Friday, December 11

Rocket Singh : Salesman of the Year

 Movie - Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year (Hindi)
Producer - Aditya Chopra
Director - Shimit Amin
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues - Jaideep Sahni
Cast - Ranbir Kapoor, Shazahn Padamsee, Gauhar Khan, D Santosh, Mukesh Bhatt, Prem Chopra, Manish Chaudhary and Naveen Kaushik
Music - Salim/Sulaiman
Cinematography - Vikash Nowlakha Anshum
Editor - Arindam Ghatak
Art Direction - TP Abid
Release Date - 11th December 2009

Yash Raj Films are known for promoting their films flamboyantly and agressively showcasing all the glamour and style quotients of their films. But for this movie, the promotion was completely unlike Yash Raj. All the promos and posters of the movie featured just the lead actor Ranbir Kapoor dressed in formal attire and a turban, presenting himself as a salesman. It requires courage to promote a big budget film from a huge banner on the strength of a 4 film old actor alone. But this time, Yash Raj dared to be different and did the promotion for this movie, exactly how the movie required to be promoted. And if u see the names Shimit Amin and Jaideep Sahni together, you know what to expect because of the earlier venture of this team, called Chak De! India, which was the last good/great film from the Yash Raj stable. One of our most popular critics, Raja Sen, said on Twitter - 'Getting hold of Jaideep Sahni is the single smartest thing Yash Raj Films have done since Silsila.' He is indeed very true as Jaideep is one of the best writers we have in our country at present. He has given us landmark films like Company, Bunty Aur Babli, Khosla Ka Ghosla and Chak De India and an average Aaja Nachle. I have loved all his films so far and when he gets together with a director like Shimit Amin, the expectations go to another level.

Rocket Singh is the story of Harpreet Singh Bedi, a young Sardarji who scores quite a disappointing score in his B.Com exams. He decides to join a company called AYS Computers as a salesman. The company offers sales and services of computers and hardware. Despite a poor interview, Harpreet aka HP, manages to get himself a job as a trainee in the company. But his meeting with his very first client goes terribly wrong when he refuses to accept a bribe offered by the client. (HP was always taught to be 'nice' and truthful and honest, by his dadaji). He does not understand the world of corruption. His bosses humiliate him and ask him to leave the company as soon as he's done with the training period. He is ridiculed by all his colleagues who throw paper rockets at him. But HP doesnt want to give up. He makes up his mind that he should also learn the tricks of the trade. He decides that he should prove to his peers that business can be done with honesty, and still be successful. So HP coaxes 3 of his fellow colleagues into forming a new company, Rocket Sales Corp. The movie follows the series of events after the formation of that company.

Shimit Amin told the story of the underdogs who become the champions in Chak De India. In this movie also, he follows more or less the same theme. But instead of hockey grounds exploding with action, he sets it in the office rooms of a corporate, something which we seldom see in our cinema. The working of an office, the people there, the lives of the salesmen whom any random person would try to avoid, all are there in this movie, with great detail. Jaideep and Shimit take a lot of time to set up the characters including the good-hearted HP (Ranbir Kapoor), his righteous and cute Dadaji (Prem Chopra), his circle of friends, the hot but strong-headed receptionist (Gauhar Khan), the porn-addicted hardware engineer (D Santosh), the chaiwala (Mukesh Bhatt), the super-smart sales supervisor (Naveen Kaushik), HP's cute girlfriend (Shazahn Padamsee) and the cunning boss (Manish Chaudhary). This establishment of characters in the first half moves at a very slow pace and would make the regular audience quite restless. But for those who like well-written cinema, there are lots of amazing lines written by Jaideep that keep coming in the first half. The second half of the movie is super-exciting as it shows a complete transformation of events. The proceedings become much more interesting when more and more characters become part of it. There are two amazingly written scenes where HP and his boss have conversations, both are indeed brilliant. Especially the one taken inside the office. The other conversation towards the end could have gone completely wrong if the movie had some other director. But Shimit handles it extremely well and makes it work big time. The eye for detail is evident throughout the film in each department, from art direction (superb detailing in the atmosphere of the whole office) to cinematography to the dialogues. Each and everyone of these departments have contributed tremendously to the movie.

I have said this before, but I am repeating it again - Ranbir Kapoor is the next superstar!!!! This year certainly belongs to this young lad from the royal family of Hindi Cinema as he has given us three spectacular performances in Wake Up Sid, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani and now Rocket Singh. I am officially a die-hard fan of Ranbir Kapoor from now onwards. He has amazing confidence and screen-presence and he knows where exactly to overplay or underplay. If you see his performance in the last film Ajab Prem and this one, you will know what I'm talking about. I'm sure that he'll be a much bigger star than an SRK or a Salman in no time, and he has an extra edge over them, as he is also a great actor, already getting critical acclaim with just 4 releases so far. He underplays Harpreet Singh effectively. He has prepared very well for this role, including his authentic beard (unlike the stubble Saif Ali Khan grew forLove Aaj Kal) an body language. He makes the honest and lovable Harpreet Singh very memorable through his outstanding performance.

Rocket Singh is not just about Ranbir Kapoor. It has an amazing ensemble cast, each one performing better than the other. Gauhar Khan is great as the receptionist. D Santosh and Mukesh Bhatt bring the humour quotient through some clever scenes. Naveen Kaushik is the find of the film as he plays the sales supervisor effortlessly and delivers a complete performance. Manish Chaudhary as the boss is equally good. Debutante Shazahn Padamsee does not have many scenes. But the screen lights up whenever she appears. Prem Chopra is really good after a long long time. His character's goodness makes one remember Anupam Kher from Khosla Ka Ghosla. I am not explaining the scenes where these people shine as it would take away the fun while watching.

The film hardly has one complete song in the narrative. But the film never required songs. Yash Raj could have easily ruined the film with foreign locations and item songs, bikinis and beaches, but thankfully they dont do all that here. The one song that is there in the film, is shot very well. Salim/Sulaiman's background score is quite okay. Vikash Nowlakha's cinematography is very good and it captures the ambience of the corporate office very well. The movie could have been a lot more crisper in the first half. Art director gets full marks for the detailing in his work. Costumes and make-up are very authentic.

But people who want naach-gaana, maar-dhaad, slapstick comedy and masaledaar scenes alone from cinema, should stay away from this film, as it is totally not their cup of tea. Also make sure you watch this film only if you follow Hindi completely, as you may not get some of the great lines in the film. Otherwise, wait for the DVD to come out with English Subtitles. Those who have a problem  with the movie's pace, should also stay away. I heard many people saying (including a top-critic), that the movie was like a documentary. I feel really sad for them, as they couldnt enjoy such a great film. All these aspects can be counted as flaws or certain characteristics of the film, depending on the way you enjoy the films you see. The people who think these are flaws, please stay away from the film. Dont come back saying bad things about this movie after watching it. The movie retains the Punjabi element though, as the lead character is a Sardarji. But he is indeed the most normal Sardarji to have come out in Hindi films. No jhappi-shappi, no bhangra-shangra and definitely no Hadippa!! :P. Instead, this film gives us a great Punjabi character who is considered a zero by everyone, but he proves by the end that when zero has the heighest value, when it finds its right place.

Summing up, Rocket Singh is a completely feel-good movie which lifts your spirits, even without any obvious fireworks on the screen. The movie remains subtle, sensible, intelligent and witty throughout its length. It also reinforces a movie buff's belief that Shimit Amin and Jaideep Sahni are two of the most talented people in the film industry today. And that Ranbir Kapoor is the future of Hindi Cinema. A special thanks to Aditya Chopra for making a wonderful film very unlike the other stupid/mindless films that keep coming out from his banner. Jaideep continues depicting the life of the middle-class in India with full authenticity in this film also. People have already started calling him as the RK Narayan of our generation. This movie can certainly boast of one of the most well-written scripts in recent times. Watch Rocket Singh for its inherent goodness, watch it for Ranbir, watch it for Jaideep's screenplay and dialogues, watch it for Shimit Amin's direction, watch it for the wonderful ensemble cast and finally, watch it if you love good/intelligent cinema. But I should also say that it is not everyone's cup of tea, and the length could have been much shorter. The makers have taken a huge risk by taking up such a subject and an even bigger risk through the different promotional campaign. But if you are ready to think a little bit, and look within yourself, you will find this movie quite relatable. Did I forget to say 'must-watch'??

Rating  - 4/5

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