Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani, directed by Karan Johar, is a full-length feature after a gap of seven years in the 2016 release Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. During this period, Karan certainly contributed to the Netflix films Ghost Stories and Lust Stories and directed a few music videos, but Karan’s fan following was anxiously awaiting the film.
Unfortunately, RRKPK turned out to be sandwiched between the 70s and 90s eras.
Two tracks are playing parallel in the film. One is Dharmendra and Shabana Azmi‘s love story which takes the film to the era of 70’s and the other track follows Alia Bhatt, and Ranveer Singh‘s love story. This track feels stuck in the 90’s. Unlike Karan’s previous films Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Student Of The Year, and My Name Is Khan, in this film, Karan Johar takes his fans back to the 90s. The film’s sequences feel inspired by KKHH, KANK, and KKKG. In doing so, Karan forgets that today’s cine-goers are breathing in 2023. He is talking about artificial intelligence while Rocky and Rani are arguing over cultural differences and gender supremacy.
The film is remembered for its good ending and in the climax, Karan manages to prove himself as a director, but by this point, the audience might have rejected the film.
The love story of Rocky and Rani begins in this way, as the Indian cricket team chases a big target in the fifty overs innings, losing their frontline batsmen and not even taking advantage of the power play. Then all of a sudden your middle order takes charge and you win a losing match, provided the crowd hasn’t gone home disappointed by then.
Karan also made the same mistake in RRKPK. The film starts in a conventional way, reminding the audience of 90s movies and wasting 40 precious minutes of the audience by boring them. Then the first twist of the film comes and actually the film begins.
Somewhere this movie will take you KKKG, DDLJ, and after that Madhuri’s Beta. The cultural tussle of Alia and Ranveer’s characters reminds you of 2 States and Chennai Express. There are many scenes in the film that make you feel that this has happened before.
The first half of the film is as boring, traditional, and drag as you feel. The second half is completely different and surprising. It’s as if you’ve suddenly changed your ride from a taxi to a roller coaster ride.
Now coming to the story of the film.
Rocky’s (Ranveer Singh) grandfather Papa Ji Kanwal Randhawa’s (Dharminder) memory doesn’t work. All he remembers is his meeting with a Bengali girl Jamini Chatterjee (Shabana Azmi) in Shimla in 1978 and the love that developed during that time. Since both were married, they could not pursue their love and never met again.
Ranveer finds Jamini’s picture in Papa Ji’s diary, with only Jamini written on the back. He retrieves the Chatterjee family connection from Google within minutes. Jamini’s granddaughter Rani (Alia Bhatt) is the anchor of the TV channel India Now. He meets Rani in the blink of an eye and tells her about Dada’s love. Years later Kanwal and Jamini meet but Rocky’s grandmother Dhan Lakshmi (Jaya Bachchan) doesn’t like it all. Rani and Rocky, on the other hand, seem madly in love with each other in such a way that they hug each other on the road, in the lift, or in the car anywhere. This intensity of love reaches its peak within a few days. That is, Jamini and Papaji’s unfinished love story is carried forward by Rani and Rocky. Then suddenly one day Rani realizes that they should know each other. They both come from contrasting family backgrounds. How can a Bengali and a Punjabi be husband and wife?
The two decide to stay at each other’s homes for three months to test each other’s families. Rocky ends up living in Rani’s Bengali family where he is humiliated. (No reason was understood nor did the director explain why Bengalis hate Punjabis so much?) On the other hand, Rani is treated the same way in Rocky’s house. Here too there is no reason or background for this hatred. Rani becomes Madhuri Dixit of Beta to teach Dhan Lakshmi a lesson and convinces Rocky’s mother and sister not to live life in vain. Women also have the full right to live freely and make their own decisions. The twist comes when Dhan Lakshmi asks Rani’s father, Chandan Chatterjee, who is a dance master, to perform a dance performance at a family function and takes the request as an artist but when he realizes the sensitivity of the matter, he leaves the stage. Rocky, finds it all bad and decides to learn dance himself. The next event is hosted by the Chatterjee family where the Randhawa family is devastated by watching Rocky’s performance on a Devdas song with Chandan. On this occasion, Rani misbehaves with Rocky’s father, Tajuri Randhawa (Aamir Bashir), on which Rocky gets angry with Rani and comes home with his father. By this stage, the Randhawa family is broken up, and Rocky talks about leaving home, Papaji (Dharminder) tells his son not to break relationships. With this sentence, Papaji dies. After Papaji’s demise, Randhawas realizes that life does not go by hollow principles. Thus, both families apologize to each other and become one. The film ends with another dance number.
Talking about the music of the film, Pritam did not impress much. There is not a single song that people will remember. On the contrary, remix versions of old songs were more influential. For example, Nazia Hassan’s Aap Jesa Koi Meri Zindagi Mein Aaye, or Abhi Na jao Chor Kar from Hum Dono are heard several times in the film.
Now let’s talk about the main flaws of this movie, due to which this mega production of Dharma Productions failed to impress.
From the very first scene of the film, it is clear that Karan Johar is stuck in the era of the 70s and 90s. Forced situations have been created for the songs. At the beginning of the film, the attitude of the characters Rocky and Rani shows that they can never be impressed by anyone, but by the speed at which the two get close after their first encounter, it seems that the director and the writer are trying to find the story. Wants to fast forward but in the first two scenes, Rocky and Rani, who are on a date together, are seen kissing and cuddling each other for forty minutes. Then the faster they get closer to each other, the faster they start to move back.
Rocky is shown as the sole heir of a big business family but does not speak English. From the attitude, he seems to be a noble son of the Randhawa family, then in the very next scene, he seems to be the Streetboy.
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In the second half of the film, Rani’s father is asked to dance at a family function and Rocky’s mother singing in front of her husband also reminds us of 90s movies. In the climax of the film, so many apologies are made that five minutes of the two-hour and 48-minute are devoted to apologies.
The most prominent feature of the film, if any, is the dialogue, which is very well written.
When it comes to acting, Ranveer Singh seems to be overacting in many places. There are only a few scenes in which Ranveer handles his acting. Alia Bhatt however impressed and carried her role much better than Ranveer. Dharmendra appears in counting scenes but looks good in every scene. Jaya Bachchan also did full justice to her role. Shabana Azmi’s character is the highlight of the film. Tota Roy Chaudhary in the role of Rani’s father also impressed immensely. Especially in both the dance sequences, he managed to steal the show.
Aamir Bashir‘s performance as Rookie’s father was also good but could have been better. While playing a Punjabi character, his Urdu sometimes becomes like that of Mumbaikars and in a half scene, he is seen speaking regular Punjabi. Especially in front of Rani, who is a Bengali, he speaks Punjabi frequently but to his family, he seems to speak Punjabi accent in Urdu.
Among the other characters, Rocky’s mother (Kshitee Jog), sister (Anjali Anand), and Rani’s mother (Churni Ganguly) also played their roles well.
Talking about the script, the plot of the film is weak. The three writers of the film failed in their attempt to create a new plot by combining several stories, but the screenplay and dialogues of the second half of the film deserve full marks.
The film is going to be recorded as a disaster to the credit of Karan Johar in the direction department. Karan fans will be disappointed to see this film as they were not expecting this film from the maker of films like KKHH, and ADHM. This film would have been counted as one of the worst films of Karan Johar’s career. Overall this movie deserves three stars.
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