Review | Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani – Back With A Bang With K3G 2.0

Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani is a rom-com family drama film directed by Karan Johar. It features Alia Bhatt, Ranveer Singh, Dharmendra, Jaya Bachchan and Shabana Azmi.

General Rating

In a nut-shell:

Back With A Bang With K3G 2.0

Karan Johar the director has two master talents. He’s a natural at tickling the funny bone and he’s an ace at working the tear ducts. He puts both into top gear and delivers almost three hours of non-stop entertainment.

Between Karan and his writers Shashank Khaitan, Ishita Moitra and Sumit Roy, they clash the arty, literate world of Bengalis with the unabashed, lusty roar of Punjabis for loads of fun and many wet-eyed family moments.

The chemistry is instant when flamboyant Rocky Randhawa (Ranveer Singh) and feisty Rani Chatterjee (Alia Bhatt) meet to reunite two lovers – his Dadaji (Dharmendra) and Jamini (Shabana Azmi), her Dadi. Two golden oldies who fell in love over Firaq’s poetry way back in 1978, a brief romance preserved so far only in an aged photograph. Glaring on is Rocky’s unbending grandma Dhanlakshmi Randhawa (Jaya Bachchan), the force behind an empire called Dhanlakshmi Sweets. Sneering at her poetry-inclined husband, she names her son Tijori (Aamir Bashir), ensuring that he doesn’t take after his soft, romantic father. 

Karan makes generous use of old Hindi film songs. From ‘Abhi na jaao chhod kar’ and ‘Chaudvin ka chand’ to ‘Tujhe dekha toh ye jaana sanam’ and ‘Aaja meri gaadi mein baith ja’ with references to other old nuggets like, ‘Haal kaisa hai janab kya’, he stirs nostalgia with new-age energy and it touches a cord. 

There is also laughter raised over quirky English with the exuberant, “Rocky Randhawa this side” and “Pattharon mein” for ‘on the rocks’ or, like Alia’s last film Darlings, lines like “Offs ho gaya”. Simranoff for Smirnoff, orgasm for organism or intercourse for intercaste, will work for the English-speaking viewer but that’s not quite a spanking new way to bring on the laughs.

It is more dialogues like the time Rani quizzes Rocky on his IQ and he wonders, “Yeh pyaar hai ki UPSC exam?” and “Consensual….can you repeat that?” which carry a new perkiness. 

The dramatic punchlines are emphatic and effective. Like Jaya Bachchan finally speaking up and saying, “Keh diya na, bas” which brought the house down in K3G, there are plenty of turn-about lines. Much applause when Rocky throws his dad’s own line at him and tells him to, “Talk to my mummy dhang se,” or Tijori speaking up and asking his mother to talk to his wife with respect. Ruling with ‘ahankaar’ in the guise of ‘sanskaar’ also makes a point.  

Rocky’s forceful outburst over political correctness and shaming and looking down upon one another, also hits home.   

However, under the surface of modernity there lies a conservative streak where Rani’s grandma Jamini is conveniently single (with an unnecessary sob story of an abusive husband) while Rocky’s Dada is allowed to revive an old romance. His wife may be alive but she’s a harridan, remember? 

Also, considering Dhanlakshmi runs a thriving empire, she’s never seen as a working woman except for one solitary scene in a boardroom. On the contrary, she comes across as a museum piece  grandma who’s never stepped out of her home and hearth for even a gulp of fresh air. Like someone who doesn’t know how the world out there moves. 

Even though Rocky is colourful and makes a terrific point when he confronts the snooty Bengalis about looking down and laughing at someone whose English is clumsy, why a Delhi boy from such a well-to-do family would speak the way he does is baffling. 

The writing is curious in places. Elders like Rocky’s dad could’ve come around without actually have to fold their hands and apologise. The unbending arrogance of Amitabh as Yashvardhan Raichand did give way in K3G but it was done with his dignity intact. He didn’t have to haath jodo and maafi maango.   

The songs (by Pritam) are robust and lavish with numbers like Jhumka a big hit with youngsters while Tum kya mile (the screenplay moving to snow-clad Kashmir just for this number) is soft and romantic. But bash me on the head if you must, I did miss the magic of music like Mitwa, Kal ho naa ho or even Kesariya and Deva Deva.   

On the other hand, Ranveer Singh is in his element with an inimitable swagger and an unmatched energy that brings the screen alive whether he’s dancing ‘Dola re dola’ or romancing Rani or making emphatic, dramatic statements that bring a tear to the eye. His chemistry with Alia Bhatt who has her own strengths, is so strong that it’s almost tangible. Dharmendra, Jaya Bachchan and Shabana Azmi bring their own nostalgia value to the screen. 

It is paisa vasool entertainment with familial bonds and many tear-inducing moments, including one over a funeral pyre. Wasn’t there one in K3G as well? Come to think of it, substitute the autocratic Amitabh Bachchan of Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham with a stern Jaya Bachchan and it’s K3G updated. 

At one point, Dhanlakshmi spouts, “Keh diya na, bas” in a hark back to her much-applauded dialogue in K3G. Unwittingly, the heavy aura of the 2001 film with updated thoughts on body shaming and bringing women out of the kitchen, lingers.

Coming up with a line for an ad campaign, Rani says, “Soch nayi par swadh wohi”. It could be the tagline for RARKPK too.

Rating: 3.5/5

Watch Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani Trailer:

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Back With A Bang With K3G 2.0Review | Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani - Back With A Bang With K3G 2.0