Saturday, December 26, 2009

Rocket Singh

It's refreshing to see a Bollywood film that breaks the stereotype and goes for something new. And if that something is not a love story but instead a slice and dice of real life, what more can you expect? Enter Rocket Singh, my second most favourite movie of 2009 after the eternal masterpiece Dev.D. (I haven't yet seen 3 Idiots yet....)

This is a simple story about a young graduate who enters the cutthroat sales and marketing industry of personal computers. He soon finds out that it's not a perfect life out there where you go in the morning, do your job honestly, get your paycheck, come home, watch TV, have dinner and go to sleep. Clearly, honesty has little prominence here where sales means more about pushing the product and less about service. Forget after-sales service. A chance encounter with a corrupt customer who insists on a cut for procuring a large computer order for his company forces our young Rocket (Ranbir Kapoor) to look inwards and embark on a tough, yet spirited journey to lay his ground rules and play the game his way. Go and watch if he succeeds in his mission.

Rocket Singh is a terrific film that tells us a practical story. In a country like India, where the sales person- and never the customer- is the King, you'll identify with Rocket if you're a customer, you'll also identify with him if you're into marketing or sales of a corporate. Extra smart (and mighty arrogant SOBs) bosses that shower their staff with the choicest of abuses- not just in private but shamelessly in front of the entire department- and push them to the wall, unachievable sales targets, crook managers that demand a cut of the cheque of which he is responsible to procure the best quality products for the firm that pays him salary (legally) to struggles and sometimes humiliation that honest people have to face in a competitive dog-eat-dog world, Rocket Singh has it all.

The film is not preachy. It's fast paced and crisp and there are no songs to interrupt the narrative. The background score is ideal and the story unfolds in a way its believable. I didn't quite like the climax; I kinda felt it was stretched and a little too idealistic, but it never ceases to be an inspiration, so these are minor quirks in an otherwise good script. Supporting performances, especially from D. Santosh- the porn-surfing, computer maintenance guy- to Gauhar Khan- the fiery receptionist- are great. Ranbir Kapoor has clearly emerged as one of Indian commercial cinema's finest actors. He plays his part sincerely and turns in one of 2009's finest, yet subdued, performance. From showing his angst to his grandfather who breaks his own provident fund to buy him a scooter he detests, to being shocked and awed when his boss turns the tables on him despite having done nothing wrong, to going about his own business, Kapoor brings dollops of dignity and lends a soul to make Harpreet Singh Bedi (the character he portrays) a likable sardar and never ones makes it a caricature like some of his industry counterparts have done over the years. You could say this performance is a slap on the face of all those sardar jokes that have been internet favourites.

You should go and watch Rocket Singh.

K-Rate: * * * * * 

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