Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani
When Karan Johar announces a movie, the enthusiasm among people are on the extreme ends! Divided like crazy! Poles apart! One section will be eagerly waiting to bathe in all the quintessential Bollywood glory of romance, melodious and picturesque songs, traditional family values with modern sensibilities that are a tad over the top/cheesy and so on. Which means a festival mood at the movies! And then there will be the other section that will be….well….saying, “oh no, not another rehash of his own old movies or another lovey-dovey cringe fest!!!” This is true! People just love to bash his movies and his directorial style for certain genuine reasons and more often for no reason at all! It probably comes down to his entitlement, his personal life, his interviews (which is actually quite informative, sensible & awesome), his “Koffee with Karan” show and the usual unnecessary nepo talk that is idiotic, lame and by now getting on my nerves! How quick are people to judge someone or something is unbelievable! People nowadays just love to hate! Positivity at an all time low! Tell me about it!!! When ” Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani ” trailer dropped, people instantly started judging it saying it feels old, there’s no chemistry between the lead pair Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, songs are not that great…blah blah blah! Movie came out and it proved everyone wrong.
RRKPH is one among Karan’s best movies. He brings back the nostalgic old world Bollywood charm and that’s actually refreshing among the new age movies that are being made now. You get the love story, families from different cultures, grand sets, larger than life colorful and vibrant songs & dance numbers, all of which takes you back to the good old times of Bollywood. You realize suddenly that you did miss that a lot. But it’s not perfect at all, it’s still over the top with a lot of cheese sprinkled here and there, but it’s got heart, and a big one for that!
The basic premise has nothing new to offer. The Punjabi business family of Randhawas, the intellectual Bengali family of Chatterjees. Boy meets girl or girl meets boy, banter, attraction, flirt and finally love that is interweaved with their family dynamics and issues that are obviously bound to happen in reel and real life! Just that in Karan’s reel life, it’s glossy, glamorous and on your face! Who’s complaining? Not me!
Here the issues addressed are very real! And that’s what catches our attention. This is a very self aware movie. Karan pokes fun at his own prior movie ideologies and tries to rectify them quite a bit here. It felt kind of like a redemption for Karan. Correcting the flaws he made in his previous movies especially by addressing several social stigmas and habitual behaviors without being too preachy. A prime example being when Rocky pours his heart out at Rani’s family pointing out how he was never aware of how saying certain things in a certain way were wrong, how he was raised like that, and how Rani’s family judging him and mocking his behavior or way of talking is also demeaning and not too different from his own characteristics. That scene was gold and Ranveer Singh effortlessly killed it!
Whatever flaws this movie has, it was all covered up by the exceptional performances of the main leads Alia and Ranveer as well as most of the supporting cast. Ranveer owned his role of Rocky Randhawa with a fantastic portrayal of his complicated character. He made it look easy but I’m sure it never was. Alia made Rani believable in every way possible and did she look beautiful in those Manish Malhotra designed sarees! Wow! Bringing in yesteryears macho hero Dharmendra and giving him a love story with Shabana Azmi, though seemingly weird in a real world, melted our hearts in the reel world with all of us not even caring for Jaya Bachan’s character as Dharmendra’s wife being in the same room/scene! Only Karan Johar can do that and get away with it! Jaya Bachchan’s character of matriarch Dhanlakshmi Randhawa reminded me of Amitabh Bachchan’s character in Karan’s Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham. Great performance from a veteran actor. Another gem of a character/actor was Tota Roy Chowdhury, who is an accomplished Bengali actor. He play’s Alia’s father and here he is given a character of substance, a very well scripted part giving him ample occasions to showcase his range as a superlative actor. His role of Chandan Chatterjee along with Ranveer’s Rocky Randhava and their bonding gives the audience an emotional connect bringing out the waterworks quite a few times. Their elaborate and surprising big Bollywood dance number with the already popular Dola Re Dola Re song from Devdas is the icing on the cake. I had my mouth open while watching that scene. The effort he took to learn those difficult and graceful dance steps! Another instance that proved how great of an actor/performer/hard worker Ranveer is! Just magical!
Songs play a major part in most Indian movies and it’s no exception here. This movie had beautiful music by Pritam and none of the songs seemed forced into the narrative. And they are all beautiful. Pritam said the album is a homage to Hindi film music of 60s and 70s. You also get the Yash Chopra kind of heroine in saree, singing in the snow romantic song. That song Tum Kya Mile…. is Karan’s ode to Yash Chopra and the Dola Re.. mashup that leads to Dhindora Baje Re… shows his immense love for Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Karan said in an interview with Anupama Chopra that it wasn’t just inspired but he blatantly copied the whole style and he has no problem in confessing that. For the love story of Dharmendra and Shabana Azmi, the timeless oldies like ‘Yeh Shaam Mastani,’ ‘O Saathi Chal,’ ‘Haal Kaisa Hai Janaab Ka,’ ‘Do Dil Mil Rahe Hai,’ ‘Aaja Meri Gaadhi Mein Bhaith Jaa,’ ‘Aap Jaisa Koi,’ ‘Kaala Shaakala,’ ‘Pyaar Ka Nagma,’ are used and they instantly take us back to the melodious era of music. Nostalgia at its peak! Among Pritam’s songs in the movie, Tum Kya Mile and Ve Kamleya are favorites of mine.
Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani is a feel good movie. Amazing performances by all, especially Alia and Ranveer. The movie brings out the waterworks, gives us a few goosebump moments, lots of nostalgia, quite a bit of laughs and loads of love. It’s the Bollywood entertainer of yesteryears we craved for and never realized until it came out! And there’s no one better than K Jo to light up the silver screen with this nostalgia! Not perfect, but a great time at the movies none the less. Karan Johar is like a rock, sticking to what he knows he’s really good at and making the best out of it.