Karan Johar aka KJo returns to full length cinema with ‘Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani’ after ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil‘ (2016). He is mostly associated with romance as a genre with a few exceptions – My Name Is Khan, Lust Stories, Ghost Stories. This time around too he picks up a romantic story woven with family drama laced with more ingredients and spice. Karan breaks free from his comfort zone to serve a combination of his favourite – love stories with familial drama. And to be fair, he’s done a decent job and the family audience might savour this potpourri.
The golden era rules
The songs and rhythms that are dished out on a routine basis aren’t distantly as soothing and beautiful that were produced in the golden era. The best thing that Karan has done with Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani is the inclusion of songs from the golden era that help communicate the story in the most beautiful style possible. Though using the original tracks would probably have sound better. But still you would fall in love with them all over again with ‘Abhi na jao chhod kar’, ‘Mast baharon ka main aashiq’, ‘Jhumka gira re’ and many others that have been remixed and woven into the narrative seamlessly.
The veterans unite
Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani brings together ‘the’ Dharmendra and Jaya Bachchan together after a long time and makes an addition with Shabana Azmi joining the KJo family. Jaya Bachchan and Shabana Azmi, both quintessential actors display a sartorial panache with Shabana Azmi as Jamini Chatterjee, Rani’s grandmother, who breaks into Bangla intermittently tightly holding the Bengali accent that settles well for a character who’s not a typical Bengali from Kolkata. Azmi doesn’t go overboard and adds dignity to her character.
Jaya Bachchan who plays Dhanalakshmi Randhawa, on the other hand, spews venom in Punjabi. She plays it safe and remains uni-dimensional, not allowing different facets of negativity overcome the authoritative lines she mouths intermittently.
Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt
Ranveer Singh is a demonstrated fire brand but this time around his infectious energy is not tiresome. Ranveer makes his way into the Chatterjee (Rani’s) household with grace. A Hindi and Punjabi speaking unpolished and unskilled daring Punjab Da Puttar, Ranveer enthrals with his know-it-all one-liners. Alia Bhatt, on the other hand, is dignified and looks sultry in sarees. A natural that she is, Alia blends effortlessly into a scene without any in-your-face dramatics. The duo’s chemistry make a very adorable pair.
Tota Roy Chowdhury, an actor and martial artist plays Chandon Chatterjee, Rani’s (Alia Bhatt) father, who takes pride in being who he is, and teaches Kathak at home. Chandon underscores the many passions that men and women would like to follow, but are either forbidden or mocked-at only because society’s unwritten rules continue to govern us. Churni Ganguly, an actress and director who mainly works in Bengali movies plays Rani’s mother. She is presented as a snobbish professor of English whose penchant is in using British English in her day-to-day life.
A few noteworthy dialogue
“For lovers, the steering wheel may be in their hands, but it’s the family navigating as backseat drivers,” another one says “nothing is perfect” and one of the best being, “Izzat kabhi aadhi nahin hoti.”
The music of the film is composed by Pritam and lyrics are written by Amitabh Bhattacharya. Arijit Singh and Sherya Ghoshal, Jonita Gandhi and Bhumi Trivedi lend their chiselled voices to full-toned beats that the youth love today. Having said so, what the audience seem to enjoy the most are some of the most popular Hindi film songs from the era gone by.
Love, romance, family, differences and lots of drama have always been the core of many a love stories. So, is there any novelty in Karan Johar’s ‘Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani’? Overall, Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani seems ‘old wine in a new bottle’ but with a considerable difference. Besides the presence and the unique combination of veterans, it is Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt’s chemistry that is the highlight of this women-centric-family-entertainer.
The more significant reason to watch this romantic-cultural-family-drama is that it tries to squeeze-in, a few bittersweet life lessons in glossy packaging of small doses, into the narrative that would make the audience sit up and take note of and are easier to consume. KJo looks determined to make his audience have fun all the way with an unabashed family drama.
Writers Ishita Moitra, Shashank Khaitan and Sumit Roy have underlined the distinctive lifestyles that the Punjabis and the Bengalis inherit. Not resorting to diminish the values, the narrative treads carefully onto dissimilarities and disparities of the two communities. Interspersed with humour and drama the film thrives on every bit of the diversity. The narrative also touches on several labels and pigeonholed dogmas that abound in our society and more.
The Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani plot
All was well in the Randhawa family until one day at a party Kanwal Randhawa, Rocky’s grandfather (Dharmendra) makes an embarrassing gesture of kissing a guest mistaking her to be someone he knew as Jamini. Rocky uncovers the secret name and discovers a partial Black & White photo of a young Jamini (Shabana Azmi) Kanwal had known way back in his heydays.
Soon enough Rocky makes it his mission to get to the bottom of his grandfather’s unrequited love. His search leads him to TV news journalist/anchor Rani Chatterjee (Alia Bhatt), who is granddaughter of Jamini Chatterjee (Shabana Azmi). Churni Ganguly and Tota Roy Chowdhury play Rani’s parents. Rocky pleads Rani to arrange a meeting between the two – Kanwal Randhawa and Jamini Chatterjee.
Sparks fly as soon as he sets his eyes on Rani and in the process of setting up meetings, the two get along. Both fall for each other but when Rocky hints at proposing Rani, she declines, but soon sets out to get her love back. The two want to marry but realise that their families are poles apart. Their culture, views, lifestyle and even language are colossal barriers. On one side Rani’s family is refined, classy and have a keen sense of poetry and music, but for the Randhawas, it’s money power and grandmother Dhanlakshmi’s diktat that holds sway. How would the relationship work?
They finally come up with an arrangement of living with each other’s families for 3 months. All hell breaks on both the sides and things take a rather ugly turn. How the two manage to stay together and do they manage to marry forms the rest of the story.
Movie: Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani
Director: Karan Johar
Cast: Dharmendra, Jaya Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Churni Ganguly, Tota (Pushparag) Roy Chowdhury, Aamir Bashir, Kshitee Jog, Anjali Anand, Abhinav Sharma
Duration: 2 Hours 48 minutes