By Subhash K. Jha, Bollywood Hungama News Network
As we talk, Arjun gets a call from Suraj, the lead singer of the band Dream Out Loud who tells Arjun, 'So many musicians can connect with the musician's characters in Rock On .You gave them back hope.'
"What more could I've hoped for?" says Arjun in amazement. Bollywood's first true-blue rock star is born. And Arjun Rampal who has been praised by everyone from Shekhar Kapoor to David Dhawan, isn't in the mood to let go of the guitar and all that it represents. "What I've really taken home from Rock On is some great friendships. It was such an experience to work with really new talent...everyone in the film was either fresh talent or new to me. And they turned out to be people who'll stay friends with me for keeps."
Arjun feels Rock On worked because of the camaraderie. "What you see is not faked. All of us, from the director Abhishek Kapoor to Farhan, Luke Kenny , Purab Kohli and me, we spent a lot of time together. We read the script together, spoke about each other's characters and just hung out. So by the time we faced the camera we looked like really good friends who have known one another for decades."
Arjun learnt to play the guitar from scratch. "I always wanted to learn to play the guitar. It's a wonderful hobby to have. The guitar becomes a great companion when you're traveling. And now I'm hooked. I play the guitar and entertain family friends and guests with songs. Learning it was tough. But I had a great teacher called Chandresh from a band called Dream Out Loud recommended by Farhan. Chandresh came for three hours every day for three months."
Arjun Rampal's turn as the pain-lashed down-and-out rocker, Joe Mascarenhas, has brought him immense praise. "Just feeling for the character was a tremendous high. The long hair and my look was decided in ten minutes. I was the only character who wasn't going to cut his hair. I already had long hair. I added some extensions to it. Nobody's hair can grow that long in such a short time."
And now Arjun is the first bonafide rock star of Hindi cinema. "I do intend to keep my interest in guitar going, though I don't think I'd be able to join any band. I learn one song every week. And I play to my daughters all the time. But I'm not good enough to join a band. Being a professional guitarist is really difficult. But I'd love continue playing the guitar as an amateur. If there's a Rock On 2 I can play on screen again."
Says Arjun, "Om Shanti Om did wonderfully for me. I was never scared it'd slot me as a villain. Just as I'm sure Rock On!! won't slot me as a rock star. I want to grow as an actor, try to do roles that allow me to grow."
He still remembers when Farhan told him about his role in Rock In. "I was in Jodhpur when Farhan told me about it. And I was like, wow! It was the story of these two friends, me and Farhan. So we had to look really really close. When Farhan's sister Zoya was watching the rushes she turned and said, 'What are the two of you doing in the film? It looks like you'll kiss any moment.' I told her not to worry. Every emotion and component is genuine. I actually played the correct chords when we played in stage. No guitarist can catch me out. Even Purab Kohli learnt to play the drums. We had to get it absolutely right. Everyone thought Rock On was going to be just a multiplex film. It's gone way beyond. People are getting in touch with their olds friends because of Rock On. That's truly gratifying. Even the small-towners are reacting to it. Just proves, if you make a film from your heart it connects. All I can say is, wow. This is my biggest success so far."