It’s not fashionable to sing praises to Kunal Khemu. Its certainly not cool to rave about a movie called Superstar especially when its released on the same Friday as a Ranvir Shorey, Vinay Pathak Mithya which of course has to be a sophisticated and superbly hilarious movie meant only for the self proclaimed classes.
So probably Rohit Jugraj would not get the due credit for making a roller coaster of a drama which reflects the ethos of a typical Bollywood masala much better than OSO claimed to.
One reason why he deserves the accolades is because it would not have been easy to recover from James to make Superstar. No one held back in slamming the movie which it probably deserved and his own mentor RGV disowned him (that the latter then remade the movie himself as Shiva which met with an equally disastrous fate is an amusing story in itself)
With Superstar, Rohit has redeemed himself. He can only go up from here.
There has not been a movie in quite some time where you could identify nay feel with the central characters. (ok, leave TZP aside for a moment). In Superstar you laugh when Kunal laughs, you cry (at least shed a tear) when he cries and your heart actually sinks every time his dreams are shattered.
The secret to the visual craft of Rohit Jugraj lies in its rawness. In James it was at display in the brutal punches but he went overboard there. In Superstar, he has started to learn the beauty of subtlety. So here when the dreams of the middle class struggler are crashed because of his look-alike becoming a star you get a close up of Kunal’s face with his head on the edge of roof and a single tear rolls out his right eye. There are a few more of these subtle touches like the shot of Marv from Sin City before Kunal takes on a bunch of goons or the portrait in rich Kunal’s room which clearly show that the director was in no hurry when he made the movie.
When the need arises to go lavish, Rohit does it in style again with near picture perfect frames. Despite being an out and out masala movie, Superstar avoids a number of clichés. So the rich brat is not exactly spoilt and though lonely he is not filled with self pity. Again, despite being a bumbling actor, he is not stupid and nor is he apologetic for his undeserved riches as he explains to his middle class look alike, “I’m just lucky, not stupid”.
In supporting cast, Sharat Saxena shines in the role of a middle class father who is ashamed of his son being a struggler. One scene stands out, when he explains why he never praised his son but is showing off his achievements when he is dead, he says, “Kya karen, middle class jo hain…sharm kuch zyada hi aati hai…” touché.
Tulip Joshi is so beautiful and not a bad actress at all as she proves yet again, so why she’s not seen more often and in bigger productions makes one suspicious of the ‘skills’ of the other actresses who do manage that.
The music again is quite good and gells really well with the mood of the movie (if you think this is a standard line, watch Welcome and you’ll realize what happens when the music is totally out of sync with the movie).
So in a nutshell Superstar rocks and if it had names like SRK or Farhan Akhtar associated with it, it probably would have been one of the year’s biggest hits but now it’ll be just one of those movies which came and went. But just as well, because it does mark the birth of two new stars, Kunal Khemu and Rohit Jugraj.
PS: This got published in April 2, 2008 Filmfare. They cut it down quite a bit actually. Took out most of the sting and the barbs leaving it quite bland. To be fair to them some of the portions they left out were not exactly "movie review".