Rocky aur Rani ki Prem Kahaani | Cutting Review| Long, preachy, overindulgent.

Disclaimer : Unpopular opinion

Alia Bhatt, Ranveer Singh, Karan Johar, it’s a dream to start with. Add to that the lead pair dropping their jhumkas and thumkas at every possible online and offline promotion. The marketing, PR, the trailer had all the hype in place to make sure the theatres are crowded with enthusiasm for a Kjo ‘return’. Does it stay true all the build up though? While most of the public and media reviews seem to be going gaga over the return of a true blue commercial entertainer, I walked out of the theatre rather disappointed. Here is my admittedly unpopular opinion about RRKPK.

The Plot

Rocky Randhawa is ‘eklauta waaris’ of Randhawa business and legacy. He wears the loudest prints of the priciest brands, leaves his fanciest cars in the middle of the road, he is a walking talking protein shake, this guy is more West Delhi than anyone I have ever met in my 20 yrs of living in West Delhi. Rani on the other hand is polar opposite as a polished, well educated, independent woman dressed to perfection in her chiffon sarees and tasteful jewelry. What brings them together is a subplot of their respective grandparent’s unfinished love affair. The intention to use this premise I guess was to make it look pure and cute, but somehow this romanticized infidelity of grandparents feels odd despite the veteran performances by Shabana Azmi and Dharmendra. The first half is a long build up to the fun part, which is the clash between these two families.

The second half finally rides high on the drama you’d expect from a Karan Johar film. It is Bengali vs Punjabi, Matriach vs Patriach, South Delhi Vs West Delhi all at once. The idea of this ‘switch’ between these two culturally opposite households got me excited from the trailer itself, because it had so much humor potential with such quirky characters. The film does explore humor to some extent but sadly takes a more preachy route and drags through a really long list of conflicts. This is where the narrative starts to become intolerable and cringe. It felt like the writers sat down and made a list of all trending gen z issues and then mapped each issue to a character. Fat Shaming, feminism, gender stereotypes, cancel culture, misogyny and more are addressed through long monologues all packed in the second half. In an attempt to sound relevant, the narrative adds so many character arcs that they stick out like a sore thumb rather than adding to the central plot.

What’s Good

  • Ranveer Singh as Rocky Randhawa is a character that will be remembered as fondly as Pooh or Geet.  His character reminds me of a lot of Govinda films (like Raja Babu and Dulhe Raja) in which his (Govinda’s ) antics were enough to carry an otherwise average film to cult status. He nails the humor, the dialect, the body language, everything. There could not have been a better Rocky.
  • The supporting cast, especially from the Bengali household is top notch.
  • Watch out for the dance performance by Ranveer Singh and Tota Roy Choudhary, its unlike anything we have seen on big screens, very refreshing.
  • Last but not the least, the costumes! While I Loved all of Alia’s sarees (they are ought to become a rage), every single character has a very well defined style complementing their personalities.

What’s Bad

  • The length, it’s a drag.
  • The woke narrative.  In one frame we have a west delhi residence looking like white house and in the next frame moral lessons are being given on a long list of social ills. Not that glamour and logic cannot co- exist, but too much of both doesn’t sit very well in this film.
  • Jaya Bachchan. That’s my least favorite actor and character. She is as audacious in the film as we see her in her media appearances. Maybe it is intentional, but annoying, nevertheless.  
  • The Bengali-ness is way more authentic thanks to the cast, the Punjabi-ness sadly does not rise above Assi, tussi, and the likes.

What’s average

  • The music. For a Karan Johar film, the music seems forgettable, except Jhumka.
  • Talented actor like Amir Bashir is wasted in the caricaturish ‘Tijori’
  • K Jo is known for bringing out the nuances of complex relationships in most of his stories. This time around his storytelling has suffered under the burden of trying to please everyone.

Final Verdict

Rocky aur Rani ki Prem Kahani is packed with humor, drama, tears, glamour, all the right ingredients of a commercial entertainer but not knitted tightly. The screenplay is erratic, goes back and forth at being frivolous and taking itself too seriously. Unpleasant and endearing in somewhat equal parts, overall RRKPK is  watchable.

Cutting Rating – 2.5/5

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