjun Rampal, Farhan Akhtar, Luke Kenny, and Purab Kohli star as members of the Mumbai-based grunge rock band, "Magik" (formed in 1998) who reunite in 2008. The winner of seven Filmfare awards, Rock On was critically acclaimed but had an average performance at the box office. The cast of Rock On was featured on the cover of the September 2008 issue of Rolling Stone (India). Its screenplay has also been added to the Academy Film Archive.
Rock On begins in Mumbai, with the rock band Magik in 1998. Joseph (Joe) Mascarhenas (Arjun Rampal) is the lead guitarist who feels he has to prove his worth as a musician. Aditya Shroff (Farhan Akhtar) is the lead singer who rebelled against his well to-do family to play music. Rob Nancy (Luke Kenny) and Kedar Zaveri or KD/"Killer Drummer" (Purab Kohli) comprise the remainder of the band. They are in their early twenties, young, wild and carefree, and only want to succeed in the music business. After a competition is announced by Channel V, they decide to enter, as the winner will be offered an album and one music video.
While they win the competition, they must make a number of compromises when signing the contract. This creates tension within the band. Joe feels the most slighted, as his song is not included to make space for a random remix song. In addition, his girlfriend, Debbie (Shahana Goswami), an aspiring fashion designer, is rejected as the band's stylist. Later, when the cameramen focus only on Aditya during the filming of the music video, Joe becomes furious and lashes out at Aditya before leaving with Debbie. Aditya, who had failed to notice anything was amiss, is shocked and decides to leave as well, breaking up with his girlfriend Tania (Nicolette Bird). "Magik" thus disbands and its members, once the closest of friends, become estranged from each other.
Ten years later, the four meet again through a series of coincidences. Aditya is now a high-powered executive with an investment banking firm. He has become cold and disconnected, angry at life. His wife Sakshi (Prachi Desai) feels hurt and confused by his behavior. Hoping to make him happy, she decides to plan a party for his birthday. K.D., who now works for his father's jewelry business, overhears Sakshi talking about Aditya and wonders if it is his now estranged friend. He introduces himself and leaves his name with her. Sakshi later conveys the meeting to Aditya who denies knowing K.D. When Sakshi finds a box filled with Magik's photos, she realizes Aditya was lying and invites K.D. to the birthday party, telling him she wants to reunite Aditya with the band.
K.D. meets up with Rob, who now makes a living composing jingles for advertisements, and they go together to invite Joe. Joe is largely unemployed, with an eight-year-old son. The family is largely supported by Debbie, whom he has married. Debbie still holds a grudge against the band for what she perceives as their ill-treatment of Joe, and discourages Joe from staying in touch with them. K.D. and Rob thus attend the party without Joe, and Aditya is shocked to see them. Angered by their presence, he later chastises Sakshi for trying to get involved. She retorts by telling him that he never lets her in, and that all she wanted was to see him happy, especially now that they are having a child. She leaves, saying she needs some time to think. Sakshi's friend, Devika (Koel Purie), advises Aditya to stop running away from his past, so he decides to meet with his ex-bandmates, including Joe. He reconciles with Joe and the band finally gets back together. They start practicing regularly. Learning about this, Sakshi returns home.
Channel V announces another contest, and at Rob's insistence, the band enters. Debbie, who is adamant that Joe get a regular job, arranges a guitar-playing job for him on a cruise-line, but the ship is to set sail on the same day as the contest. When it is discovered that Rob is dying of a brain tumour and his last wish is to perform with Magik, Joe's choice becomes difficult. Debbie insists that he go for the job, especially as their financial situation is so bad and they have a son to bring up. The contest is aired on the radio, and while Joe is in the taxi on the way to the airport, he hears Magik play the song he wrote for Debbie 10 years ago, and dedicate it to him. This prompts him to leave the taxi and go to the concert. On seeing him, the band is overjoyed and immediately perform another song.
This is Magik's last performance together. The epilogue reveals that Rob died two months after that performance. Sakshi gives birth to a baby boy, whom they name "Rob" as a memorial to their friend. Devika is dating K.D., who starts a record company with Joe. Debbie quits her job in the fishing business and becomes a successful stylist. The band members and their families meet every weekend.
- Arjun Rampal as Joseph Mascarenhas (Joe)
- Farhan Akhtar as Aditya Shroff
- Purab Kohli as KD
- Luke Kenny as Rob
- Prachi Desai as Sakshi Shroff
- Shahana Goswami as Debbie Mascarenhas
- Koel Puri as Devika
- Dalip Tahil as Bajaj
- Reema Kagti
- Suraj Jagan
- Monica Dogra as herself (Shaair)
- Nicolette Bird as Tanya
- Anu Malik as himself
- Jameel Khan
- Jonathan Horovitz as Travel Writer
Despite critical acclaim, the film only grossed 38 crore domestically; Box Office India labeled it as an "average grosser". Overseas it was moderately well received.
Rock On was well received by a number of critics. Subhash K. Jha gave Rock On a rave review. He states: "Seldom has a film blended the music of life into the fabric of a film with such seamless expertise. Rock On!! is that rarity where every component character and episode falls into place with fluent virility." Nikhat Kazmi of the Times of India gave it four stars and argued, "if you really want to see how Bollywood has matured and come of age, then here's the perfect litmus test. For Rock On is a film that not only breaks new ground in terms of its subject matter — now when has desi movielore ever tackled something akin to Hollywood's That Thing You Do — it creates a whole new EQ (emotional quotient) for mainstream cinema." Khalid Mohamed, of the Hindustan Times gave the film three and a half out of four stars and describes it as "hard candy." He also states that "the performances are of the highest order". Manish Gajjar of the BBC gave Rock On!! four out of five stars and describes it as "an enthralling watch, with entertaining moments to make you smile. Predicted to be a cult movie for many years to come, it truly deserves the Bollywood awards this year! A must-see whether you are a rock fan or not!" Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave Rock On!! four out of five stars and states: "Put your hands together for one of the finest films of our times. Put your hands together for a director who pulls off a challenging subject with élan. Put your hands together for the actors who pitch in superlative performances." Kaveree Bamzai of India Today called Rock On "refreshing" and "surprisingly quiet and thoughtful."
Other critics gave the film mixed reviews. Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN gave the film three out of five stars and states: "With Rock On, director Abhishek Kapoor promises a true-blue band film, but ultimately delivers a masala Hindi film that just happens to be about a band [...] Yet, Rock On is rescued by some marvelous moments that stay with you until the end."
After the success of Rock On, a sequel was announced but has not yet begun production. As of early 2010, director Abhishek Kapoor had no concrete plans for the sequel. However, he has confirmed that he plans to make a sequel to Rock On. Arjun Rampal and Farhan Akhtar are returning for the sequel since they have been keen on starting the sequel since 2008. The film is yet to begin production. As of February 2013, the writers confirm Prachi Desai and Shahana Goswami to be the part of sequel too. A fresh female face would also be introduced. The film will be based on male-bonding. The music will be composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, with lyrics by Javed Akhtar.
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- "After Heroes, it's Rock On to make it to the Oscar Library". Screenindia.com. 2008-11-26. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
- "Subhash K Jha speaks about Rock On!!". Bollywoodhungama.com. 2008-09-01. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
- Nikhat Kazmi, Aug 29, 2008, 09.49pm IST (2008-08-29). "Rock On!! review: Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
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- "Rock On!! review". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
- "Ear Candy—Rock On!!". Indiatoday.intoday.in. 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
- "Rock On!! review: CNN-IBN". Ibnlive.in.com. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
- "Rock On!! 2 has to wait, it’s The 3 Mistakes of My Life for now" Hindustan Times. March 16, 2010.
- Rock On!! Awards