While there is no denying the magic of the Rockstar's soundtrack and Ranbir Kapoor's powerful performance, I have often wondered what the film would be like, if the lead character was a woman.
Would it still be regarded as a love story, or would it get branded as a cautionary tale about the 'Clingy Ex Girlfriend'? Would JJ (because yes, a girl can be named JJ aka Jordan too) be even 'allowed' to travel Europe alone or pursue a career in music and not get married?
As you can see I had a lot of thoughts on the topic. So, I put my overactive imagination and first-hand experience of patriarchy to use and reimagined Rockstar with a female lead. Here are the results:
1. For starters, the opening shot of JJ being mobbed by a crowd will be accompanied by a couple on the sideline stating, "yeh toh hona hi tha, uske kapde dekho? Upar se drink bhi kar rahi hai".
2. In the flashback, JJ is shown to be a 'trouble maker', because she chooses to wear clothes she likes, dreams of a career in music instead of marriage, and can't make round rotis.
3. Her mentor aka the Khatana Bhai in this story, would be a single female music teacher in her late 30s, who loves kids because she never had any of her own. Because women can only be good mentors and teachers if they have a maternal instinct.
4. Like Khatana, the music teacher also advises our JJ to channel pain and heartbreak into music, and never settle for less.
However, before JJ can go out asking random guys, and being slut-shamed by everyone, the teacher will be character-assassinated for her advice, while JJ will be forced to abandon her studies.
5. Stuck at home, JJ will realize she does not need heartbreak to create music. She can just draw on her experience of being suffocated by patriarchy, and create music that expresses her dissent.
6. Her childhood best friend and neighbor will help her escape out of the house and create music.
Of course, he is doing it all out of love for her and she is guilted for friend-zoning him. Because ek ladka aur ladki sirf dost nahi ho sakte.
7. But then their parents find out. Both set of parents blame JJ, of course.
His parents arrange his rishta to 'homely girl' instead of an 'advanced' girl like JJ. JJ's family also force her into an arranged marriage, because they believe she brought disgrace and dishonor to the family by roaming with a male friend.
8. JJ escapes from the mandap with her guitar - because is it even a feminist tale if the woman does not run away from the mandap?
She struggles to find a place to stay because who would give a house to a single woman, right? Finally, a group of well-meaning women gives her shelter and encourages her music.
9. Much like in the original, here too JJ has to compromise when trying to set up her music career.
Only the adjustments she's asked to make are steeped in misogyny. Like labels demanding she dress 'provocatively' to sell her music and reporters constantly asking, "when are you planning to settle?"
10. She climbs the music charts, travels to Europe for an international tour, and is trolled on social media for wearing a skirt instead of a saree. But this time around, JJ has no fucks left to give.
11. When she reconnects with her childhood best friend, he tries to cheat on his wife with JJ. But JJ has better things to do with her life than indulge a man-child. And so, she focuses on her career and continues to create record-shattering tracks.
12. The flashback ends. In the present time, we see JJ running out of an interview when yet another ignorant reporter asks her about her plans to get married and have children. Ignoring the mob and judgemental stares, she reaches for her concert and delivers a legendary performance.
"Sadda haq, Aithe rakh" has a whole new meaning - smashing the patriarchy!
Dare I say, this is a better love story and one I'd definitely watch again. And not just for the songs!