No, I’m not going to write a review of the movie as there are hundreds of them out there to read. But as my life is almost entirely entrenched in the movie, I thought it would be fun to give you an idea as to how I felt while I watched the movie; how realistic the movie actually was. Here are the good parts of the movie which are so true that they brought a deja vu feeling to me.
- The struggling amateur band with talent and a lot of hope: there are hundreds of them all over India. Most give up soon and end up taking up jobs like the band mates in the movie.
- The monetary crunch: Every musician artist goes through this in India, I believe. Well, not if you are a Bindra of course. The movie truthfully depicts the budget that we look at and the bankruptcy that such bands face.
- The exhilaration of performing on stage: This is unbelievably true. Every rocker wants to play his instrument. But to play live to an audience cheering us on and to act cool on stage is a feeling on it’s own.
- The reality show: The competitions are fiercely fought and everyone will remain nervous. Since we happen to win a competition like the one shown in the movie, I will tell you that we felt jublilant at winning that. I still remember coming back home and smooching Vinokur and breaking the good news!
- The ‘lost’ feeling in other jobs: This is very truthfully represented although at times, it is a little exaggerated. Purab Kohli’s character typifies it.
- The record label: Even though we have been fortunate in this aspect, most record labels tie down the bands with creative restrictions. This is something that all artists hate!
- Bollywood songs and other stuff: Seriously, none of us like singing ‘Dekha hai pehli baar, saajan ke aankhon mein pyaar’ on dandia beats. We might like the songs but we would like to perform something original people. Ironically, the college crowds will never ever want to hear originals. They would always root for a cover of a Bollywood (trash) hit or a Paki-rock song.
- The mediocre music quality in bollywood: I respect Anu Malik for the role he plays. It is very truthful to the state in the music industry where creativity and ingenuity are forsaken for commercial success.
- The pressure from family: That is very true. Most families would disagree to let their son/daughter chase their dreams in something as wild as rock.
- Misunderstandings and ego clashes: Another very true aspect of being a rocker. Our egos are usually quite big and we all have very creative ideas. It’s easy to arrive at a disagreement and easier to get into an argument or a fight.
As in any movie from Bollywood, there were a few thoughtless scenes and concepts which would remain myths if someone like me would not care to explain. So here goes...
- The jamming pad for the average Indian Rocker: In the movie, the band called Magik rehearses at their jamming pad – the spacious, vacant, unused basement of a building which the band gets to use for free. This is by the far the farthest fetched thing in the movie. It is impossible to get any space for jamming, that too free. Only rich, rich bastards can afford to jam in such luxury – rich bastards such as Farhan in the latter half of the movie. In reality, we get cramped up rooms with an exorbitant charge and the slots are very hard to find.
- The bass guitarist: The major glaring error in the movie and it’s story line is that the band doesn’t have a bass guitarist, probably the most elemental part of a rock band. A few would presume that I’m blowing my own trumpet. I’m a bass guitar player alright, but that is not why I state so. Ask any rock musician and they would swear by this claim. The drummer and the bass guitarist really form the background for any rock band. The thing which is even worse is that despite lacking the bassy, there are two guitarists in the band. If there was no bassy, one of them should take up the bass guitar and complete the band. For reference, the only major band which didn’t have the bassy is ‘The Doors’. But I’m sure they would have used bassists in their live performances.
- The awe-inspiring rock shows: There is the footage of a Rock On concert at the CST (Chatrapathi Shivaji Terminus - railways) in the movie. It is fantastic to watch that. But believe me, such things don’t exist. I still remember the troubles that Farhad Wadia, the man who conducts I-Rock, had to face for setting up the show at the Gateway of India two years back. Despite getting all such permissions, the police denied permission to stage the event an hour before it was scheduled to start and finally the event had to be postponed by about a month! So, such shows are just figments of imaginations. And even in a show which is held in an arena, the public response that you see in the movie is simply overrated. Nobody jumps for every beat of any song. In reality either nobody, or a very few dance when the songs are being belted out live.
- The bad vibes between the bands: When we go for a concert/competition, there is nothing like pushing and shoving happening backstage! In fact, we get to be friends with the other bands and members and at least I do my best to cheer for them if I find them nice or their music nice. I don’t hide my appreciation for anybody else’s music even if it were a direct competition to us. So, we end up being friends with competitors and often have fun being with them.
- To get out of traffic jam and walk right into a show: This was by far the stupidest part of the movie. You simply can’t do that. To perform at a concert with any level of professionalism, there is something called a sound-check – this is where you plug in our instruments and set the mixing and levels before the show. Once it is set, when we come on stage the guy at the sound will set the levels according to the sound-check. In the movie, Arjun Rampal walks right into the concert with his guitar and starts playing. This simply doesn’t happen and if you try to do it, the results are usually horrible and pathetic.