Rockstars In Bollywood

From a tortured Himesh Reshammiya in Karzzzz to long-haired Salman Khan in Jaan-E-Mann, a look at some unintentionally comic guitar heroes 

From Ranbir Kapoor in Rockstar to Shahid Kapoor in Udta Punjab, Hindi filmmakers have often attempted to chronicle the lives of musicians, most popularly in Rock On!! – the 2008 film about fictional grunge-rock band Magik featuring Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal, Luke Kenny and others. If you thought Magik were the first rockers in Bollywood, you’re wrong. We look back at some of the other fictional instances where rockstars took centre stage.

  • Shakalaka Boom Boom

This 2007 rip-off of Milos Forman’s Amadeus follows AJ (Bobby Deol) and his downfall as he tries to thwart rival music composer/rockstar Reggie’s (Upen Patel) chances of having a successful career by disguising himself as a friend. Written by Anurag Kashyap (the things we do for money!), it was unanimously panned by critics.

John Bonham and John Paul Jones ain’t got nothing on Reggie and AJ

 

girls-dance-around-upen
You may be cool but are you ‘Upen Patel standing in a red room with red guitars painted on the walls and floor while girls gyrate around you’ cool?
And are you really a brooding musician until you've set your room full of instruments on fire?
And are you really a brooding musician until you’ve set your room full of instruments on fire?

Watch the title song, which has easily some of the funniest dance movies I’ve ever seen, here

  • Jashnn: The Music Within

Akash Verma (Adhyayan Suman) wants to be a successful singing star but is going through a rough phase. He lives off his elder sister Nisha (Shahana Goswami) who in order to afford him a decent lifestyle, is mistress to a rich businessman. Things are further complicated for Akash when he finds out that the rich businessman in question is actually the brother of his lover Sara Bajaj (Anjana Sukhani).

Before Sumeet Vyas shot to fame with TVF’s Permanent Roommates, he played Akash’s turntabling, keyboard playing bandmate.

Here you can see Akash having a Kurt Cobain moment. Also, +1 for the RUSH poster on the wall.
Here you can see Akash having a Kurt Cobain moment. Also, +1 for the RUSH poster on the wall.

 

Oh he gets by with a little help from his friends
Oh he gets by with a little help from his friends

 

Watch him struggle to hold a simple G chord and somehow manage to get it wrong every time the camera switches back to him here

  • Karzzzz

In 2008, Satish Kaushik remade the much-loved 1980 thriller starring Rishi Kapoor, Tina Munim, Simi Garewal and others. His choice for lead? Himesh Reshammiya.

What ensued was 2 hours and 20 odd minutes of pure comedy. There’s a modern day Sir Judah who communicates by tapping musical notes onto his electronic arm which his henchman then translates. And Himesh plays rockstar Monty who has visions of his past life while playing high notes on his guitar during a concert one day.

himesh
Because real rockstars don’t hold guitars the way they’re meant to be held

 

himesh
When the doctor says, “Sir ek song please.”

 

himesh
When the guitar strums you
  • Bewafaa

Akshay Kumar plays Raja a.k.a Indian Raja, a man whose love interest is forced to marry her brother-in-law after her sister died delivering twin babies.

Akshay, who sports hilariously dated sideburns and facial hair during most scenes, can also be spotted wearing various stylish crucifixes (because Catholic = musician). You can also see him trying to play it cool as he poses and acts like he’s playing any instrument he can get his hands on.

Those rockstar sideburns though
Those rockstar sideburns though

 

My goatee and violin bring all the girls to the yard/ Step back Niccolo Paganini
My goatee and violin bring all the girls to the yard

Watch the songEk Dilruba Hai” here

  • All The Best

In this Rohit Shetty directed flick, Fardeen Khan plays a struggling musician who lies about being married to his girlfriend in order to collect a monthly pocket money from his wealthy elder step brother (Sanjay Dutt).

His choice of rockstar clothing? Scarves.

I'm not sure if that's the sign of the horns or sign of Spiderman.
I’m not sure if that’s the sign of the horns or sign of Spiderman

 

If that guitar shaped stage isn't rock as hell, I don't know what is
If that guitar shaped stage isn’t rock as hell, I don’t know what is

Watch the song “Dil Kare” here

  • London Dreams

Arjun (Ajay Devgn) is passionate about music and dreams of one day performing at Wembley Stadium. He moves to London with his uncle post his father’s death and forms London Dreams – a rock band with two Pakistani brothers (how antinational of him!). The plot thickens when he brings Mannu (Salman Khan) his childhood friend to London, who joins the band and ends up inadvertently stealing Arjun’s thunder and his girl. There’s drugs, sex, scandals, heartache, breakdows, and an intense moment in which Mannu breaks into the Hanuman Chalisa in between a rock song.

When you’re so rock that you can get British people to break out into synchronized dance steps to a Hindi EDM song outside Trafalgar Square
When you’re so rock that you can get British people to break out into synchronized dance steps to a Hindi EDM song outside Trafalgar Square

 

Annnndd Wembley Stadium
Annnndd Wembley Stadium

Watch the song “Barso Yaaron” here

  • Aashiqui 2

Aditya Roy Kapur is Rahul Jaykar (RJ) – a successful singer whose alcohol addiction is responsible for his waning career. He spots Aarohi (Shraddha Kapoor) – a bar singer in Goa and convinces her to come back to Mumbai by promising her a successful career as a playback singer in Bollywood. In Mumbai, they fall in love and must face problems brought on by his addiction and her ever-rising popularity.

Freddie Mercury, sun raha hain na tu?
Freddie Mercury, sun raha hain na tu?

 

Every musician's dream tip – a bundle of 100 rupee notes
Every musician’s dream tip – a bundle of 100 rupee notes

Special Mention to:

Salman Khan in Jaan-E-Mann

Bhai is a rockstar to the bone – he’s got earrings, long braided hair, a sleeveless leather jacket, a hand glove on one hand, a chain hanging from his jeans…woof
Bhai is a rockstar to the bone – he’s got earrings, long braided hair, a sleeveless leather jacket, a hand glove on one hand, a chain hanging from his jeans…woof

 

He’s basically everything Akshay Kumar isn’t in the film
He’s basically everything Akshay Kumar isn’t in the film

 

Watch Bollywood’s rendition of a rock concert here

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