Rock N' Roll: Mohanlal, Ranjith Film

Rock N' Roll is a 2007 Malayalam film written and directed by Ranjith starring Mohanlal and Lakshmi Rai in lead roles. The film tells the story of 6 musicians in Chennai, the major centre of film production in south India.

Cast and Crew

Language: Malayalam
Genre: Comedy | Drama | Musical
Banner: P.N.V Associates
Director: Ranjith
Producer: P.N Venugopal
Story, Screenplay, Dialogue: Ranjith
Cinematography: Manoj Pillai
Lyrics: Gireesh Puthenchery
Music: Vidyasagar
Distribution: Marikkar Release
Release: 15 November 2007
Sound Mix: DTS
Runtime: 135 Mins
Certification: U
Cast: Mohanlal, Lakshmi Rai, Mukesh, Rahman, Siddique, Harisree Ashokan, Manoj K. Jayan, Lal, Shweta Menon, Jagathi Sreekumar, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Anoop Menon, Lal Jose, Rohini, Augustine, Anil Murali

A simple story may sound easy to film. But it is not. It requires immaculate narrative skills to keep the audience occupied.

‘Rock N Roll’ is such a story. So simple that it can practically be condensed into a single sentence. Only an up skill task can make it an endearing movie that will make you laugh and cry.

‘Rock N Roll’ has a bit of everything like romance, action, song, dance, comedy, which filmmakers believe are essentials of entertainment. The simple storyline and a whiff of fresh air make the movie special, which otherwise would have been another run-of-the-mill routine. But even with all these pluses, the film fails to keep it going all through.

The movie, told in flashback, follows Chandramauli, a world-famous drummer who was a member of a team of six who came to Chennai to make it big in the world of music. But at a point of time of their accomplishments, Chandramauli goes international. He was not available for a long time and none could trace out where he was.

Grapevine had many stories like he was settled in London and married a black girl, imprisoned in Latin America for rearing marijuana.

Finally, Chandramauli was spotted in Mumbai by one of his old friends, Gunasekharan (Siddhique), now a popular music director. He was immediately lifted back to Chennai, by Guna who wants Mauli to give percussion support to his new song for a Lal Jose film. Mauli, unpredictable and easy-go, initially was reluctant to associate with such a 'silly' song but on insistence from his old friends like Violinist Issac (Lal), Keyboard player Henry (Rehman), Thabalist Balu (Harishree Ashokan), Choreographer Meenakshy (Shwetha) and Rerecordist Vichan (Mukesh), he goes on to play for Guna. Mauli who comes in only for a few days decides to take a happy holiday working together, again with their old friends.

And in the process he embarks upon a Mumbai-born, Malayalee singer Daya Sreenivas. Mauli, who never believed in falling in love, instantly fell for her graceful voice and character. ‘Rock N Roll’ then follows what changes Daya brings about in the life of Mauli and his friends.

The title of the film is misleading. Because the film is certainly not a racy laugh riot as the title suggests. And, at times, a little dragging sequences with over-built 'Renjith'ian dialogues make the viewers intolerant.

But certainly the film can be passed off as yet another also-ran film. The light hearted plot has seemingly endless stream of gags and stressful jokes that pad the movie up and down and sometimes, slightly take away from the parts that work. Post interval, the film gets quite emotional and heavy. It's here that the film tends to drag a bit. If you dig silly stuff, they’re here, but they're an unworthy compliment to a flick that was meant to be carefully shot fun ride, which at least offers a difference in story lines.

The story is largely believable but goes ridiculous in many places like a world-famous percussion artist running after many, to get a song tuned and the introduction scene of Syedapet Giri, which we had seen umpteen times before. We can very well anticipate the ending, we know what's going to happen even before it does. And even when it does, Renjith, with his huge experience in scripting, still could have made it better. But, most likely, you will pardon the director for these disregards because this is an entertaining film and is slickly constructed with a hip soundtrack by Vidyasagar and good art direction by Sunil.

And as usual, Mohanlal, the one-man entertainment troupe is definitely the highlight of the film. He is adorable with a pony tail and distinct characterizations, looks younger than before and rides the audience as a jockey rides a horse. His comic timing is spot on and his affable easy-going camaraderie with his talented co-artists like Jagathy, Siddhique and Co is pleasant and blends in seamlessly with the theme of the movie. Watching him perform is like being peppered by a Joke Machine Gun. Lekshmi Rai as Daya Sreenivas is gorgeous and gives a good performance all through the film. All others in the cast including Rohini as Nirmala and Anoop Menon as Vivek do their best to make the film a decent affair.

The other highlights of the film are good visuals by Manoj Pillai and slick editing by Ranjan Abraham. The film has some daringly different (in terms of Mollywood) songs by Vidayasager set in the lines of Gireesh Puthencherry. The pick among these songs is 'Manchadi Mazha', the title song soulfully rendered by Madhu Balakrishnan and Sujatha. And in the down side is the final punch song of the musical that could have been better and hummable to sustain the spirit of the drama. Renjith too seems a victim of the dialogue in the film which goes on to document that ''There are less film directors in Malayalam with a clear music sense”. 

The  creators  essentially must understand that  a fresh backdrop, technical finesse and good songs alone do not make a good quality film, but a taut script that moves on to strengths is the absolute necessity. In a nutshell, the film has a breath of freshness with good technical aspects, but also a little clich├ęd fare with some entertaining moments.

Recommended for those, who like to enjoy a light hearted comic run without too much logic.

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