Sunday, December 27, 2009

Rocket not quite a cracker

Had gone to see "Rocket Singh" some time back. Despite the relatively low-key promotions, had some solid expectations from this movie since it was directed by Shimit Amin of "Chak de India" fame. I already knew that this was not going to be some typical Bollywood (chiffon sarees, running around trees, loud histrionics) type of movie. In fact it was one of those slice of ife types that have increasingly found afvour with the multiplex audience.

"Rocket Singh" is the story of Harpreet Singh Bedi (Ranbir), who has just completed his graduation and dreams of being in the field of 'S-A-L-E-S'. His very practical realisation of his shortcomings, both academic and financial, make him view Sales as the apt profession for him. Here, he reckons, he can get big by relying only on his "akal". To this end, he joins a computer sales firm (AYS) as an intern and begins to slowly assimilate the tricks of the trade. Tragedy strikes when he complains about bribery in the system and finds his new career summarily at an end. He is just allowed to serve his notice period before being kicked out. During this time, he faces the wrath and ridcule of his colleagues, their jibes often taking the form of paper rockets that are flown at him.

While he attempts to come to terms with the rude blow that his honesty has rewarded him with, he finds that assembling computers and selling them is something that he can do without the help of his company. So he begins parallel business by recruiting dissatisfied employees of AYS and launches 'Rocket Sales Corporation' by making them not employees but "partners". His aim is to ostensibly gain happy customers by charging them a bare minimum margin and providing irrestible service guarantees. He thus uses the resources of his employers to further his own profits. He does have pangs of guilt but these he resolves by deciding to eventually pay back AYS for the resources he has used.

And here lies my basic problem with the movie. Clearly, the audience is supposed to sympathise with the hero. Feel sorry for his banishment from Sales heaven, rejoice in his new found success and turn a blind eye to the fact that he is not honest enough to use illegal means for his venture. It seemed confused to me. When Harpreet does his business almost exploiting the company he works for and making a sizeable dent in their bottomline, is it okay? Because his employer Puri (played with much drama by Manish Chaudhury) is such an archetypal 'bad guy'? Do the ends justify the means? I would have been happier had he actually set up his business and succeeded without resorting to underhanded methods, no matter how good his intentions.

The climax is of course when they are caught out and lose the Rcoket Sales to AYS in an out of court settlement. However at the end, we are made to understand it is the people who run the business that matter which is why Puri has a change of heart and returns Rocket Sales to Harpreet, being unable to live up to the high standards he has set. This is a false, filmy note in an otherwise reality based movie. Showing Harpreet building another successful business with his sales skills after the disbandment would have been better than getting his business back on a silver platter to him and with an insufferable lecture from Puri.

The most commendable part of the movie was the talent of its character actors. Gauhar Khan as Koena the tough talking, trashily dressed recptionist with a heart of gold was a revelation. Naveen Kaushik as Nitin Rathore, Harpreet's manager does a good job too but seems too 'inspired' by Raghu of MTV Roadies fame. D Santosh as Reddy clicks with audience and is entertaining as the porn loving IT guy. Manish Chaudhury I thought was someone who needed more restraint. Ranbir's love interest is Shazahn Padamsee, who sadly lacks screen presence and is reduced to just a PYT.
Ranbir is very good as Harpreet - he delivers just as he is expected to and more. Watch out for the scene where he s being insulted bu Puri and fighting to keep his temper in check. The smouldering expression in his eyes does all the talking. He is also one of the few star actors who doen't let his presence dominate the story. The story takes its own course with Ranbir most believable as the earnest, simpleton Sardar.

The music of the movie is mainly restricted to background scores and whetever there is of it is effective.

Overall however, "Rocket Singh" left me with a mild dissatifaction - a feeling of how much better it could have been. The movie feels like a bit of an anti-climax and as such would rate it only a 6/10. Watchable but not exceptional.