On the sixth anniversary of Imtiaz Ali’s critically acclaimed “Rockstar”, the director today looks back at the romantic drama as having parts which hit you emotionally but is also quite “illogical” at times.
Released after “Socha Na Tha”, “Jab We Met” and “Love Aaj Kal” which were mostly light hearted romantic-comedy films “Rockstar” was in the space of an intense dark love story.
Upon it’s release in 2011, the film, featuring Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis Fakhri, met with divided reactions. Ranbir Kapoor’s acting as a troubled rockstar was appreciated and so was AR Rahman’s music.
Imtiaz answers six questions about the journey of Rockstar which he has not seen in a “long time” from how it landed to Ranbir from John Abraham, a 40-minute song which Rahman composed and what ‘Jordan’ might be doing today after the death of his lover, ‘Heer’.
Excerpts from an interview:
Q) It has been six years since the movie released. What does the film speak to you today?
A) It’s a film, I was most emotionally involved with while in the making. I feel there were certain parts of it which were very clean, very pure. It (the film) has become restless which was not my intention. I also feel there are certain parts of the film that just hit you in the chest.
What I can see very clearly now is that whatever merit might be there in ‘Rockstar’ or whatever you might associate with’Jordan’ doing and getting affected by it none of it seems logical. What I see in the film now, is that there is an absence of logic even in the way the screenplay is written, that is coming from the way ‘Jordan’ is. He is such an illogical person, nothing is cerebral.
Q) ‘Jordan’ has so much angst in him, which is very unlike Imtiaz Ali that we know today. Where did the angst come from?
A) There is friend of mine who said he could associate with the angst of “Rockstar”. He comes from a privileged background, rich family, he is doing well in his life and everything is good. I asked him the same question: where is this angst coming from?
There is no reason for angst in your life, you’re not like ‘Jordan’. He said ‘I don’t know where this is coming from!’ My answer is the same. I don’t know. It’s so illogical.
It’s not as if something happened in my life to give me the angst.
Q) Between ‘Jordan’ and ‘Janardhan’, which came first? Did you think of ‘Jordan’ first and traced his roots to ‘Janardhan’ or did ‘Janardhan’ blossom into ‘Jordan’?
A) The plot came first. The thought that a guy says ‘I want my heart to be broken so I can become a musician’. But what happens with this plot is, the moment someone says this, you already start thinking what kind of guy he must be to say that.
So you know he has to be non cerebral and stupid (person). He has to be ‘uncool’. Though the plot came first, the character was written between the lines of the plot.
Q) So six years later, where do you think ‘Jordan’ is right now as we speak?
A) I think he has moved away from a city (referring to a remote area). He is in a place where no one recognises him and he is not doing music.
Q) But it is tough to imagine ‘Jordan’ without music!
A) Yes but he hates it, because he feels that’s what took ‘Heer’ away from him. He is now showing his anger towards music, rather than through it.
Q) Initially you were supposed to make the film with John Abraham. How did the film come to Ranbir?
A) I was planning to make this film with John long time back… sometime after ‘Socha Na Tha’. But then I made ‘Jab We Met’ and ‘Love Aaj Kal’. The important thing which happened was, I lost the script of ‘Rockstar’. Then I had to re-write it.
“When I re-wrote it, the basic flow was still similar but ‘Jordan’ completely changed. In fact, once when I had met Ranbir he had reminded me of this script. I said I have lost it, I’ll write it from my memory. So because I re-wrote the script, it took a new form.
Q) You once said that AR Rahman had created a 40 minute version of ‘Kun Faya Kun’. What was the story there?
A) He made a track and sent me long time back and then later he said I am sending you more tracks. He basically sent improvisations of music sessions.
There was a ten minute piece which he had already sent before. So, it was improvisations of harmonium and vocals clocking around 30-40 min. We then selected parts we liked from different improvisations and then this track was made.