Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rocket Singh : Salesman of the Year


Rating : 7/10
Release Date : 11th Dec, 2009
Time : 155 minutes
Director : Shimit Amin; Writer : Jaideep Sahni; Music : Salim - Sulaiman
Starring : Ranbir Kapoor, Prem Chopra, Gauhar Khan, Shazahn Padamsee, D Santosh, Mukesh Bhatt, Naveen Kaushik, Manish Chaudhari


In LA Confidential, the rookie detective is asked ‘Would you shoot a suspect in the back if you knew he was guilty but couldn’t prove it ?’. Ranbir Kapoor, the rookie salesman, is asked via circumstance, shortly after joining, ‘would you bribe a purchase manager to get a sales contract?’ and his response to this situation is what leads to the rest of the film…


This is not a fluffy film. Contrary to the look, feel and tenor of the promo’s, it is quite serious, presents and deals with a few moral dilemma’s, shows briefly the seamy underside, dog eat dog world of a salesman, has hardly any songs and no sarson ke fields in Punjab despite being a Yash Raj Film.


Ranbir, all of 38% in B.Com, knows the CAT exam is beyond him and decides to become a salesman. He gets selected at his interview on a whim by the MD, despite the sales manager / interviewer remaining unimpressed with his attempt to sell him a pencil for Rs 20,000. His first day in the field, supervised by the same manager is a revelation in sales techniques (how to read upside down, how to be one up on your competitor, how to play on ego’s / manipulate the client etc etc). But then, things rapidly unravel. Ranbir’s stand on bribery earns him the wrath of all his sales colleagues and the MD, he is banned from going to the field, mocked and ridiculed constantly and then, almost by accident he discovers his true calling, the solution to the mess he is in…


The reason for the high rating from me is not so much for the story (a bit simplistic, slightly fairy tale-ish) but more because it tries to tackle a truly different topic (nothing really close to it in Hindi cinema) and it does it within a realistic setting (the whole office / culture is beautifully described) and withbrilliant, witty dialogue, especially in the first half – Jaideep Sahni has outdone himself here…


There are lovely touches throughout the film, showcasing a good understanding of how Delhi operates beyond the obvious. The way Ranbir is addressed as ‘facha’ (fresher), the way he is airily told to find himself space to sit, right in the corner, by the toilet, where a lot of PC’s are stacked. The way all salesmen are scathing of their boss and his London trips, fiercely competitive and fiercely protective of their territories and clients. The drinks (Old Monk, of course) in plastic cups at a office party and the drinks being cooled in a bathtub at another. And the whole thing about a scooter, the way a motorbike rider and a scooter rider size each other up at a signal.


There are interesting character sketches. The ‘item number’ receptionist who dreams big, the chai-wallah who finally works up enough courage to stand up for himself, the geeky service guy who is wrapped up in his own cubicle, surrounded by skimpily clad women (photo’s), who thinks nothing of over-charging a customer, the MD who typifies whats wrong with our culture, in terms of no long term thought but just chasing the quick short-term buck. And I also liked the genial god-fearing father, Prem Chopra plays his part well.

I think where it goes wrong is the marketing. I was expecting a completely different film based on the promo’s. While they showed admirable guts to make this film, they possibly weren’t able to promote it for what it really is – a look at the way we do business.
I enjoyed the film. I wasn’t totally satisfied by the end but am not really disappointed by it either. Like Tin Men (another great film about salesmen), this has a bitter-sweet feel to it. Its not for everyone but if you’ve worked somewhere, it’ll probably enhance your viewing pleasure….It will then, at least, make you chuckle in all the right places.

4 comments:

vikas singal said...

Hey apurv...Compare with my review...Kindly

http://expert-opinion-on-movies.blogspot.com/

chaman raj said...

lookin forward to it now...

"axeman" said...

rocket in the pocket for the producers !?!

Divya Prakash said...

After completing my 7th month in Sales... it was very easy to relate at many instances..
I enjoyed the movie although was not satisfied with the end.
And yes you rightly pointed out movie get good marks because of different subject.