There are movies, and then there are movies that stay with you no matter how much time passes by. 

November 11, 2011, saw the release of what, in my humble opinion, is one of Imtiaz Ali, Ranbir Kapoor, and AR Rahman’s finest work. But that is not all that Rockstar is for a movie. Besides delivering some of the best in terms of movie score, cinematography, song lyrics, screenplay and locations…what has stayed with me through the years of watching Rockstar is the story and the stark portrayal of the obsessive, masochistic, all or nothing, intense kind of love. 


Here’s a guy, innately talented, musically gifted but lacking in expression and depth of emotion. As the well-meaning mentor, Khatana Bhai tells him, every artist reached great height because they experienced in great depths one particular emotion – pain. 

Now the problem, as our dear Janardhan points out, is that he has never really faced anything that would leave lasting emotional damage, he complains that he has never felt the kind of pain Khatana speaks of. 

So Janardhan goes out to seek pain. He goes looking for pain, only to end up finding love. But, as many of us stand testimony, to find one is to find the other. 


In finding Heer, who is supposedly a “heartbreak machine,” initially, he finds not love but a great friendship. It is only when she gets married that the subtle hint of him being in love with her is shown. That, and in the aftermath of being thrown out of his house, is when he really taps into his euphonious talent. Heer never really leaves his mind. So when he gets a chance to go to Prague, he leaves no stone unturned to make it happen. 

It is there, in Prague, that Jordan and Heer discover their passion for each other. I say passion and not love very consciously – it is only when she meets Jordan that Heer (who is hinted to be depressed) blossoms up again; a simple touch they exchange is enough to fill their hearts with boundless emotion, enough for the other to be consumed in. Such is the intensity of what they share that they can’t make sense of it themselves. Heer, unwilling at first, eventually gives in to that inexplicable emotion Jordan brings out in her. 


There is a scene on a bridge in Prague where Heer, distraught that she spent the night with Jordan, is running away as he chases her. All of a sudden, she stops and turns around, absolutely torn. And that is it. That split second of doubt is all Jordan needs to run and hold her to him.  

“Aur ho aur ho aur miley, hum aur bhi jal jaaye”

That is exactly what is happening, they are burning in & for each other. Even in the way Jordan and Heer are shown loving each other is sheer brilliance: it is only in mere touches that their love is portrayed, touches that are enough to have them reeling. 


But Heer, realizing what she is doing is “not right”, hurts Jordan intentionally, hurts him so hard that he almost believes that she doesn’t want him. Maybe more than him, it was herself she was mad at, for letting it go this far. 

But it is him she hurts, effectively hurting herself. Sounds familiar?

They don’t meet for two years after what happens in Prague. He keeps burning in her love. And that unfulfilled, unrequited passion balled up inside him eats him up, makes him a volatile, violent person. He never gets an outlet, and he doesn’t know what to do with the overwhelming emotions. 

Success, money, popularity, nothing brings him happiness, nothing brings him peace. 


Imagine the amount of frustration. To have so much to express, so much to say and not being able to do so. Have you ever felt that? That sheer desperation for a way out when you see none? A constant desire burning inside you with no way to quench it? Living with an uneasiness within, because you can’t express your love, can’t channel the words dying to come out? Just existing because that’s all you can do. 

And for Heer, Jordan works like a drug, an addiction. Take one away, and they both can’t function. 


In love, most of us turn out to be our own worst enemies. And that is what happens when after all that, Heer and Jordan are finally together. It is a moment of passion that ends it all, causes Heer to lose her life. And all that Jordan can do from that moment on is to exist with the weight of Heer’s absence for the rest of his life. 

That is when Jordan in a moment of child like innocence admits that he doesn’t want this pain. 

“Mera dil nahi tootna chahiye Khatana bhai.” 

The pain that he sought himself, that made him who he was even as he destroyed him…he didn’t want it. At the cost of everything that he earned for himself, all he wants is his heart to not break. 

Too late, too late.  

It is this masochistic, self-consuming side of love that the movie brings out so spectacularly. All love stories are not gold and rosy, they aren’t fairy tales. Sometimes, love feeds on the people even as it feeds them. 

And sometimes, love can only exist out beyond ideas of wrong and right.

And maybe that field is where we will all find love, maybe that is where we will meet the ones we wait for, on the nights we listen to “Tum Ho” on loop.