sumit kumarwrote on Feb 20 2010 8:03AM
Harpreet Singh Bedi (Ranbir Kapoor) isn’t cut out to be a salesman. No wonder he gets the rap from his boss after he botches up a deal and is scoffed at by his colleagues who keep flying paper-rockets at him to remind him that he’s a loser.
After scraping through his college with minimal marks, Harpreet is determined to make his mark as a salesman. Working as a trainee in a company called AYS, which sells computers, he soon finds himself relegated to a corner, snubbed by his colleagues, insulted by his boss. Staring at the possibility of a ruined career, Harpreet stashes his honesty aside, and, while keeping his job as a trainee, secretly begins his own small company Rocket Sales Corp on the side, and ropes in co-workers from AYS and builds a customer base using the resources of AYS. Smart strategy, you would say. But then, Harpreet’s secret is exposed and time comes for him to pay the piper.
Coming from the director-writer-producer team of Shimit Amin-Jaideep Sahni-Aditya Chopra that gave us the cult movie Chak De India, Rocket Singh - Salesman of the Year is an eminently watchable film that, however, falls a wee bit short of expectations. Granted that Shimit’s eye for details is as sharp as ever, and Jaideep’s writing (story, screenplay and dialogues) as steeped in reality as one could hope, but there’s something lacking. It’s hard to stomach the fact that people in AYS would risk their well-secured jobs for a rag-tag company run by a rookie who’s been branded a ZERO by his boss. Secondly, Jaideep Sahni ought to have given more depth and fire to Ranbir’s character. As a viewer you don’t feel the spark of the high-flying Sikh hitting pay dirt after convincing his clients with his mere honesty and willingness to take big risks.
The fuel of ‘Rocket Singh’ is its myriad characters that drive the story. There’s a porn-junkie computer engineer (enacted superbly) who sits cheek by jowl to Harpreet in the office and later helps him in Rocket Corp. There’s a feisty receptionist (Gauhar Khan) with a dream of rising to managerial position. There’s a street-smart team-leader who grills Harpreet but later joins him. There’s a sneering boss who’s interested only in sales figures and numbers rather than people. There’s a peon who’s tired of taking insults from his bosses. And, of course, aside from this melee is the newbie Shazahn Padamsee who gets only three scenes with Ranbir.
Ranbir Kapoor plays his part well but doesn’t modulate his voice much. Though his exterior, his body language (how he dances and adjusts his turban like a true-blue Sikh) is bang on, when he speaks, you almost hear a Sid or Prem talking. Prem Chopra, playing his father, is delightful in just a few scenes. But it’s the terrific performances by the supporting cast that makes ‘Rocket Singh’ what it is. It’s an almost perfect cast ensemble put together by Shimit, Jaideep and Aditya. The only three songs in the film (Salim-Sulaiman) play out in the background and cinematography by Vikash Nowlakha is a treat to the eyes.
Kudos to Shimit for the finesse with which he brings realism to a heart-warming story laced with wit and humour by Jaideep Sahni. But how one wishes the trajectory of this Rocket did not dip in the second half; and how the final message (that people are more important than numbers) did not feel shoved down our throats.