Imtiaz Ali – One man, many emotions! His first film with Ranbir Kapoor – Rockstar completes 8 years today. Over the years, the movie has earned the cult status for a certain section of the audience. Imtiaz’s most ambitious (and ambiguous) work to date has things he had hoped for us to notice. But, most of us, failed him in this. Watching the film for the 30th-odd number of times, I took around 12 hours to complete it and noticed things only a handful of us might have.
Some of them are too ambitious to be true, but if you’re here that means you’re a fan of Rockstar and might connect with it. It starts with Rumi’s quote – “Pata hai? Yahaan se bohot door, sahi aur ghalat ke paar ek maidaan hai… Main wahan milunga tujhe.” (Somewhere beyond right and wrong, there is a garden. I will meet you there) – and Imtiaz ends the movie by making Jordan (Ranbir Kapoor) and Heer (Nargis Fakhri) meet in a garden.
Post Nadaan Parinde, we see a montage that shows the story of Rockstar in a couple of minutes. Stamped under Kavita Subramaniam’s Tum Ko, the finale montage starts with showing the cheerful moments of Jordan & Heer’s life. But as it proceeds, we see Heer going away from Jordan (two times, same as the film) and it ends with “Kahin se kahin ko bewajah chale, pooche bina kisi se hum mile” (From here to there, let’s go somewhere without any reason, without asking anyone) & they are together in THE field.
Once you’re done reading this article, it’s a request to watch the film once more and try joining my dots. Imtiaz starts the story by showing how Jordan is this celebrated rockstar, who is worshipped by his fans as they kiss his painting on the ground and wear his customised accessories. In the immediate next scene, we see Jordan getting beaten up by some people and that’s where you know your lead. He sits on the bus, and Anil Mehta’s camera goes on the floor to capture the messed-up Jordan looking at his glorified mammoth poster on the building. This lays the base of how Jordan is looking up to himself, avoiding to realise what has he become.
We all love the introduction scene and how it’s connected in the end, but how many of you have read the concert’s name in which Jordan performs Nadaan Parinde? It’s called ‘Wings On Fire’. The ‘Parinda’ (bird) addressed every time in the film is Jordan himself, and it is his wings on fire.
The song Nadaan Parinde is in a way a request to the song Phir Se Udd Chala. As Heer gets married, Jordan through Phir Se Ud Chala says, “Kisi Manzar Par Main Ruka Nahin, Kabhi Khud Se Bhi Main Mila Nahin, Yeh Gila Toh Hai Main Khafa Nahi” (I’ve never housed any destination, have never met myself, it’s a regret for which I don’t complain). But when everything’s over, with Nadaan Parinde he says to himself, “Kaate Chahe Jitna, Paro Se Hawaon Ko Khud Se Naa Bach Paayega Tu, Tod Aasmano Ko, Phook De Jahaano Ko Khud Ko Chhupa Naa Payega Tu, O Nadaan Parinde Ghar Aaja!” (No matter how much you try to tear the sky through your wings, you’ll not be able to save yourself. No matter how much you destroy the world, you’ll not be able to hide from yourself. Come home, you naive bird.” For a fraction of second, there’s an Eagle in Phir Se Ud Chala, which also is there for the entire time in Nadaan Parinde. Join the dots.
By now we know how every song is a different character in itself but each of them speaks themselves. Each song has a story to tell which Imtiaz doesn’t want to portray with the dialogues. When Jordan hears about the opportunity to go to Prague after Heer gets married, the tune of Phir Se Ud Chala starts playing indicating that the injured bird is ready to fly again. In Kun Faya Kun, Jordan finds the solace. Haawa Haawa acts as a prelude to Aur Ho – “Rani Phir Nau Do Gyaraah, Raatein Toh Iske Aadi, Ik Din Mein Joote Baarah” & (Rani) Heer flees away from her house during Aur Ho meeting (mating) with Jordan.
If we go deep, there’s a line in Kun Faya Kun which directly relates with Haawa Haawa. “O Mujhpe Karam Sarkar Tera, Arz Tujhe, Karde Mujhe, Mujhse Hi Riha” (Lord, help me relieving myself from me) from Kun Faya Kun relates to “Aazadi De De Mujhe, Mere Khuda… Le Le Tu Daulat, Aur Kar De Riha,” (Lord, relieve me, take all my wealth and let me go). In Sadda Haq, when Jordan talks about the chopped jungle and asks, “Main un parindo ko dhoond raha hoon, kisi ne dekha hai unhe?” (I am looking for that flock of birds, have you seen them?) – he is talking about Janardhan & Heer. THINK!
Imtiaz Ali & Ranbir Kapoor’s Tamasha has Rockstar’s easter egg and I am today years old when I realised this. When Jordan meets Heer in Prague and before they share the kiss, Heer says, “Point aa gaya hai, rukne wala” (Our exit-point is here, where we’ll have to stop). In Tamasha, Deepika Padukone in the ‘line cross’ scene says, “Line bahut nazdeek aa rahi hai” (The line, where we’ve to stop, is coming closer).
The climax proved Ustad Jameel Khan’s (Shammi Kapoor) saying, “Yeh bada janwar hai ye aapke chote pinjre me nahi samayega, ye apni duniya banayega,” (He isn’t your usual caged bird, he will fly away and carve his way). Jordan, while hitting the policemen in the end, shows how he can’t be captured, has messed everything up for himself & doesn’t even care about it because he has nothing left.
In a scene where Ranbir Kapoor’s Jordan reunites with Nargis Fakhri’s Heer after all the drama at her Prague’s house, he says “Guitar jaisi hai tu,” (You’re like a Guitar) and by the end in Nadaan Parinde song, he sees a Guitar burning indicating the end of Heer. She was suffering from Bone Marrow Aplasia and died because she got pregnant with Jordan. This indicates how Heer got better because of Jordan and passed away also (partially) because of him. She was his music, but he was her disease – and both lived forever.