I am shaken by some of the reviews for Shujaat Saudagar’s Rock On 2, a film I enjoyed thoroughly .
As luck would have it, my enjoyment was not shared by too many fellow-critics . They trashed Rock On 2 as if it was the worst film ever made. Curiously every negative review hammered the same points…That the music was not up to the mark, that an awareness about Meghalaya was falsely generated to create heft in the screenplay, and that the second Rock On lacked the magic of the first(it always does,the encore, if the cynical critics are to be believed, can never equal the original) and that the screenplay lacked an impetus and a momentum.
They all love Usha Uthup and hate Farhan Akhtar. They all think Shardha Kapoor’s nose ring is lucid, and Kumud Mishra’s shawl is ridiculous. That a desperate struggling musician committing suicide because he doesn’t get his idol’s attention is ridiculous.
Look around you. Strugglers with fading hope and starving with dying eyes are everywhere. To put them on screen isn’t manipulative . It is imperative.
Suddenly Farhan can’t sing, can’t act?? Where were you guys for 8 years when Farhandid both and you loved it? The condescending tone of the Rock On 2 reviews acquires a tinge of irony when we consider how much the learned critics(shall we call them the LCs?) have panned the film for using Meghalaya/Shillong as the backdrop.
Superficial, “porn poverty’…really? It’s ok to gallivant all over Bulgaria,Vienna and Budapest for no reason at all except touristic novelty and not okay to shoot in Meghalaya because….wait…you might end up being accused of peddling a social conscience?And just what gives anyone the right to judge a film’s level of social commitment? What is the yardstick?
These were the same learned bunch who went ga–ga over the glossy mediocrity of Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil just two weeks earlier. The pointless shallow romanticism of a film that does not respect the audiences’ intelligence is respected for its lack of socio-political commitment whereas a film that attempts to place its protagonists’ emotions into a socio-political perspective is scoffed at.
Somewhere there is a wide cleft between what audiences want and what filmmakers give. But the chasm that we should really worry about is between cinema and its self appointed custodians who tell us not to see a film because ….well…they are not in the mood.