Beware: There be spoilers!
Ranbir Kapoor’s star power — and make no mistake, the man definitely has it — seems to derive from his ability to project puppy-dog earnestness like nobody else in the business. That we haven’t tired of it yet bodes well for him, but I am eager to see if he can do well in something more serious. A Ramgopal Verma flick, perhaps. Even a bad one will do, and heaven knows RGV comes up with enough of them. Or maybe the upcoming Prakash Jha flick will give him something to do.
Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed Rocket Singh, if only for the fact that it touched upon a pet peeve of mine: the utter and complete disconnect between sales and service in a number of businesses. I enjoyed it in the same way that I enjoyed Aaja Nachle — a small movie that achieves its admittedly small ambitions, never mind the hype machine that inevitably surrounds nearly every movie these days.
Aside: Baradwaj Rangan opines that the story would’ve benefited from a brassier treatment, but I disagree. It is the story of a mild-mannered nice guy who finds his way in a cut-throat world without losing his essence. The tone is an important part of how this message is conveyed.
While there are a number of scenes that endear themselves through their simplicity (the moment where Ranbir asks Shazahn out on a date ends on a note of perfect logic), the one that stood out for me is one that comes right at the end, where the titular character has a quiet conversation with his ex-boss and nemesis. It is a beautifully scripted conversation, and I enjoyed every word of it. There is a moment towards the end when the older man dispenses sage advice — that stretch of dialogue is as good as any I’ve heard in recent times.
But what really worked for me is how that scene ends. When the ex-boss walks away, leaving Ranbir holding a document that means the world to him, you half-expect him to jump, yell, break into a jig, or do something that fits the stereotype of victorious heroes in the movies. But no, he spends a moment looking at it, then tucks it into his back pocket and gets back to work. And you realize that this feels right, because this is the sort of guy he is.