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ROCKY AUR RANI KII PREM KAHAANI - The use of melodious old gems, Dharmendra and Alia are the key merits of this loud and overdramatic film that does not even try to present something fresh. (Movie Notes by Bobby Sing)

28 Jul, 2023 | Just In / Movie Reviews / 2023 Releases

The very first scene of the film showcasing an elderly Punjabi lady (a miscast Jaya Bachchan) speaking awful Punjabi in her dialogues puts one off. And then Punjabi characters, language, and feel form the major part of the project by Karan Johar – who ironically began with a film that made fun of an 8-9 years old Sikh kid back in the late 90s.
Had written about it in an article when Karan did a film with Diljit Dosanjh playing the lead in 2018. Friends interested in reading the details can click at the LINK HERE.
Celebrating 25 years in the industry, Karan returns exploiting his typical format, once again featuring a Punjabi family as an integral part of the film clashing with a Bengali family. Nothing new, as earlier seen in 2 STATES (2014) also produced by Dharma Productions focusing on a Punjabi and South Indian family. Another common link between both the films is the current heartthrob, Alia Bhatt. The basic plot also makes you recall Subhash Ghai's SAUDAGAR (1991). Just like Jaya, here another misfit happens to be veteran Shabana Azmi playing an elderly Bengali. Offering no surprises (apart from the cameos), as usual, the film is about two rich families and many loud people, together returning to a monotonous melodrama at regular intervals.
The overall treatment keeps leaning towards comedy in the first half and family drama in the second, with some specially created family members having their own stories to be dealt with. And this includes the difficulties in the marriage of a heavily built girl, the hidden wish of the mother to be a singer in a reality show, a male elder fond of traditional dance, and more. The larger-than-life sets, songs, and dances keep coming in as expected. But in a KJo film, even Kushti (Wrestling) Akhada is arranged in a big Bhansali kind of banquet hall with hundreds of colourful people dancing and cheering for the wrestlers.
The narrative begins with its focus on the old-time love of grandparents rediscovered by the youngsters. But after 80 long minutes (of nothing else), 3-4 new songs, and a bunch of old melodious tracks (including a completely forced medley), the film moves back to the cliche love entangles. The long interactions between the lead couple before the intermission add to the excessive length, which could have been edited out or shortened. The scenes honestly become bearable just because of the gorgeous Alia brightening the screen. To be fair, the first half of the film does manage to entertain and engage, mainly because of the use of old songs and some tender moments.
However, in the second half, the focus shifts to Ranveer and Alia interchanging their families to please them, and that is where the film becomes entirely repetitive and average with nothing new to offer, resulting in a mediocre project sold for raised ticket prices.
These sequences featuring Alia and Ranveer, desperately trying to win the hearts of their culturally conflicting families are all seen before, lacking novelty. A few also remind you of similar sequences witnessed in earlier films based on the same subject mentioned above. This latter part of the film is full of deliberately added, predictable sequences coming one after the other, intentionally written to entertain the audience with an old-world charm.
It is here that the writing team purposefully brings in talks on social awareness, women's empowerment, and changing times focusing on feminism. If truth be told, they had nothing more to say in the plot, thus had to do something to keep the viewers engaged, along with making some points projecting it like a progressive film. As a result, the storytelling is all scattered in this final hour, ending on a known emotional KJo note, with no surprises whatsoever.
To be honest, this latest biggie from a celebrity director doesn’t even try to be innovative, breaking any new ground. Karan Johar the most influential and resourceful producer-director of the present times pours the same old wine in an old bottle with the wrapper and box smartly designed in the new age colourful style. But even in this lacklustre attempt, the director takes major support from the old heart-touching melodies of the past, proving that he could no longer rely on the music of the present times for his success.
About the performances, both Ranveer and Alia act fine, but you do not remember anyone else in the film due to their feebly written roles and acts. The same can be said about the soundtrack (Pritam) yet again missing any special take-home song. Alia shines in her tastefully designed attires and Ranveer is entertaining. But he is also fast becoming a victim of his image of an ‘overenergized, electrifying personality’ both on and off the screen. Not to forget, the adorable Dharmendra who simply lifts the first hour with his rare presence, singing old gems. That said, his scenes with Shabana also raise big contradicting questions about family traditions and respect for relationships, the subject film loudly keeps talking about. 
Mentioning the language, even after engaging linguistic coaches and dialect teachers before and during the shoot, spoken Punjabi or rather HINJABI of both Jaya and Aamir Bashir remains bad. Wonder what the language training and workshops are organised for or maybe they don’t care whether Punjabi is rightly spoken or not taking it too casually. That, I can comment on being a Punjabi. Not aware of what would be the observations of my Bengali friends watching the film.
When I wrote this complaint about the language on Facebook, a dear friend commented that he liked the movie, because he was quite fed up with all the dark nonsense being served nowadays in the OTT portals.
To this, I replied, “No doubt even the same repetitive ‘salad’ becomes a tasty dish when served along with some terribly cooked food sitting in a new restaurant.”
Overall, ROCKY AUR RANI KII PREM KAHAANI might not be a bad film for those who do not mind watching the same old stuff, presented in the same old manner with some deliberately added stuffing, making it appear as something grand and colourful worth trying. For the fans of the stars, their rejection is also out of question as in the present world, anything and everything gets accepted and defended by the enthusiastic fans. 
But for those who expect novelty in their cinema, especially from reputed directors like Karan Johar, having all the liberty to take risks of trying something new and exceptional, this is just an average film, rather an unexpected disappointment playing it safe and nothing more.
So, you can make your choice, considering what you expect from your cinema and the reputed filmmakers.

Rating : 2.5 / 5 (with the additional 0.5 for all the old melodies used in the film giving you something to cherish) 

Tags : Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Hindi Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, New Bollywood Movies Reviews by Bobby Sing, RARKPK Review by Bobby Sing
28 Jul 2023 / Comment ( 0 )
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