The Hindi film Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani is directed by Karan Johar and stars Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Jaya Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, Dharmendra, Churni Ganguly, Tota Roy Chowdhary, Aamir Bashir, Kshitee Jog
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Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani review
- Ranveer, Alia are in good form
- Fun proceedings
- Typical KJ emotions
- Overly lengthy
- Preachy dialogues
There is a Tamil 1999 Tamil film named Poovellam Kettuppar, known very little outside Tamil Nadu. The romantic comedy, directed by the talented Vasanth, has a premise where the hero and heroine, who are in love and in a bid to convince their respective families, swap places. This leads to a lot of fun and comedic errors.
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This larger idea is given a typical Karan Johar — he is returning to the director chair after his 2016 movie Ae Dil Hai Mushkil — treatment, which of course, means plenty of carefully choreographed songs, over-the-top sentiments, youthful love and emotions, garish sets, blingy clothes, comedy and everything else in between.
With a lead pair at their energetic best, the film, for the most part, ticks all the boxes that go to a Karan Johar cinema. The presence of some trusted veterans adds wistfulness to the proceedings. Even if long — it is a recurring problem in KJ’s movies — the film sustains the interest.
The story is also about the clash of civilisation, as it were — between the cliched brash and boisterous Punjabis and the uppity and unctuous Bengalis. The story, on the face of it, is simple: Rocky (Ranveer Singh) is a loud, little, educated scion of a big sweet and savoury outlet-owning family. Why such a rich man is uneducated is a question you shouldn’t ask in a KJ movie.
Rocky holds his family in high esteem and will do anything for his amnesic granddad Kanwal Randhawa (Dharmendra). The old man’s wife is a stentorian, no-nonsense woman Dhanalaxmi (Jaya Bachchan) — their sweet empire is named after her. Rocky’s dad, mom and sister (Aamir Bashir, Kshitee Jog and Anjali Anand) are also in the huge setup. The granddad yearns to meet his former lover Jamini Chatterjee (Shabana Azmi). The grandson sets out to help fulfil the old man’s desire. But how?
Through Rani (Alia Bhatt), who belongs to the other family. She is, of course, a politically correct and righteous media personnel who is wont to dot the is and cross the ts. Verily, the antithesis of Rocky. Her sophisticated, clip-accented Bengali family comprises a dad, mom, and grandma (Tota Roy Choudhury, Churni Ganguly, Shabana). While trying to reunite the old flames, the two young ones get Cupid-struck.
The young duo switch places to convince the two polar-opposite families. And what follows is fun, merriment and plenty of broad stroked opinions on Punjabis and Bengalis. The second half is also dominated by a lot of ‘preachification’ on subjects like repressed sons, misogyny, patriarchy, uncared-for daughters and — why not? — #BlackLivesMatter. It is a caboodle of causes from a wokeist’s basket. But the film does not lose steam because Ranveer maintains his energy and effervescence.
A role closer to his debut vehicle Band Baaja Baaraat, he is at home in this over-the-top Punjabi role. Alai Bhatt is no less composed than the stylized Rani. The two, paired again after their 2019 Gully Boy, show that their excellent chemistry is a major commonality even if the two films are entirely different. Ranveer especially excels with his comic flair. The veterans are also in good form, even if their roles are limited. Aamir Bashir as Rocky’s dad and Kshitee Jog as the mother are wonderful.
KJ, fond of self-references, fills the film with recalls from his previous movies. And the man who unabashedly promotes star kids gives cameos in the title track to Sara Ali Khan, Ananya Panday and Janhvi Kapoor. KJ loves to make films that hark back to old-world-style sentiments filled with lavish songs and large families. That staple has worked for him. In Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani, he maintains his style and sensibility. Why change when it is working?
What are the other critics saying about Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani?
MensXP is quite positive about the movie, praising its comedy, songs, and message. They criticized the length of the film but also said that if you can muster up the patience to watch the entire film, it will reward you with a largely entertaining experience.
Lallantop Cinema praised the movie as entertaining. They say that while the movie is not an all-time great, it still a classic Karan Johar experience and is worth the ticket price.