When Rock On had released 8 years ago, no one expected it be cult hit that it is now. After all it had no major stars, with Farhan Akhtar making his acting debut, and it was directed by Abhishek Kapoor, who made the dud Aryan: The Unbreakable. However they did the impossible, and Rock On became the sleeper hit of the year, thanks to its wonderful performances and catchy songs. The movie even swept away a lot of awards that year, including a National award for Arjun Rampal. Now eight years later, they are back to steal your hearts with their music and performances, this time, though, with a different director in Shujaat Saudagar. But is their MAGIK still alive or are we looking at an unnecessary sequel that ruins the original for us? Read our movie review to find out.
What's it about
It has been eight years since that magical night when our fave band, Magik, united to perform Sindbad The Sailor for their dying friend Rob (Luke Kenny). Now the band members have gone their separate ways after a harrowing incident that happened five years back. Joe (Arjun Rampal)'s fortunes have changed - he is now the richest among the band members, being an owner of the club as well as a reality show judge. KD (Purab Kohli) continues his pursuit for music, and even harbours dreams of reuniting the band. However, Aditya Shroff (Farhan Akhtar), who was most affected by the incident, has left the city and his family to take refuge in Meghalaya and work for the upliftment of the locals there. However a tragic event there arranges for a chance encounter with Jiaa (Shraddha Kapoor), and life brings a new hope for him, as well as his old team members. But there is a dark secret in Jiaa's life that is connected to theirs as well.
The real question, is that, is her tale magical enough to enrapture the real fans of Magik? Speaking as one, I am afraid, NO!
What works well for Rock On 2, like the last time, are the performances. And once again it is Arjun Rampal who manages to impress you the most among the cast. Remember he had won the National award for the Best Supporting actor for the original flick last time? Though his performance is nowhere near that range, thanks to a very sketchy characterisation, he still towers the tallest among the rest with his histrionics, especially in the scene before the interval. Farhan Akhtar and Shraddha Kapoor are decent, but the latter scores better in the singing department. However there were a couple of scenes where Shraddha is trying too hard, especially in the scene where father confronts her on the phone. Purab Kohli is okay, however his philosophical voiceover is damn irritating. The cinematography is wonderful, capturing the beauty of Meghalaya, as well as the manic energy of the band performances. A couple of scenes do remain with you like when when Joe introspects after watching a reality contestant's real performance, or when the original band is seen performing (It's good to see Rob back, though in a rather unnecessary song).
When you get into a theatre to watch the sequel to Bollywood's most certified rock band film, what do you expect? More rock performances and great music, and of course, a decent, engaging plotline. However, Rock On 2 fails to meet our expectations on all these counts. While we wait for a song on the level of Rock On or Pichchle Saat Dino or Tum Ho Toh, we may get disappointed with what Shankar Ehsaan Loy has in store for us. This is especially annoying, since they have the given their best score for Mirzya, that turned out to be a lost cause. The only song that managed to make some sort of impact was the Usha Uthup song, Hoi Kiw Chalo Chalo. On top of that, there are not enough performances from the band. Instead, the film gets into Swades territory, focussing more of Aditya's efforts to take care of a Meghalayan hamlet. It was not a bad idea, but it did not belong here, as we don't know why Adi chooses Meghalaya out of all places to stay away from his family. Perhaps the script wanted him to stay close to Shillong, the rock capital of India, because the finale requires him to be there. The unnecessary injection of melodrama and cliches in the screenplay (like that corrupt welfare development officer) also don't help matters either. Even the quasi philosophical dialogues by Farhan sound irritating at times. Shraddha Kapoor's subplot with her father (Kumud Mishra not given much scope) will remind you of Kareena Kapoor and Boman Irani's track in 3 Idiots. We also don't know how to exactly to define her relationship with Aditya. Do they have a platonic one? If so what's explains the loving gazes that Aditya has for her? The remaining members from the original film like Shahana Goswami and Prachi Desai are wasted, while Shashank Arora is just not needed.
What to do
Rock On 2 is like that stomach ache we get for liking a chocolate and then splurging too much on it. Even though the cast members are good, and the direction is decent, you can't scream like a fanboy during this performance, like you did eight years ago. Magik may have returned, but the original magic is sorely missing. Avoid, if you don't wanna get disappointed.
On a separate note, I am not in favor of having Rock On 3, but can we have a spinoff on that Manjot character please?
1.5 out of 5
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