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Hindi Movie Review: Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year 2009

Rocket Singh Hindi Movie

(Downright honest salesman – you can see it in his face but the reality of things is that it is a dog eating dog world out there. Can Harpreet and his no-nonsense company make the cut? Image source: IMDB)

Indiaglitz reports it as “uplifting and brilliantly performed”!

Along with the excellent 3 Idiots, this movie is another MUST have in your Hindi movie collections. The premise is so simple and yet brilliantly executed. I first saw this movie when I was cruising at 30,000 feet and at first dismissed it as boring but as the story started to develop, I thank God for keeping me to continue to watch the movie. Otherwise, I would have missed one heck of a movie which has interesting lessons intertwined within.

It is a story of a salesman and since the day, I was confronted during my break time with a very tired-looking street salesman with a huge bag at his back, trying to sell me a teddy bear for RM10, I have always respected a salesman.

Especially those who try to sell items that no many people want to buy (like nose hair clipper) or already have (I pity those Astro promoters).

Life as a salesman is not easy – I can see it on a daily basis on my friends from the marketing department and I only have the highest respect for them as I see them struggling to close a deal.

The Storyline

The plot from Wikipedia:-

Ranbir plays Harpreet Singh Bedi, a B Com graduate with approx 39 percent marks who becomes a salesman with a corporate computer assembly & service giants. His idealistic vision of the working world shatters quickly. Within a few days of working, a client asks for a kick-back. Harpreet is aghast and files a complaint.

But his honesty only brings him a demotion and humiliation. Determined to do it his way, Harpreet forms his own company within the company.

Other disgruntled employees also find their way to Rocket Sales – a place where even the chaiwallah is an equal partner because he brings talent to the table.

Harpreet and his band of rebels show us that eventually honesty and hard work is a sound business decision.

What I like about the movie is the storyline – it reflects the actual things that happen in the life of a salesman. Ranbir Kapoor who plays Harpreet Singh starts off as a trainee salesman in AYS with high hopes. But when he finds out that one of the high ranking officers from client’s office asks about his “percentage” from the whole deal, Harpreet goes and do the worse thing possible – files an official complaint on the officer using AYS’s letterhead.

Deeply humiliated by his bosses who were not amused with the complaint and his co-workers who not happy of the sudden increased in sales target, Harpreet had a hard time juggling his options between quitting his job (as pressed by his good friends) and staying and proving that he too is a good salesman. Adding more to the stressful life, Harpreet is also confronted by his father who asks him to be honest in whatever he does.

A stroke of luck – thanks to a frustrated receptionist, Harpreet gets a break and he immediately noticed AYS selling the hardware for very high price and fails to do proper after-sales service. He comes with a company on his own (Rocket Sales Corporation) that handles sales and service with the help of a few “partners”. Rocket Sales conduct business with its customers as honest as possible and without any bribery or commission paid.

AYS does it the other way around and soon AYS profit margin comes down drastically and AYS’ big boss, Sunil Puri is at loss on how an unknown company can grab a big chunk of his customers. How Harpreet managed to get Rocket Sales up and how Sunil Puri tries his best to know who is Rocket Sales is brilliantly told, keeping the viewers on the edge.

The shortcomings

Shimit Amin who earlier directed Shah Rukh Khan’s Chakde India has worked a great storyline in the movie but the movie is not without its fault. The obvious one is the pace of the movie – it was way too slow at the beginning that I dismissed it as a very boring movie.

NDTV Movies reports:-

But the trouble with Rocket Singh is that it never engages you fully. The first half is especially slow but even in the second; the film doesn’t grab you by the gut.

There are long stretches in which the restrained story-telling becomes indulgent and topples over into sheer boredom. And there are several moments at which you wonder if this is more information about salesmen and their difficult lives than you ever needed.

Shimit Amin also fails to capitalize on the gist of the story to the maximum – the story of the salesman. Whatever that was shown in the movie has its own great potentials – the first part talks about the difficulty of being an honest salesman, the second part talks about how an honest salesman has an edge over the slimy, dishonest businessman.

The ingredients are all there but Shimit Amin failed to put it in the right portion. The edge that Rocket Sales has over AYS is shown but it was way too brief. Perhaps a tense moment between Harpreet (as a Rocket partner) and a corrupt manager could have been shown to show the difference from the time Harpreet encountered it as an AYS trainee.

The characters

The character of the partners under AYS and Rocket Sales is shown but once again in brief and in the wrong portion. It was poorly developed.

We know in great detail of Harpreet who is the main character in this movie and then we are introduced to others:-

  • Girish Reddy (played by D Santhosh) who waste time watching photos of girls on his PC and who does not sleep at night. He instead sleeps in the office during working hours
  • Nitin Rathore (played by Naveen Kaushik) who is the sales manager and who is ruthless with his competitors and to his own salespeople. His skills are shown at the beginning of the movie – he checks the notice board for the latest story in the client’s office and can read the quote upside down
  • Chhotelal Mishra (played by Mukesh Bhatt) who is a humble tea-boy in the office but experienced PC assembler who guess what trained by Girish who have no time to do real work and often ask Chhotelal to do his work
  • Koena Sheikh (played by the beautiful Gauhar Khan), the receptionist who been taking care of the office hoping to be promoted as the office manager until she was played out by the management.

The “villain” in the movie would be Sunil Puri (coldly played by Manish Chaudhary) and he shows just how screwed a businessman he really is when he managed to found out about Rocket Sales and goes in for the killing rather cunningly. The man is obsessed with making the most profit and is willing to do anything to grab the deal but in the end, humbled by a new sales trainee.

The music

Unlike other Hindi movies, songs are kept to the very minimum and thank god, there are no songs with 20 background dancers and shot in exotic places. No, this movie will not have such non-sense – it is direct to the point on the actual story and character.

Final say

The plus points: Refreshing storyline, realism, interesting characters

The negative points: Gaps in the storyline, characters poorly developed, lost of opportunity

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